[emacs] show vertical lines to guide indentation
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show vertical lines to guide indentation


Current block only


All blocks



Require this script

(require 'indent-guide)

and call command M-x indent-guide-mode.

If you want to enable indent-guide-mode in all buffers, call function indent-guide-global-mode.



Column lines are propertized with indent-guide-face. So you may configure this face to make lines more pretty in your colorscheme.

(set-face-background 'indent-guide-face "dimgray")

If you want indent-guide to show guide lines only in idle-time, you can set delay.

(setq indent-guide-delay 0.1)

You may also change the character for guides.

(setq indent-guide-char ":")

NOT RECOMMENDED: To show not only one guide line but all guide lines recursively, set indent-guide-recursive non-nil.

(setq indent-guide-recursive t)

indent-guide-recursive seems buggy and laggy, so I recommend highlight-indent-guide for the purpose.

Comparisons with highlight-indentation

  • look and feel
  • better block detection in LISP-like languages
    (foo                  (foo
    |(foobar baz          |(foobar baz
    ||       (foobar      |   |   |(foobar
    ||       |(qux))))    |   |   | (qux))))


       indent-guide     highlight-indentation
  • supports TABs
  • worse in performance, especially when you open a file that includes very large, deep blocks

Known Limitations

does not work perfectly with following modes (commands) :

  • company-mode, auto-complete-mode, popup.el (tooltips may not rendered perfectly)
  • pager.el (guide lines are not rendered immediately, after pager-up/down)

contributions are welcome !