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For typing in tables, you can use Text mode's definition of TAB,
`tab-to-tab-stop'. This command inserts indentation before point,
enough to reach the next tab stop column. If you are not in Text mode,
this command can be found on the key `M-i'.
You can specify the tab stops used by `M-i'. They are stored in a
variable called `tab-stop-list', as a list of column-numbers in
The convenient way to set the tab stops is with `M-x edit-tab-stops',
which creates and selects a buffer containing a description of the tab
stop settings. You can edit this buffer to specify different tab
stops, and then type `C-c C-c' to make those new tab stops take effect.
In the tab stop buffer, `C-c C-c' runs the function
`edit-tab-stops-note-changes' rather than its usual definition
`save-buffer'. `edit-tab-stops' records which buffer was current when
you invoked it, and stores the tab stops back in that buffer; normally
all buffers share the same tab stops and changing them in one buffer
affects all, but if you happen to make `tab-stop-list' local in one
buffer then `edit-tab-stops' in that buffer will edit the local
Here is what the text representing the tab stops looks like for
ordinary tab stops every eight columns.
: : : : : :
0 1 2 3 4
To install changes, type C-c C-c
The first line contains a colon at each tab stop. The remaining
lines are present just to help you see where the colons are and know
what to do.
Note that the tab stops that control `tab-to-tab-stop' have nothing
to do with displaying tab characters in the buffer. Note: Display
Vars, for more information on that.
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