I am working on a Linux driver, and I would like to use emacs. My problem is that indenting does not work, no matter what. by this, I mean that when I press enter from a line, it goes at the beginning of the new line, and pressing TAB even a million times does not change this behavior. I've spent the last hour trying to fix this by changing my .emacs, but absolutely no results. Here's a copy of my .emacs:

(load-theme 'misterioso)

;; Disable toolbar and menubar
(tool-bar-mode -1)
(scroll-bar-mode -1)
(menu-bar-mode -1)

;; Remember position in opened files
(require 'saveplace)
(setq-default save-place t)

;; Close all buffers
(defun close-all-buffers ()
  (mapc 'kill-buffer (buffer-list)))

;; Remove trailing whitespaces before saving
(add-hook 'before-save-hook 'delete-trailing-whitespace)

;; Display line and column number in toolbar
(setq line-number-mode t)
(setq column-number-mode t)

;; Show matching parentheses
(show-paren-mode t)

;; Goto-line command
(global-set-key "\C-cg" 'goto-line)

;; Kill rectangular regions
(global-set-key "\C-cr" 'kill-rectangle)

;; Comment region command
(global-set-key "\C-cc" 'comment-region)
(global-set-key "\C-cv" 'uncomment-region)

;; Display question in 'y/n' instead of 'yes/no'
(fset 'yes-or-no-p 'y-or-n-p)

(setq load-path (cons (expand-file-name "~/.emacs.d/") load-path))

;; Color the code
(require 'font-lock)
(global-font-lock-mode t)

;; Max decoration
(setq font-lock-maximum-decoration t)

;; Delete selected text when typing
(delete-selection-mode 1)

;; Highlight current line
(hl-line-mode t)

;; Put a final newline in saved files
(setq require-final-newline t)

(setq ispell-program-name "aspell")
; could be ispell as well, depending on your preferences
(setq ispell-dictionary "english")
; this can obviously be set to any language your spell-checking program     supports
(add-hook 'LaTeX-mode-hook 'flyspell-mode)
(add-hook 'LaTeX-mode-hook 'flyspell-buffer)
(require 'flymake)

;; Set backup directory
 backup-by-copying t
 '(("." . "~/.emacs-backups"))
 delete-old-versions t
 kept-new-versions 6
 kept-old-versions 2
 version-control t)

(defun count-words-region (start end)
  (interactive "r")
    (let ((n 0))
      (goto-char start)
      (while (< (point) end)
        (if (forward-word 1)
            (setq n (1+ n))))
      (message "Region has %d words" n)

(setq-default indent-tabs-mode t)

;; Tab width
(setq default-tab-width 8)
 '(inhibit-startup-screen t))

(require 'whitespace)
(setq whitespace-line-column 80) ;; limit line length
(setq whitespace-style '(face lines-tail))

(add-hook 'prog-mode-hook 'whitespace-mode)

(defun c-lineup-arglist-tabs-only (ignored)
   "Line up argument lists by tabs, not spaces"
   (let* ((anchor (c-langelem-pos c-syntactic-element))
     (column (c-langelem-2nd-pos c-syntactic-element))
     (offset (- (1+ column) anchor))
     (steps (floor offset c-basic-offset)))
     (* (max steps 1)

 (add-hook 'c-mode-common-hook
           (lambda ()
             ;; Add kernel style
              '("linux" (c-offsets-alist

(setq-default major-mode 'text-mode)
     (add-hook 'text-mode-hook 'turn-on-auto-fill)

(electric-indent-mode 1)
(dolist (command '(yank yank-pop))
   (eval `(defadvice ,command (after indent-region activate)
            (and (not current-prefix-arg)
                 (member major-mode '(emacs-lisp-mode lisp-mode
                                                      clojure-mode scheme-mode
                                                      haskell-mode    ruby-mode
                                                      rspec-mode          python-mode
                                                      c-mode          c++-mode
                                                      objc-mode       latex-mode
                 (let ((mark-even-if-inactive transient-mark-mode))
                   (indent-region (region-beginning) (region-end) nil))))))

Can anyone help me please? I am starting to get desperate.... :(

Thanks a lot in advance!!

  • I just tested your init file out and it's indenting properly (meaning it will add a level if I'm in a function) but with two spaces, not a tab.
    – nanny
    Jan 21, 2015 at 14:42

1 Answer 1


You're missing the variable c-basic-offset. You need to set this to 8 if you want your indentation levels to be tabs. Add

(setq c-basic-offset 8)

somewhere to your init file. Perhaps next to indent-tabs-mode, or as the first expression in the lambda of your c-mode-common-hook.

If you still can't get indents, I would try removing this line from your init file:

(setq load-path (cons (expand-file-name "~/.emacs.d/") load-path))

then restart Emacs.

  • It (the (setq command)) works perfectly, thanks a lot!!!!! :)
    – RH6
    Jan 22, 2015 at 6:29
  • @RH6 You're welcome! Feel free to mark my answer as accepted so that people know the question is answered (and I get those sweet internet points).
    – nanny
    Jan 22, 2015 at 15:07

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