Todays trivial git tip

If you're like me, you are using the repository to do your PostgreSQL development, because it's much nicer to work with than CVS.

If you're also like me, you like git diff with it's nice coloring and trailing-whitespace-warnings and such features. But you're a little bit annoyed that your tabs come out as 8-characters, when the PostgreSQL source uses 4-character tabs, making diffs a bit hard to read. But if you just pipe the output to less or something, the coloring goes away.

I finally got around to looking for a way to fix that today. And it took me all of 2 minutes to find it - I really should've done this before. Put the following in your .git/config file:

  pager = less -x4

and it'll show you the diffs with 4-space tabs.

Trivial, yes. But it took me this long to even look at fixing it, so hopefully this can help someone...


While we're on trivial, be sure to add those lines to your ~/.gitconfig for use on all your other non-Pg repos. :)

Posted on Jan 7, 2009 at 17:56 by Selena Deckelmann.

That only works if all your projects actually use 4-char spaces. Since I have a number of projects that don't, I'll just have to pick a default and modify the others. And it's easier to just leave the system-wide default as the defalt...

If you only work on tabs-as-four-spaces-projects, putting it in ~/.gitconfig makes sense :-)

Posted on Jan 7, 2009 at 18:43 by Magnus.

As trivial tips are also easy to misplace, this one is now saved for posterity at

Posted on Jan 8, 2009 at 09:24 by Greg Smith.

Add comment

New comments can no longer be posted on this entry.


I speak at and organize conferences around Open Source in general and PostgreSQL in particular.


Feb 2-5, 2023
Brussels, Belgium
SCaLE 2023
Mar 9-12, 2023
Pasadena, CA, USA
Nordic PGDay 2023
Mar 21, 2023
Stockholm, Sweden
PGCon 2023
May 30-Jun 2, 2023
Ottawa, Canada


PGConf.EU 2022
Oct 25-28, 2022
Berlin, Germany
PGConf.NYC 2022
Sep 22-23, 2022
New York, USA
Swiss PGDay 2022
Jul 1, 2022
Rapperswil, Switzerland
pgCon 2022
May 24-27, 2022
Online, Online
PGConf.DE 2022
May 13, 2022
Leipzig, Germany
More past conferences