4. indentconfig.yaml, local settings and the -y switch

The behaviour of latexindent.pl is controlled from the settings specified in any of the YAML files that you tell it to load. By default, latexindent.pl will only load defaultSettings.yaml, but there are a few ways that you can tell it to load your own settings files.

4.1. indentconfig.yaml and .indentconfig.yaml

latexindent.pl will always check your home directory for indentconfig.yaml and .indentconfig.yaml (unless it is called with the -d switch), which is a plain text file you can create that contains the absolute paths for any settings files that you wish latexindent.pl to load. There is no difference between indentconfig.yaml and .indentconfig.yaml, other than the fact that .indentconfig.yaml is a ‘hidden’ file; thank you to (Diaz 2014) for providing this feature. In what follows, we will use indentconfig.yaml, but it is understood that this could equally represent .indentconfig.yaml. If you have both files in existence then indentconfig.yaml takes priority.

For Mac and Linux users, their home directory is `` /username`` while Windows (Vista onwards) is C:\Users\username [1] Listing 28 shows a sample indentconfig.yaml file.

Listing 28 indentconfig.yaml (sample)
# Paths to user settings for latexindent.pl
# Note that the settings will be read in the order you
# specify here- each successive settings file will overwrite
# the variables that you specify

- /home/cmhughes/Documents/yamlfiles/mysettings.yaml
- /home/cmhughes/folder/othersettings.yaml
- /some/other/folder/anynameyouwant.yaml
- C:\Users\chughes\Documents\mysettings.yaml
- C:\Users\chughes\Desktop\test spaces\more spaces.yaml

Note that the .yaml files you specify in indentconfig.yaml will be loaded in the order in which you write them. Each file doesn’t have to have every switch from defaultSettings.yaml; in fact, I recommend that you only keep the switches that you want to change in these settings files.

To get started with your own settings file, you might like to save a copy of defaultSettings.yaml in another directory and call it, for example, mysettings.yaml. Once you have added the path to indentconfig.yaml you can change the switches and add more code-block names to it as you see fit – have a look at Listing 29 for an example that uses four tabs for the default indent, adds the tabbing environment/command to the list of environments that contains alignment delimiters; you might also like to refer to the many YAML files detailed throughout the rest of this documentation.

Listing 29 mysettings.yaml (example)
# Default value of indentation
defaultIndent: "\t\t\t\t"

# environments that have tab delimiters, add more
# as needed
    tabbing: 1

You can make sure that your settings are loaded by checking indent.log for details – if you have specified a path that latexindent.pl doesn’t recognise then you’ll get a warning, otherwise you’ll get confirmation that latexindent.pl has read your settings file. [2]


When editing .yaml files it is extremely important to remember how sensitive they are to spaces. I highly recommend copying and pasting from defaultSettings.yaml when you create your first whatevernameyoulike.yaml file.

If latexindent.pl can not read your .yaml file it will tell you so in indent.log.

If you find that latexindent.pl does not read your YAML file, then it might be as a result of the default commandline encoding not being UTF-8; normally this will only occcur for Windows users. In this case, you might like to explore the encoding option for indentconfig.yaml as demonstrated in Listing 30.

Listing 30 The encoding option for indentconfig.yaml
encoding: GB2312
- D:\cmh\latexindent.yaml

Thank you to (qiancy98 2021) for this contribution; please see Section 12.9 and details within (“Perldoc Encode::Supported” n.d.) for further information.

4.2. localSettings.yaml and friends

The -l switch tells latexindent.pl to look for localSettings.yaml and/or friends in the same directory as myfile.tex. For example, if you use the following command

latexindent.pl -l myfile.tex

then latexindent.pl will search for and then, assuming they exist, load each of the following files in the following order:

  1. localSettings.yaml
  2. latexindent.yaml
  3. .localSettings.yaml
  4. .latexindent.yaml

These files will be assumed to be in the same directory as myfile.tex, or otherwise in the current working directory. You do not need to have all of the above files, usually just one will be sufficient. In what follows, whenever we refer to localSettings.yaml it is assumed that it can mean any of the four named options listed above.

If you’d prefer to name your localSettings.yaml file something different, (say, mysettings.yaml as in Listing 29) then you can call latexindent.pl using, for example,

latexindent.pl -l=mysettings.yaml myfile.tex

Any settings file(s) specified using the -l switch will be read after defaultSettings.yaml and, assuming they exist, any user setting files specified in indentconfig.yaml.

Your settings file can contain any switches that you’d like to change; a sample is shown in Listing 31, and you’ll find plenty of further examples throughout this manual.

Listing 31 localSettings.yaml (example)
#  verbatim environments - environments specified
#  here will not be changed at all!
    cmhenvironment: 0
    myenv: 1

You can make sure that your settings file has been loaded by checking indent.log for details; if it can not be read then you receive a warning, otherwise you’ll get confirmation that latexindent.pl has read your settings file.

4.3. The -y|yaml switch

You may use the -y switch to load your settings; for example, if you wished to specify the settings from Listing 31 using the -y switch, then you could use the following command:

latexindent.pl -y="verbatimEnvironments:cmhenvironment:0;myenv:1" myfile.tex

Note the use of ; to specify another field within verbatimEnvironments. This is shorthand, and equivalent, to using the following command:

latexindent.pl -y="verbatimEnvironments:cmhenvironment:0,verbatimEnvironments:myenv:1" myfile.tex

You may, of course, specify settings using the -y switch as well as, for example, settings loaded using the -l switch; for example,

latexindent.pl -l=mysettings.yaml -y="verbatimEnvironments:cmhenvironment:0;myenv:1" myfile.tex

Any settings specified using the -y switch will be loaded after any specified using indentconfig.yaml and the -l switch.

If you wish to specify any regex-based settings using the -y switch,

it is important not to use quotes surrounding the regex; for example, with reference to the ‘one sentence per line’ feature (Section 6.2) and the listings within Listing 346, the following settings give the option to have sentences end with a semicolon

latexindent.pl -m --yaml='modifyLineBreaks:oneSentencePerLine:sentencesEndWith:other:\;'

4.4. Settings load order

latexindent.pl loads the settings files in the following order:

  1. defaultSettings.yaml is always loaded, and can not be renamed;
  2. anyUserSettings.yaml and any other arbitrarily-named files specified in indentconfig.yaml;
  3. localSettings.yaml but only if found in the same directory as myfile.tex and called with -l switch; this file can be renamed, provided that the call to latexindent.pl is adjusted accordingly (see Section 4.2). You may specify both relative and absolute paths to other YAML files using the -l switch, separating multiple files using commas;
  4. any settings specified in the -y switch.

A visual representation of this is given in Fig. 1.


Fig. 1 Schematic of the load order described in Section 4.4; solid lines represent mandatory files, dotted lines represent optional files. indentconfig.yaml can contain as many files as you like. The files will be loaded in order; if you specify settings for the same field in more than one file, the most recent takes priority.

Diaz, Jacobo. 2014. “Hiddenconfig.” July 21, 2014. https://github.com/cmhughes/latexindent.pl/pull/18.
“Perldoc Encode::Supported.” n.d. Accessed May 6, 2021. https://perldoc.perl.org/Encode::Supported.
qiancy98. 2021. “Locale Encoding of File System.” May 6, 2021. https://github.com/cmhughes/latexindent.pl/pull/273.
[1]If you’re not sure where to put indentconfig.yaml, don’t worry latexindent.pl will tell you in the log file exactly where to put it assuming it doesn’t exist already.
[2]Windows users may find that they have to end .yaml files with a blank line