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This jQuery plugin is by Ted Devito, originally found at

(Update: His website is gone now, but the Internet Archive has a copy, and remarkably, I also had the foresight to include the original page within this repository before his site disappeared.)

There did not seem to be a GitHub repo for it yet, so I made one.

This is also an npm module, available as jquery-tabby.



The "Tabby" Javascript jQuery plugin … [allows use of the Tab key] in regular textareas to make them suitable for in-browser coding [in] languages like HTML, CSS, Javascript, or your favorite server-side language. The idea is to be able to use a press of the TAB button or SHIFT+TAB to indent or outdent your code.

It works pretty well for Markdown editors, too.


Can’t be any simpler:


To use e.g. four spaces instead of the default tab character:

	var tabby_opts = {tabString:'    '};


Please see Ted’s demo here.

Differences from original

I made a small change to better support alternate tag strings besides the actual tab character \t (e.g. four spaces).

Kind contributors have also provided patches here on GitHub, such as better window.setTimeout calls.

Caveats / Issues

  1. Outdenting will not work if there are (hard) tab characters used but tabby was initialized with a number of spaces as the tabString (i.e. soft tabs), and vice-versa. You should probably standardize input to your preferred tab string (soft or hard tabs) before presenting a Tabby-enabled textarea to your users.

  2. Sometimes the selection can change slightly (e.g. grow to include a previous line) when outdenting. Pull requests are welcome!


Grab the bookmarklet here.

See Also

For a description of the problem and how this solution is implemented, please see Ted’s original description.


Tabby, originally by Ted Devito


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