Igor Kromin |   Consultant. Coder. Blogger. Tinkerer. Gamer.

If you tend to use vi for editing text files you've probably had a need to look for whitespace characters such as spaces or tabs. These are not typically visible since, well, they are empty space essentially. In vi there is an option to show these characters so you can quickly tell what's a space and what's a tab. In addition this option will show the start of the line (^) and end of the line ($) using their standard regex characters.

To enable this option, type in the following in vi...
:set list

If you no longer need to see whitespace and line terminators, type this in...
:set nolist

Here's an example from one of my personal projects. First a look at the file without whitespace visualisation:

Then, when whitespace is visualised...

You can see where tab stops are (represented by ^I). Spaces remain as spaces. You can also see where a beginning and end of line are.


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