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How can I show a barely visible line for each column so that column-based indenting for python/yaml code is easier in emacs? I understand I can see the column number, but I would like a more visual help, like a grid (except I don't want horizontal lines, only vertical ones).

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Sorry, as soon as I posted this, I found a response. tested on emacs 24.3.1.

Here's what you need to do:

M-x vline-mode

You may have to install the appropriate package. You can then customize the face so that the color for vline is not too obtrusive.

You could also add the minor mode vline-mode to your major mode hooks like so (in your init.el):

(defun sonnys-vline-mode ()
    "Sonny's vline mode for pug, yaml and python"
    (vline-mode 1))

(add-hook 'pug-mode-hook 'sonnys-vline-mode)
(add-hook 'yaml-mode-hook 'sonnys-vline-mode)
(add-hook 'python-mode-hook 'sonnys-vline-mode)

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