I use Vim to write longer sequences of body text. It does automatic formatting, which generally works nicely. If I have a sentence that ends in a number, say a date or a year, and that number happens to be placed at the beginning of a line, Vim will indent the next line, as if it is part of a numbered list.

I am editing an .rst file.

I have looked at formatoptions and suspected the n flag of being the problem, but set fo-=n made no difference.

I think I am missing some obvious setting that could solve this, but I am unsure where to start looking. Obviously I looked at formatoptions, fo-table, autoindent et. al., but as I see it I already unset the relevant option. What am I missing?


1 Answer 1


It looks like the rst filetype has some custom indentation rules which add this indentation. This works by setting the indentexpr setting to GetRSTIndent in /usr/share/vim/vim80/indent/rst.vim.

To completely disable the rst indentation you can use something like:

augroup ftype_rst
    autocmd Filetype rst setlocal indentexpr=
augroup end

This will disable all indent rules, which may not be what you want. To disable just these rules you can override the GetRSTIndent() function in ~/.vim/after/indent/rst.vim (I've commented out the five lines that add indentation for lists):

let s:itemization_pattern = '^\s*[-*+]\s'
let s:enumeration_pattern = '^\s*\%(\d\+\|#\)\.\s\+'

function! GetRSTIndent()
  let lnum = prevnonblank(v:lnum - 1)
  if lnum == 0
    return 0

  let ind = indent(lnum)
  let line = getline(lnum)

  " if line =~ s:itemization_pattern
  "   let ind += 2
  " elseif line =~ s:enumeration_pattern
  "   let ind += matchend(line, s:enumeration_pattern)
  " endif

  let line = getline(v:lnum - 1)

  " Indent :FIELD: lines.  Don’t match if there is no text after the field or
  " if the text ends with a sent-ender.
   if line =~ '^:.\+:\s\{-1,\}\S.\+[^.!?:]$'
     return matchend(line, '^:.\{-1,}:\s\+')

  if line =~ '^\s*$'
    execute lnum
    call search('^\s*\%([-*+]\s\|\%(\d\+\|#\)\.\s\|\.\.\|$\)', 'bW')
    let line = getline('.')
    if line =~ s:itemization_pattern
      let ind -= 2
    elseif line =~ s:enumeration_pattern
      let ind -= matchend(line, s:enumeration_pattern)
    elseif line =~ '^\s*\.\.'
      let ind -= 3

  return ind

You can also look at tweaking the s:enumeration_pattern regexp. You didn't really mention which cases fail for you, so I can't really help you there.

  • Thanks @Carpetsmoker. I'll give these options a go later, and let you know how it goes.
    – ravnsgaard
    Commented Jun 21, 2017 at 9:14
  • The s:enumeration_pattern was indeed the problem here. I've disabled it for now, but I'll look into tweaking it instead. Thanks for your input, @Carpetsmoker. Appreciated.
    – ravnsgaard
    Commented Jun 21, 2017 at 17:50
  • A final note on this. The tweak is actually very simple: s:enumeration_pattern now starts with ^\s+ instead of ^\s*. Then if I want a numbered list, I need to start with at least one whitespace character on that line to trigger the automatic indentation, but I always do that anyway. This way it doesn't foul my normal flow, though.
    – ravnsgaard
    Commented Jun 22, 2017 at 12:25

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