I think some of your confusion comes down to terminology. There are two separate characters, space
" " and tab
"\t". Tabs are a single character, but get displayed as several blank columns. This can be configured with "shiftwidth". If you do
:set shiftwidth=4 this means
When I press tab, insert a tab character, and display it as 4 blank columns (or as 4 spaces).
When you hit backspace, it deletes a single tab character that looks like 4 spaces. Now, if you want a tab character to insert 4 actual space characters, you should use
expandtab. If you
:set expandtab, it means:
When I press tab, enter tabstop spaces instead of a tab character.
So, if you
:set tabstop=4, the tab key will insert 4 spaces, and backspace will delete one of them at a time. For reference, here are the relevant lines in my
I also have:
filetype plugin on