Talk:Tab key

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Proposed Move[edit]

The following discussion is an archived debate of the proposal. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section on the talk page. No further edits should be made to this section.

The result of the debate was move -- tariqabjotu (joturner) 22:58, 1 August 2006 (UTC)

Rationale: It is nearly always called the tab key not the tab, and anyone searching for tab is just as likely to be looking for index card, GUI, musical or restaurant tabs.

Joe Llywelyn Griffith Blakesley talk contrib 15:52, 26 July 2006 (UTC)


Add *Support or *Oppose followed by an optional one-sentence explanation, then sign your opinion with ~~~~
  • Support; "Tab key" removes ambiguity. David Kernow 17:29, 26 July 2006 (UTC)
  • Support. Tab key should be added to the dab page after the move. Vegaswikian 22:52, 26 July 2006 (UTC)
  • Support, good call. --Dhartung | Talk 04:08, 27 July 2006 (UTC)
  • Support, this usage is not so prevalent to deserve the "undecorated" title. Duja 12:27, 27 July 2006 (UTC)
The above discussion is preserved as an archive of the debate. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section on this talk page. No further edits should be made to this section.


Add any additional comments

Character vs. Key[edit]

Looking at this again, most of the article seems to be about the character rather than the key. Maybe it should have been moved to Tab (character)? It is probably OK where it is, as the character is derived from the key and is almost wholly used for indentation or tabulation. However, I would be grateful if anyone could comment on this before I disambiguate all the links to tab.

Joe Llywelyn Griffith Blakesley talk contrib 02:24, 2 August 2006 (UTC)

But it isn't a character. -PatPeter 01:40, 7 August 2007 (UTC)

programable printers[edit]

IBM Key punches were card programmable. You programmed the tab stops (among other things) on a punch card, and loaded the card onto the control drum. 06:08, 21 March 2007 (UTC)

Human factors[edit]

A subtle reason why many people don't like the tabs is because the tab key is on the left edge of the key board. Very few people are aware of the extent to which human factors like keyboard layout precondition their responses. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talk) 06:14, 21 March 2007 (UTC).

Bias: Tabs in programming[edit]

"This of course is wrong; good programming practice means ..."

Clearly this is an opinion, it needs removing or a citation, though there are no rules written in stone regarding the construction of code.

A description of the "Tab key" doesn't need to mention programming in the first place. This page should really focus on the origins of the key, modern applications up till the last decade or so, and that's all. I'm pulling the whole section on 'whitespace in programming' because it has nothing to do with the tab key. The HTML section is pushing it, IMHO, but it sort of completes the tables on a typewriter -> printer control code -> on screen formatting evolution. Still, the HTML part could be replaced with something more generic, like a description of tab stops in word processors. A very, very brief mention of how the tab key is overloaded for a number of different computing tasks might cut it. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 07:11, 21 January 2009 (UTC)

Bias: "most incompatibility and conversion issues"[edit]

The following statement is biased:

"The most incompatibility and conversion issues ensue when the tab key generates HT characters and the editor is configured for tab stops spaced anything but the de facto standard, which for Unix, Unix-derived systems and older systems is every 8 characters and for Windows programming, every 4 characters. Interesting possibilities include 2 and even 3."

First, it would be interesting to see a citation that that is the most common problem. Second, the "problem" described isn't really even a problem in most cases because indentation is for indentaton, not formatting, and any code that doesn't look right unless indented a certain width is sloppy code. Third, a common problem (in my experience) is inconsistent spaces-for-tabs, where part of the program has four space indents, others have five, or two, or eight.

I move that we have a general summary of the arguments for and against. In fact, I move that the whole issue get its own article.

SnappingTurtle (talk) 19:44, 15 January 2008 (UTC)

back tab key[edit]

What is a back tab key? Is it still in use today?-- (talk) 08:07, 12 April 2009 (UTC)

Tabs in wiki markup[edit]

Is there a way to make a tab in wiki markup, like the in HTML? -JamesyWamesy (talk) 00:13, 31 December 2010 (UTC)

If you need to use the tab character itself, just insert the character directly — the only reason HTML uses that numeric character entity is that XML (and HTML is either an XML application or XML-like [or rather XML was HTML-like, and both were SGML-like] language, depending on which standard one is referring to) is very restrictive about 'naked' (not encoded by an entity or ensconced in a CDATA) characters in certain parts of the XML file, allowing basically only alphanumerics plus .-_(XML Bible edition 3, page 148). [This article is a little exceedingly cautious because generally a string in the non-markup part of the document is not one of those sensitive areas.]
However, for tabulation or indentation generally, there are better ways of doing things, like using the table feature of MediaWiki (tabular data is what the pre-electronic typesetting tab was invented for), or a double newline to make separate paragraphs, which are converted to

s in HTML by the MW engine and styled such that there is a little extra space between the paragraphs, obviating the need for the outmoded practice of indenting the first-line by either spaces or tabs. Arlo James Barnes 00:59, 15 January 2017 (UTC)

You can render a tab character with 	, which was described in the article, but not actually done until now. +mt 20:04, 14 February 2017 (UTC)

de facto standardized[edit]

FORTRAN was not the origin of the default setting of tab stops at 8 spaces. FORTRAN statements started in column 7, so FORTRAN would had favored tab stops at 6 spaces. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 17:31, 10 May 2012 (UTC)

No mention of the synonym 'hard tab'[edit]

When discussing indentation in source code it is common to refer to the usage of a tab as a 'hard tab', in contrast to a 'soft tab'. This is mentioned on the Indentation and Indent style pages. Should it be referenced here?

Dukedave (talk) 21:53, 29 December 2012 (UTC)

Usage in computer games[edit]

How did this go unnoticed? The TAB key is used in almost all multiplayer games to show scores and in singleplayer games it still has usage where it often shows the world map or the player's inventory, its usage goes back from DOOM(1994) where it was used to show the level's map. I will try to edit the page with that info, the problem is that I do not have any sources. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 08:12, 27 May 2016 (UTC)

I really need a tab character. Does anyone have one I can use?[edit]

I came to this page looking for a tab character I could copy-paste. However I can't seem to find one on the page. Please help! (This is actually serious. I will go back to Google and see if I can find one somewhere else.) - (talk) 00:04, 21 April 2017 (UTC)

This is not easy to do with XML/HTML since any whitespace (including tabs) is converted to a space character. You might or might not be able to copy the tab character between the periods here:
.	.
I see it with Firefox, Chrome, Internet Explorer, Microsoft Edge. +mt 04:36, 21 April 2017 (UTC)
Suprisingly enough that works, at least with Chrome and pasting into a terminal on Linux.Spitzak (talk) 18:10, 21 April 2017 (UTC)
The article explains this very clearly: write 	 or 	 in HTML. In Windows you can write it directly with Alt codes: 1) press the Alt button; 2) enter 09 on the Numpad keys; 3) release Alt.--Lüboslóv Yęzýkin (talk) 18:42, 21 April 2017 (UTC)