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Is the opposite word of "indent" is "outdent", or is it "unindent"?

Corresponding to "Tab" and "Shift Tab" in most editors.

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It isn't clear what you want the word to mean; "outdent" and "unindent" have two different meanings which can both be taken to be the opposite of "indent". Is the opposite of a "hill" a "plain" or a "valley"? –  Peter Shor Feb 3 '14 at 2:14
I think you're looking for unformatted or unindented. That is not formatted or indented respectively. But, perhaps you mean a margin or a gutter margin? –  Elliott Frisch Feb 3 '14 at 3:36
Partly due to the popularity of Microsoft and Adobe, outdent is commonly used in commercial text editors. In my experience, though, unindent (often hyphenated) is used to describe the Shift + Tab key combo in Sublime, Eclipse, and TEX. I always say un-indent since outdent also refers to a specific formatting, called a hanging paragraph. –  jboneca Feb 3 '14 at 3:43
Indent in to the right of margin, outdent is to the left of margin, but unindent is to undo an indent. Newb is right in his answer. Both outdent & unindent are used, and have different meanings. jiyinyiyong, These are not words used in general English writing. Please refer to your software Help, or Google the definitions. –  Kris Feb 3 '14 at 8:30
@PeterShor I misunderstood these words. It's unindent here as the only anwser said. –  jiyinyiyong Feb 4 '14 at 7:59

2 Answers 2

up vote 6 down vote accepted

Corresponding to "Tab" and "Shift Tab" in most editors.

In that case you'll want unindent, as it reverses the indent action, and as outdent refers to a (usually left-) hanging block of text.

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The opposite of indent is outdent, according to Christopher Hoot, graduate of Yale University and graphic design instructor at the University of Akron.

Outdent is modelled on indent, replacing in with its opposite, out.

It refers to multident -> multiple “dents” in a paragraph.

Example usage:

You may choose to indent or outdent this paragraph or line of type.

Verb outdent is to indent negatively, bring towards the margin.

By default, the summary tasks are bold and outdented, and the subtasks are indented beneath them.

You can also use de-indent.


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