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CC Mode Manual

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6.1 Indentation Commands

The following list of commands re-indent C constructs. Note that when you change your coding style, either interactively or through some other means, your file does not automatically get re-indented. You will need to execute one of the following commands to see the effects of your changes.

Also, variables like c-hanging-* and c-cleanup-list only affect how on-the-fly code is formatted. Changing the "hanginess" of a brace and then re-indenting, will not move the brace to a different line. For this, you're better off getting an external program like GNU indent, which will re-arrange brace location, among other things.

Re-indenting large sections of code can take a long time. When CC Mode reindents a region of code, it is essentially equivalent to hitting TAB on every line of the region. Especially vulnerable is code generator output(19).

These commands are useful when indenting code:

TAB (c-indent-command)
Indents the current line. The actual behavior is controlled by several variables, described below. See c-tab-always-indent, c-insert-tab-function, and indent-tabs-mode. With a numeric argument, this command rigidly indents the region, preserving the relative indentation among the lines.

M-C-q (c-indent-exp)
Indent an entire balanced brace or parenthesis expression. Note that point must be on the opening brace or parenthesis of the expression you want to indent.

C-c C-q (c-indent-defun)
Indents the entire top-level function or class definition encompassing point. It leaves point unchanged. This function can't be used to re-indent a nested brace construct, such as a nested class or function, or a Java method. The top-level construct being re-indented must be complete, i.e. it must have both a beginning brace and an ending brace.

M-C-\ (indent-region)
Indents an arbitrary region of code. This is a standard Emacs command, tailored for C code in a CC Mode buffer. Note that of course, point and mark must delineate the region you want to indent.

M-C-h (c-mark-function)
While not strictly an indentation command, this is useful for marking the current top-level function or class definition as the current region. As with c-indent-defun, this command operates on top-level constructs, and can't be used to mark say, a Java method.

These variables are also useful when indenting code:

This variable controls how TAB c-indent-command operates. When this variable is t, TAB always just indents the current line. When it is nil, the line is indented only if point is at the left margin, or on or before the first non-whitespace character on the line, otherwise some whitespace is inserted. If this variable is the symbol other, then some whitespace is inserted only within strings and comments (literals), an inside preprocessor directives, but the line is always reindented.

When "some whitespace" is inserted as described above, what actually happens is that the function stored in c-insert-tab-function is called. Normally, this just inserts a real tab character, or the equivalent number of spaces, depending on indent-tabs-mode. Some people, however, set c-insert-tab-function to tab-to-tab-stop so as to get hard tab stops when indenting.

This is a standard Emacs variable that controls how line indentation is composed. When this variable is non-nil, then tabs can be used in a line's indentation, otherwise only spaces can be used.

When indenting large regions of code, this variable controls how often a progress message is displayed. Set this variable to nil to inhibit the progress messages, or set it to an integer which is the interval in seconds that progress messages are displayed.

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