Skip site navigation (1)Skip section navigation (2)

FreeBSD Manual Pages


home | help
INDENT(1)               FreeBSD General Commands Manual              INDENT(1)

     indent -- indent and format C program source

     indent [input-file [output-file]] [-bad | -nbad] [-bap | -nbap]
            [-bbb | -nbbb] [-bc | -nbc] [-bl] [-br] [-cn] [-cdn]
            [-cdb | -ncdb] [-ce | -nce] [-cin] [-clin] [-dn] [-din]
            [-fbs | -nfbs] [-fc1 | -nfc1] [-fcb | -nfcb] [-in] [-ip | -nip]
            [-ln] [-lcn] [-ldin] [-lp | -nlp] [-npro] [-pcs | -npcs]
            [-psl | -npsl] [-sc | -nsc] [-sob | -nsob] [-st] [-troff]
            [-ut | -nut] [-v | -nv]

     The indent utility is a C program formatter.  It reformats the C program
     in the input-file according to the switches.  The switches which can be
     specified are described below.  They may appear before or after the file

     NOTE: If you only specify an input-file, the formatting is done `in-
     place', that is, the formatted file is written back into input-file and a
     backup copy of input-file is written in the current directory.  If
     input-file is named `/blah/blah/file', the backup file is named

     If output-file is specified, indent checks to make sure that it is dif-
     ferent from input-file.

     The options listed below control the formatting style imposed by indent.

     -bad, -nbad     If -bad is specified, a blank line is forced after every
                     block of declarations.  Default: -nbad.

     -bap, -nbap     If -bap is specified, a blank line is forced after every
                     procedure body.  Default: -nbap.

     -bbb, -nbbb     If -bbb is specified, a blank line is forced before every
                     block comment.  Default: -nbbb.

     -bc, -nbc       If -bc is specified, then a newline is forced after each
                     comma in a declaration.  -nbc turns off this option.
                     Default: -nbc.

     -br, -bl        Specifying -bl lines-up compound statements like this:

                           if (...)

                     Specifying -br (the default) makes them look like this:

                           if (...) {

     -cn             The column in which comments on code start.  The default
                     is 33.

     -cdn            The column in which comments on declarations start.  The
                     default is for these comments to start in the same column
                     as those on code.

     -cdb, -ncdb     Enables (disables) the placement of comment delimiters on
                     blank lines.  With this option enabled, comments look
                     like this:

                                    * this is a comment

                     Rather than like this:

                                   /* this is a comment */

                     This only affects block comments, not comments to the
                     right of code.  The default is -cdb.

     -ce, -nce       Enables (disables) forcing of `else's to cuddle up to the
                     immediately preceding `}'.  The default is -ce.

     -cin            Sets the continuation indent to be n.  Continuation lines
                     will be indented that far from the beginning of the first
                     line of the statement.  Parenthesized expressions have
                     extra indentation added to indicate the nesting, unless
                     -lp is in effect or the continuation indent is exactly
                     half of the main indent.  -ci defaults to the same value
                     as -i.

     -clin           Causes case labels to be indented n tab stops to the
                     right of the containing switch statement.  -cli0.5 causes
                     case labels to be indented half a tab stop.  The default
                     is -cli0.

     -dn             Controls the placement of comments which are not to the
                     right of code.  For example, -d1 means that such comments
                     are placed one indentation level to the left of code.
                     Specifying the default -d0 lines-up these comments with
                     the code.  See the section on comment indentation below.

     -din            Specifies the indentation, in character positions, of
                     global variable names and all struct/union member names
                     relative to the beginning of their type declaration.  The
                     default is -di16.

     -dj, -ndj       -dj left justifies declarations.  -ndj indents declara-
                     tions the same as code.  The default is -ndj.

     -ei, -nei       Enables (disables) special else-if processing.  If it is
                     enabled, an if following an else will have the same
                     indentation as the preceding if statement.  The default
                     is -ei.

     -fbs, -nfbs     Enables (disables) splitting the function declaration and
                     opening brace across two lines.  The default is -fbs.

     -fc1, -nfc1     Enables (disables) the formatting of comments that start
                     in column 1.  Often, comments whose leading `/' is in
                     column 1 have been carefully hand formatted by the pro-
                     grammer.  In such cases, -nfc1 should be used.  The
                     default is -fc1.

     -fcb, -nfcb     Enables (disables) the formatting of block comments (ones
                     that begin with `/*\n').  Often, block comments have been
                     not so carefully hand formatted by the programmer, but
                     reformatting that would just change the line breaks is
                     not wanted.  In such cases, -nfcb should be used.  Block
                     comments are then handled like box comments.  The default
                     is -fcb.

     -in             The number of spaces for one indentation level.  The
                     default is 8.

     -ip, -nip       Enables (disables) the indentation of parameter declara-
                     tions from the left margin.  The default is -ip.

     -ln             Maximum length of an output line.  The default is 78.

     -ldin           Specifies the indentation, in character positions, of
                     local variable names relative to the beginning of their
                     type declaration.  The default is for local variable
                     names to be indented by the same amount as global ones.

     -lp, -nlp       Lines-up code surrounded by parenthesis in continuation
                     lines.  If a line has a left paren which is not closed on
                     that line, then continuation lines will be lined up to
                     start at the character position just after the left
                     paren.  For example, here is how a piece of continued
                     code looks with -nlp in effect:

                           p1 = first_procedure(second_procedure(p2, p3),
                             third_procedure(p4, p5));

                     With -lp in effect (the default) the code looks somewhat

                           p1 = first_procedure(second_procedure(p2, p3),
                                                third_procedure(p4, p5));

                     Inserting two more newlines we get:

                           p1 = first_procedure(second_procedure(p2,

     -npro           Causes the profile files, `./' and
                     `~/', to be ignored.

     -pcs, -npcs     If true (-pcs) all procedure calls will have a space
                     inserted between the name and the `('.  The default is

     -psl, -npsl     If true (-psl) the names of procedures being defined are
                     placed in column 1 - their types, if any, will be left on
                     the previous lines.  The default is -psl.

     -sc, -nsc       Enables (disables) the placement of asterisks (`*'s) at
                     the left edge of all comments.  The default is -sc.

     -sob, -nsob     If -sob is specified, indent will swallow optional blank
                     lines.  You can use this to get rid of blank lines after
                     declarations.  Default: -nsob.

     -st             Causes indent to take its input from stdin and put its
                     output to stdout.

     -Ttypename      Adds typename to the list of type keywords.  Names accu-
                     mulate: -T can be specified more than once.  You need to
                     specify all the typenames that appear in your program
                     that are defined by typedef - nothing will be harmed if
                     you miss a few, but the program will not be formatted as
                     nicely as it should.  This sounds like a painful thing to
                     have to do, but it is really a symptom of a problem in C:
                     typedef causes a syntactic change in the language and
                     indent cannot find all instances of typedef.

     -troff          Causes indent to format the program for processing by
                     troff(1).  It will produce a fancy listing in much the
                     same spirit as vgrind(1).  If the output file is not
                     specified, the default is standard output, rather than
                     formatting in place.

     -ut, -nut       Enables (disables) the use of tab characters in the out-
                     put.  Tabs are assumed to be aligned on columns divisible
                     by 8.  The default is -ut.

     -v, -nv         -v turns on `verbose' mode; -nv turns it off.  When in
                     verbose mode, indent reports when it splits one line of
                     input into two or more lines of output, and gives some
                     size statistics at completion.  The default is -nv.

     You may set up your own `profile' of defaults to indent by creating a
     file called in your login directory and/or the current direc-
     tory and including whatever switches you like.  A `' in the
     current directory takes precedence over the one in your login directory.
     If indent is run and a profile file exists, then it is read to set up the
     program's defaults.  Switches on the command line, though, always over-
     ride profile switches.  The switches should be separated by spaces, tabs
     or newlines.

     `Box' comments.  The indent utility assumes that any comment with a dash
     or star immediately after the start of comment (that is, `/*-' or `/**')
     is a comment surrounded by a box of stars.  Each line of such a comment
     is left unchanged, except that its indentation may be adjusted to account
     for the change in indentation of the first line of the comment.

     Straight text.  All other comments are treated as straight text.  The
     indent utility fits as many words (separated by blanks, tabs, or new-
     lines) on a line as possible.  Blank lines break paragraphs.

   Comment indentation
     If a comment is on a line with code it is started in the `comment col-
     umn', which is set by the -cn command line parameter.  Otherwise, the
     comment is started at n indentation levels less than where code is cur-
     rently being placed, where n is specified by the -dn command line parame-
     ter.  If the code on a line extends past the comment column, the comment
     starts further to the right, and the right margin may be automatically
     extended in extreme cases.

   Preprocessor lines
     In general, indent leaves preprocessor lines alone.  The only reformat-
     ting that it will do is to straighten up trailing comments.  It leaves
     embedded comments alone.  Conditional compilation (#ifdef...#endif) is
     recognized and indent attempts to correctly compensate for the syntactic
     peculiarities introduced.

   C syntax
     The indent utility understands a substantial amount about the syntax of
     C, but it has a `forgiving' parser.  It attempts to cope with the usual
     sorts of incomplete and misformed syntax.  In particular, the use of
     macros like:

           #define forever for(;;)

     is handled properly.

     The indent utility uses the HOME environment variable.

     ./  profile file
     ~/  profile file

     The indent command appeared in 4.2BSD.

     The indent utility has even more switches than ls(1).

     A common mistake is to try to indent all the C programs in a directory by

           indent *.c

     This is probably a bug, not a feature.

FreeBSD 6.2                      June 29, 2004                     FreeBSD 6.2


Want to link to this manual page? Use this URL:

home | help