I need to see the space characters but I can't set it for the life of me.

I went to customize the Whitespace Display Mapping and this is what I found. Notice that the mapping for the space is set to be ".". It doens't work of course:

INS DEL Character Mapping:
            Char Kind: Value Menu Space
            Vector List:
            INS DEL :
                        Vector Characters:
                        INS DEL Char: .

I even included this into .emacs

(setq whitespace-display-mappings '((space-mark 32 [46])
       (newline-mark 10 [36 10]) (tab-mark 9 [187
      9] [92 9])))

Still nothing.

Maybe someone know what is the problem here? I just want the whitespace overlay to show the " " character as a ".".

Thanks for your time and help in advance.

  • 2
    The default behavior of whitespace-mode is to show a space as a centered dot character. Have you tried using whitespace-mode without making any modifications? Try opening any file in fundamental-mode and type M-x whitespace-mode without any whitespace configuration settings.
    – lawlist
    Commented Jul 15, 2015 at 22:17
  • For the record, the visual display of the space-mark it is not an overlay -- it is a glyph that is displayed via the buffer-display-table.
    – lawlist
    Commented Jul 15, 2015 at 22:25
  • 1
    Jenia Ivanov: Does your whitespace-style variable contain space-mark ? (or if using the customize interface: (Mark) SPACEs and HARD SPACEs ?)
    – phils
    Commented Jul 16, 2015 at 1:15

2 Answers 2


Your settings work. Make sure that you don't have grayish window background.

enter image description here


As phils already said in the comments whitespace-style needs to include space-mark.

See my answer here for details.

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