I'm having this characters '>' when I'm tabbing using VIM. how can I remove this when tabbing? It's very annoying


  • 2
    list is disabled by default and the default value of listchars doesn't contain ▶︎. This means that you enabled list and you defined listchars. So… why ask? Just revert your own settings.
    – romainl
    Commented Nov 3, 2016 at 6:30

1 Answer 1


This is because of the listchars option. The idea is that you can display certain whitespace characters (tab, space, newline, etc.) as a different character so you can see them better. I'm guessing if you type:

:set listchars?

you will see something like

listchars=tab:(that arrow)

as well as some other settings. To disable this, you can change what tabs are displayed as, for example:

:set listchars+=tab:\ \ 

(note the trailing space)

or you may simply turn this off entirely by running

:set nolist

Recommended reading: :h 'list' and :h listchars


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