How does one change the tabstop in TextEdit.app for Snow Leopard?
The current tabstop is 8 spaces. I would like to change this to 4 spaces.
Is there any way to achieve this?
Format > Text > Show Ruleris enabled.
Alternatively, you could use something like Keyboard Maestro, TextExpander, or BetterTouchTool to map four spaces to the Tab key. This is the only way I'm aware of to do it for plain text files (
For plaintext tabs, you don't need to replace the entire TextEdit app to change it. I looked at the source code and it provides the simpler answer: Open the Terminal and type
defaults write com.apple.TextEdit "TabWidth" '4'
Where '4' is the number of spaces a tab should be.
A kindly soul has slightly modified TextEdit to add a field, "Tab Width", at the bottom of the "New Document" tab of the "Preferences" window.
Type in a number between 1 and 100 (inclusive) and it will change the width of tabs to that number (in character widths).
Download at code.google.com.
Since I couldn't replace the main TextEdit app, I used "show package contents" and replaced the inside of the app.
TextEdit bases its tabs on distances, not number of characters.
If I set the text to 30pt, the tabs are four spaces. At 14pt, they are eight spaces.
Consequently, there is no set "number of spaces" that could ever be modified.
One solution is to:
change your font preferences for RTF files to match my TXT preferences.
temporarily convert your TXT files to RTF while editing (cmd-shift-T).
(do some editing)
The RTF tabs default to 4 spaces for me -- it depends on the font and size.