In my vimrc I have filetype indent plugin on

When I write python code, the indentation mostly looks good, but in lists it is too big:

def fun():
    return 'indent looks good'

my_list = [
        'indent too big'

Why is the indent size different in lists from the rest of code? How can I get the same size in lists?

I've tried set sts=4 sw=4 but the indentation in lists is still too big.

2 Answers 2


Found this section in the python indentation file (/usr/share/vim/vim82/indent/python.vim on my machine):

" When inside parenthesis: If at the first line below the parenthesis add
" two 'shiftwidth', otherwise same as previous line.
return indent(plnum) + (exists("g:pyindent_open_paren") ? eval(g:pyindent_open_paren) : (shiftwidth() * 2)) 

Changing the shiftwidth() * 2 to just shiftwidth() gives the indentation I want.

My guess is the reason for the double-shiftwidth is to satisfy the extra indentation suggested by PEP 8 here for arguments to functions with long names. But I'd rather have my lists indent correctly and manually fix argument lists when needed.

  • 1
    If your solution is addressing your problem maybe could you accept it. You can accept your own answer after t,o day. It allow the question to rest :-) Feb 12, 2023 at 17:45

With Vim 9.0 that behavior is now configurable.

If you want to disable the indentation of open parenthesis/bracket you can set

let g:pyindent_open_paren = shiftwidth()

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