Consistent code style with editor configuration

There are many code styles. Is indented with tabs or with spaces? How many spaces? – A uniform code style facilitates the work in the team, but this is made more difficult by incorrect default settings in the editor. The EditorConfig offers help when dealing with different code styles.

The project describes itself as follows:

“EditorConfig helps maintain consistent coding styles for multiple developers working on the same project across various editors and IDEs. The EditorConfig project consists of a file format for defining coding styles and a collection of text editor plugins that enable editors to read the file format and adhere to defined styles. EditorConfig files are easily readable and they work nicely with version control systems.” –

EditorConfig is a file called .editorconfig that is added to the project. The following settings can be defined:

The settings can be assigned to different file types based on the file name. So it would be possible to indent PHP files with 4 spaces, whereas HTML files are indented with a single tab.

Integration into the project

The .editorconfig file is always placed in the root directory of the project. The following source code shows the contents of an example file:

# Top-most EditorConfig file:
# No further files will be searched for in parent directories.
root = true

# Unix-style newlines with a newline ending every file
end_of_line = lf
insert_final_newline = true

# Indentation with four spaces
indent_style = space
indent_size = 4

# Indentation with tabs
indent_style = tab

Multiple files can be used in a project if different standards apply in different directories. This is especially useful for legacy projects, where the code style is usually changed in individual subdirectories.

Editor support

The configuration is supported by many IDEs, such as IntelliJ, Visual Studio Code or Atom. The project’s website lists supported IDEs. Some programs come with support by default, others require an additional plugin to be installed.

The code editor automatically recognizes the .editorconfig and adjusts the number and type of indentation when using the tab key or when formatting the source code automatically.


Using EditorConfig makes it easier to get started with a project, as the most important settings for the code style are automatically adopted.