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Saturday, April 20, 2024

How to Show Spaces in Visual Studio Code?

Visual Studio Code, often abbreviated as VS Code, is a powerful and popular code editor used by developers worldwide. While it offers a plethora of features to enhance your coding experience, one common issue developers face is not being able to see spaces and tabs in their code. 

These invisible characters can sometimes cause formatting and indentation problems. In this blog post, we’ll walk you through the process to Show Spaces in Visual Studio Code, helping you write clean and well-organized code effortlessly.

Revealing the Invisible: How to Display Spaces in Visual Studio Code

Chapter 1: Why Display Spaces and Tabs

Before we dive into the “how,” let’s understand why it’s important to display spaces and tabs in your code editor. When you write code, you often use spaces and tabs for indentation and formatting. However, these characters are normally invisible by default in most code editors, including Visual Studio Code.

Being able to see spaces and tabs can:

  • Improve Code Readability: Displaying spaces and tabs makes your code more legible, helping you and your collaborators follow the code’s structure.
  • Debugging: It becomes easier to spot indentation errors or inconsistencies, which can be a source of bugs in your code.
  • Coding Standards: If you’re working in a team, adhering to coding standards is crucial. Seeing spaces and tabs makes it simpler to ensure code consistency.

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Chapter 2: Configuring Visual Studio Code

Now that we understand the importance to show spaces and tabs let’s learn how to configure Visual Studio Code to make them visible.

  • Open Settings: First, open Visual Studio Code and go to the “File” menu, then select “Preferences” and “Settings” (or simply use the shortcut Ctrl + , on Windows/Linux or Cmd + , on macOS).
  • Search for ‘Render Whitespace’: In the settings search bar, type ‘Render Whitespace.’ This will filter the settings related to rendering whitespace characters.
  • Choose Your Option: You will see a dropdown menu with three options:

none: This is the default setting, where spaces and tabs are invisible.

boundary: Spaces and tabs at the beginning and end of lines are displayed.

all: All spaces and tabs are shown.

  • Select Your Preference: Choose the option that suits your coding style. Most developers find ‘all’ to be the most helpful, as it displays all spaces and tabs.
  • Save Your Settings: Ensure to click the save icon (or use the shortcut Ctrl + S on Windows/Linux or Cmd + S on macOS) to save your changes.

Chapter 3: Utilizing Whitespace Display

Now that you’ve configured Visual Studio Code to show spaces and tabs let’s see how this feature can be helpful in practice.

  • Indentation Clarity: With whitespace characters visible, you can easily verify if your code adheres to proper indentation standards. Inconsistent or excessive spaces become apparent, allowing you to correct them.
  • Spotting Trailing Spaces: Trailing spaces at the end of lines can be problematic. They may go unnoticed and disrupt your code’s formatting. Visible whitespace helps you quickly identify and remove them.
  • Code Cleanup: When you’re working on an existing codebase or collaborating with others, displaying spaces and tabs can be invaluable for ensuring your code conforms to established coding standards.
  • Debugging Assistance: If you encounter unexpected behavior in your code, checking the visibility of spaces and tabs can be a useful step in troubleshooting. Incorrect indentation is a common source of bugs.

Chapter 4: Customizing Whitespace Characters

While Visual Studio Code’s default settings for displaying spaces and tabs are usually sufficient for most developers, you can further customize how these characters are displayed. This can be particularly helpful if you have specific preferences or coding standards within your team.

  • Changing the Color: By modifying your theme’s settings, you can change the color of displayed whitespace characters to make them more noticeable or blend in with your code. This customization can be found in the settings.json file under “editorWhitespace.foreground”.
  • Customizing Tab Size: Visual Studio Code allows you to set your preferred tab size and indentation width. You can access these settings through “editor.tabSize” and “editor.insertSpaces” in your settings.
  • Whitespace Highlighting: If you want to emphasize whitespace even further, you can install extensions like “Whitespace+” that offer advanced options for highlighting whitespace characters.

Chapter 5: Collaborative Coding

When working on a collaborative project, having consistent coding standards is crucial. The ability to display spaces and tabs in Visual Studio Code can greatly facilitate this process.

  • Code Reviews: During code reviews, team members can easily identify and address formatting issues by seeing the spaces and tabs. This streamlines the review process and ensures code consistency.
  • Onboarding New Developers: When new developers join your project, they can quickly adapt to your coding style by seeing how spaces and tabs are used throughout the codebase.
  • Enforcing Standards: If your team follows specific coding standards, displaying whitespace characters ensures that everyone is on the same page regarding indentation and formatting rules.

Chapter 6: Debugging and Troubleshooting

Debugging is a fundamental part of the development process, and visible spaces and tabs can assist in this regard.

  • Indentation Errors: Debugging often involves finding the source of unexpected behavior. Visible whitespace makes it easier to spot indentation errors, which can be a common cause of bugs.
  • Code Analysis: Some debugging tools and linters may identify issues related to indentation and whitespace. Displaying these characters in your editor allows you to address these issues proactively.

Chapter 7: Best Practices

To wrap up our exploration to show spaces and tabs in Visual Studio Code, let’s summarize some best practices:

  • Choose a Consistent Setting: Stick to a consistent whitespace display setting throughout your project to maintain readability and code uniformity.
  • Use Version Control: When collaborating with others, ensure that your version control system (e.g., Git) is configured to handle whitespace characters correctly. This prevents unnecessary conflicts in your codebase.
  • Document Coding Standards: If your project follows specific coding standards, document them clearly in your project’s README or guidelines so that all team members are aware of the conventions.
  • Regularly Review Code: Periodically review your codebase to ensure that it adheres to whitespace-related coding standards and that no formatting issues have slipped through.


In this comprehensive guide, we’ve explored the significance of displaying spaces and tabs in Visual Studio Code. By configuring and utilizing this feature, you can elevate your coding experience, streamline collaborative coding, and enhance debugging. 

Whether you’re a solo developer striving for code consistency or part of a team with established coding standards, making whitespace characters visible is a step towards writing cleaner, more readable, and error-free code. So, embrace the power of whitespace, and watch your coding efficiency soar. Happy coding!

Olivia Charlotte
Olivia Charlottehttps://sarticle.com
Olivia Charlotte can usually be found reading a book or doing something new, something creative. It mesmerized her to do something that will help her to feel she's helping others with her knowledge. After her graduation, she got herself into reading and writing many creatives. In her lonely time, she found cooking her favorite dishes. Olivia always keeps herself a bit separate from others because her mind is always thinking and not everyone can accept it. After she found SArticle.com, she finally had a place to share her helpful writings with people who want to get resourceful articles on almost anything.
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