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21.4.2 Indenting Several Lines

Several commands are available to re-indent several lines of code which have been altered or moved to a different level in a list structure.


Re-indent all the lines within one list (indent-sexp).


Shift an entire list rigidly sideways so that its first line is properly indented.


Re-indent all lines in the region (indent-region).

To re-indent the contents of a single list, position point before the beginning of it and type C-M-q. This key is bound to indent-sexp in Lisp mode, indent-c-exp in C mode, and bound to other suitable functions in other modes. The indentation of the line the sexp starts on is not changed; therefore, only the relative indentation within the list, and not its position, is changed. To correct the position as well, type a TAB before C-M-q.

If the relative indentation within a list is correct but the indentation of its beginning is not, go to the line on which the list begins and type C-u TAB. When you give TAB a numeric argument, it moves all the lines in the group, starting on the current line, sideways the same amount that the current line moves. The command does not move lines that start inside strings, or C preprocessor lines when in C mode.

Another way to specify a range to be re-indented is with point and mark. The command C-M-\ (indent-region) applies TAB to every line whose first character is between point and mark.

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