I've seen

But none of them solved my problem

I'm trying to set my listchars in my vimrc like this:

set listchars=tab:|

But I got the error: E474: Invalid argument: listchars=tab:

I tried escaping the pipe as \| and ^V| and \\| and a bunch of variations, but nothing worked.

The weird thing is that I can do other stuff (like nnoremap \|) with no problems at all. The only problem is for listchars.

  • 2
    tab requires either 2 or 3 letters, not only a single letter Sep 9, 2021 at 5:25

1 Answer 1


Read :h 'lcs': "Two or three characters to be used to show a tab". First, the first one. Then the second one repeated as many times as needed.

set lcs=tab:\|\|
  • I think you didn't understand my question. What I want to know is how to escape a |. \| didn't work for me. Sep 9, 2021 at 4:43
  • 2
    @Siddharth I'm pretty sure you didn't understand my answer. \| works for me and everyone else.
    – Matt
    Sep 9, 2021 at 4:46

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