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Tying to write a new mode, I am stuck at:

(define-derived-mode NEWS-mode
  text-mode "NEWS"
  "Major mode for NEWS file."
  (setq tab-stop-list '(2 6 59 65))
  (setq indent-tabs-mode nil)
  (setq indent-relative 'tab-to-tab-stop)
  )

Pressing TAB in the 1st line of the file has the desired result of jumping to column 2, 6, 59 then 65.

But when pressing TAB in a line with text above it, then it jumps to the word-start positions of the previous line and ignores tab-stop-list.

I found Disable `indent-relative` and it says one should not re-define indent-relative (which does not do what I want anyway).

So how to ditch that indent-relative behaviour?

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You can find information about Emacs indentation commands here. To get the desired indent behavior you want to use the function bound to M-i (tab-to-tab-stop).

The docstring of indent-for-tab-command (TAB), mentions that for indentation it calls the function set by the indent-line-function. By default, this variable is set to indent-relative. Simply set it to tab-to-tab-stop to achieve the desired behavior.

(setq indent-line-function 'tab-to-tab-stop)

I guess you could locally set this (use setq-local) within your major-mode definition.

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