When entering text I sometimes want the indented. Is there a way to avoid having to type blank characters up to the point where the first word on the previous line starts?
From the Emacs manual entry on indentation:
Inserts whitespace at point, until point is aligned with the first non-whitespace character on the previous line (actually, the last non-blank line). If point is already farther right than that, runs tab-to-tab-stop instead—unless called with a numeric argument, in which case does nothing.