Safely make whitespace across your project consistent
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Safely make whitespace across your project consistent

uniformity.vim is a tool for batch updating whitespace across a project. Because it's a batch tool intended to be run infrequently, it may be of use to you even if you don't normally use Vim.

By whitespace, I'm talking about changing indentation:

  • 2-spaces to 4-spaces
  • 4-spaces to 2-spaces
  • Spaces to tabs
  • Anything to anything really

But I'm also talking about:

Is uniformity.vim right for you?

Depending on what you're trying to do, there's a decent chance you don't even need uniformity.vim:

On the other hand...

Do you want to conservatively change whitespace so that only leading indentation is changed (to minimize the risk of messing up formatting)? uniformity.vim might be the right tool for the job.

While batch updating indentation across a project, do you want to also strip trailing whitespace, convert line endings, and convert all the files to a single encoding? uniformity.vim might be the right tool for the job.

Getting Started


uniformity.vim requires that the sleuth.vim plugin be installed. This is necessary because uniformity.vim relies on the shiftwidth setting of the buffer to reflect the current indentation of the file so it can know how to change each line.


You'll want to use a plugin manager. The instructions assume you're using vim-plug.

Include the following lines in your .vimrc:

call plug#begin('~/.vim/plugged')

Plug 'tpope/vim-sleuth'
Plug 'mkropat/vim-uniformity'

call plug#end()

Restart Vim, then run :PlugInstall to complete the installation.


Include the following lines in your .vimrc:

let g:uniformity_indent = '    '
let g:uniformity_strip_trailing_whitespace = 1
let g:uniformity_strip_zerowidth_chars = 0
let g:uniformity_bomb = 0
let g:uniformity_fileencoding = 'utf-8'
let g:uniformity_fileformat = 'unix'

Change each setting as desired. You may omit any setting to have it not take effect. After you're satisfied, load in the settings by restarting Vim or by running :source %.

Here's the full reference of what each option does:

Setting Description
g:uniformity_indent The string that represents one level of desired indentation, such as a string that contains 2-spaces, 4-spaces, or a tab character. (To insert a tab character, you can use this trick.)
g:uniformity_strip_trailing_whitespace If set to 1, trailing whitespace will be stripped
g:uniformity_strip_zerowidth_chars If set to 1, zero-width Unicode characters will be stripped
g:uniformity_bomb What to set 'bomb' to
g:uniformity_fileencoding What to set 'fileencoding' to
g:uniformity_fileformat What to set 'fileformat' to


To update the whitespace formatting in a single file, run:


If the changes look good, save the file:


To update all the files in a project, we can use :argdo. First :lcd to the project directory, then add all the files you're interested to the argument list with something like:

:args **\*.c **\*.h

(Replace *.c and *.h with the extensions of the files that you are interested in.)

To incrementally build up the argument list, check out :argadd. To exclude specific files or directories, check out :argdelete. You can view the contents of the argument list at any time by running :args.

Once you are satisifed that the argument list contains all the files you want to act on, run:

:argdo Uniform
:argdo update

These commands will run through every file in the argument list, update the whitespace in every file, then save all the files.

Tip: if you have a lot of files and you don't want to be prompted after every screenful of results, try :set nomore

If you find :argdo cumbersome, you could also try :bufdo, :tabdo or :windo. Or better yet, write a plugin that does it better and I will gladly update this README to point to it.


Why Vim?

When writing a tool for batch processing a bunch of files, I typically don't reach for a graphical/visual app like Vim as my first choice. However, Vim offers so much needed functionality out-of-the-box, I can't imagine a simpler way to get the same functionality:

  • Vim has tried-and-true support for loading in files in any number of combinations of line endings and file encodings
  • Vim has a workable, albeit clunky, means for working with all the files in a project (:argdo, etc.)
  • With sleuth.vim, Vim has a tested library for auto-detecting the indentation settings of a file
  • Vim works cross-platform