tabs - Sets tab stops on terminals
tabs [-n] [-T terminal] [+m [margin]]
tabs [predefined_tab_flag] [-T terminal] [+m [margin]]
tabs [-T terminal] [+m [margin]] number [,number]...
The tabs command clears up to 20 previous tabs and sets up to 40 tabs on
the terminal according to the supplied tab specifications.
Interfaces documented on this reference page conform to industry standards
Refer to the standards(5) reference page for more information about indus-
try standards and associated tags.
-n Specifies repetitive tab stops separated by a uniform number of column
positions, n, where n is a single-digit number. The default usage of
tabs with no arguments is equivalent to tabs -8. If you use -0, the tab
stops are cleared and no new ones are set.
Identifies the terminal so that tabs can set tabs and margins
correctly. The terminal argument is one of the conventional terminal
names supported by your system.
[Tru64 UNIX] If the terminal you specify is not known to the system,
tabs tries a general value that works for most terminals.
If you do not provide a -T option, tabs uses the TERM shell variable.
Moves all tabs to the right number columns, and makes column number+1
the left margin.
If m is given without a value, 10 is assumed. The leftmost margin on
most terminals is defined by m0.
Specifies that tabs should be set to a structured language format that
is known to the system. See the section Predefined Tab Flags for a
description of these flags.
[Tru64 UNIX] Causes tabs to read a file named tab_format_file for for-
mat information. The first line of the file must be in the format
shown in the section Format Specifications to use this method. The
file may contain other lines which are ignored by tabs.
[Tru64 UNIX] The double dash (--) format is mandatory with this
Sets tabs at the named column numbers (a list in ascending order,
separated by commas). You can specify up to 40 numbers. If any number
except the first has a plus sign prefix, the prefixed number is added
to the previous number for the next setting. Thus, the tab lists
1,10,20,30 and 1,10,+10,+10 provide the same tab settings.
If you use the tabs command with no options or operands, the terminal tabs
are reset to the system defaults for your terminal type. If only the -T
option is used, tabs are reset to the defaults for that terminal type.
[Tru64 UNIX] When you use the tabs command, always consider the leftmost
column number to be 1, even if your terminal refers to it as 0 (zero).
Tab-stop position n means that tabbing to position n causes the next char-
acter output to be in the n+1th column position on that line.
Predefined Tab Flags
[Tru64 UNIX] The flags described in the following list provide formats
required by most structured programming languages. Some of these flags
require that a particular format line be present in the file being manipu-
lated. This is indicated in the list.
-a Sets the tabs to 1, 10, 16, 36, and 72.
-a2 Sets the tabs to 1, 10, 16, 40, and 72.
-c Sets the tabs to 1, 8, 12, 16, 20, and 55 (COBOL normal format)
-c2 Sets the tabs to 1, 6, 10, 14, and 49 (COBOL compact format, columns 1
to 6 omitted). With this code, the first column position corresponds
to card column 7. One space gets you to column 8, and a tab reaches
column 12. Files using this code must include the following format
<:t-c2 m6 s66 d:>
[Tru64 UNIX] See Format Specifications later in this reference page.
-c3 Sets the tabs to 1, 6, 10, 14, 18, 22, 26, 30, 34, 38, 42, 46, 50, 54,
58, 62, and 67 (COBOL compact format with more tabs than -c2). This is
the recommended format for COBOL. Files using this code must include
the following format specification:
<:t-c3 m6 s66 d:>
-f Sets the tabs to 1, 7, 11, 15, 19, and 23 (FORTRAN).
-p Sets the tabs to 1, 5, 9, 13, 17, 21, 25, 29, 33, 37, 41, 45, 49, 53,
57, and 61 (PL/I).
-s Sets the tabs to 1, 10, and 55 (SNOBOL).
-u Sets the tabs to 1, 12, 20, and 44.
[Tru64 UNIX] A format specification consists of a sequence of arguments
separated by blanks and enclosed in brackets and colons: <<: :>>. Each argu-
ment consists of a keyletter and an optional value which immediately fol-
lows it. The following arguments can be used:
[Tru64 UNIX] Specifies tab settings. The value for tabs can be:
1. [Tru64 UNIX] A list of column numbers separated by commas, indi-
cating tab stops at the specified columns.
2. [Tru64 UNIX] A - (dash) followed by a number n, specifying tabs
stops every n columns.
3. [Tru64 UNIX] A preset tab specification, for example -a2.
[Tru64 UNIX] Specifies a maximum line size, or length. The size
specification must be an integer. (The value of size is checked after
tabs have been expanded but before the margin is prepended.)
[Tru64 UNIX] Specifies a number of spaces to be inserted at the begin-
ning of each line. The margin specification must be an integer.
d [Tru64 UNIX] Indicates that the line containing the format specifica-
tion is to be deleted from the converted file.
[Tru64 UNIX] If a format specification can be disguised as a comment,
for example * <<:t5,10,15 s75 m5:>> *, you do not need to include the d
e [Tru64 UNIX] Indicates that the current format should prevail only
until another format specification is encountered in the file.
[Tru64 UNIX] Default values of t-8 and m0 are assumed if t and m arguments
are not included in the specification; if s is not included, line size is
not checked. If the first line of a file does not contain a format specif-
ication, these defaults are assumed for the entire file.
1. The tabs command assumes that standard output is the terminal. If
standard output is redirected, the results are unpredicable.
2. Full operation of all capabilities may be restricted by the hardware.
The following exit values are returned:
0 Successful completion.
>>0 An error occurred.
1. To set tabs every four spaces, enter:
2. To clear all tabs, enter:
The following environment variables affect the execution of tabs:
Provides a default value for the internationalization variables that
are unset or null. If LANG is unset or null, the corresponding value
from the default locale is used. If any of the internationalization
variables contain an invalid setting, the utility behaves as if none of
the variables had been defined.
If set to a non-empty string value, overrides the values of all the
other internationalization variables.
Determines the locale for the interpretation of sequences of bytes of
text data as characters (for example, single-byte as opposed to multi-
byte characters in arguments).
Determines the locale for the format and contents of diagnostic mes-
sages written to standard error.
Determines the location of message catalogues for the processing of
Determines the terminal type if the -T option is not used.
Commands: expand(1), nroff(1), stty(1), tset(1)