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Bug 13063 - Option to remove whitespace at end of line
Summary: Option to remove whitespace at end of line
Alias: None
Product: editor
Classification: Unclassified
Component: Formatting & Indentation (show other bugs)
Version: 3.x
Hardware: All All
: P2 blocker with 15 votes (vote)
Assignee: Miloslav Metelka
: 19306 23112 32491 40669 59884 72528 117968 148726 (view as bug list)
Depends on: 137529
Blocks: 133913
  Show dependency tree
Reported: 2001-06-21 14:57 UTC by Scott Ganyo
Modified: 2014-11-29 12:50 UTC (History)
14 users (show)

See Also:
Issue Type: DEFECT
Exception Reporter:


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Description Scott Ganyo 2001-06-21 14:58:01 UTC
We need an option to remove whitespace at the end of lines when saving a file.  
This is a very common option in programmers editors and it can be annoying not 
to have when you need and/or expect it.
Comment 1 Jan Chalupa 2001-11-27 12:27:51 UTC
Target milestone -> 3.3.1.
Comment 2 Marek Grummich 2002-07-22 12:09:06 UTC
Set target milestone to TBD
Comment 3 Marek Grummich 2002-07-22 12:12:00 UTC
Set target milestone to TBD
Comment 4 michaelw 2003-04-10 17:22:57 UTC
We have programmers using SunOne Studio or JBuilder and 
JBuilder allows removing trailing whitespaces to save 
space but cvs file comparison shows more changed in the 
file because it was previously edited with SunOne Studio.
It makes file sizes smaller too.
Comment 5 Jesse Glick 2004-09-14 17:41:17 UTC
*** Issue 19306 has been marked as a duplicate of this issue. ***
Comment 6 Jesse Glick 2004-09-14 17:42:10 UTC
*** Issue 23112 has been marked as a duplicate of this issue. ***
Comment 7 Jesse Glick 2004-09-14 17:44:37 UTC
*** Issue 32491 has been marked as a duplicate of this issue. ***
Comment 8 Jesse Glick 2004-09-14 17:44:54 UTC
*** Issue 40669 has been marked as a duplicate of this issue. ***
Comment 9 serkanc 2005-01-13 14:02:08 UTC
Solving this issue should be a trivial task for your developers, I
would like to have this feature in NB as soon as possible.
Comment 10 Jesse Glick 2005-06-16 18:11:59 UTC
See other suggestions in issue #59884.
Comment 11 Jesse Glick 2005-06-16 18:12:13 UTC
*** Issue 59884 has been marked as a duplicate of this issue. ***
Comment 12 _ tboudreau 2006-03-01 18:41:39 UTC
Note there is a module, contrib/stripwhitespace that adds a function to the 
Edit menu to strip trailing whitespace.  In a perfect world, probably it 
should be more automatic than that (on save? - but there are file types where 
you may *want* trailing whitespace...).

Anyway, it should show up on at some point, or can be built from 
source in the meantime.
Comment 13 Rich Unger 2006-03-01 18:45:46 UTC
I've been using that module.  It's nice, but it'd be nicer if it had hotkeys :)
Comment 14 _ hair 2006-03-01 18:51:08 UTC
The tasklist/checkstyle also provides this feature.
[ If you checkstyle_checks.xml lists trailing spaces as a checkstyle violation. ]
This module then adds each line with trailing space to the suggestions list,
from there they can all be automatically fixed.

It also works across the whole project via Suggestions "Scan directory for
Comment 15 kjmcdonald 2006-03-01 19:09:56 UTC
Many issues have been marked as duplicates of this one that really are asking
for solutions to different problems, or at least to this *and* other problems.

19306 and 23112, both not only wnat the option for the whitespace to disappear
on save, they also want the 'end' key to behave differently in the editor when
the whitespace hasn't yet been stripped.

32491 59884 is more a duplicate of my issue 23315 (that isn't even mentioned
here.) Where the indentation engine inserts indenting spaces when 'enter' is
hit. If enter was hit prematurely, you now have to hit 'backspace' 4,8,12, or
more times to get back up to the line you were on.

Another issue recommends making whitespace(trailing only?) visible in the editor.

I see three issues:

1. Allowing user to Configure NB to remove whitespace on save.
2. Allowing user to Configure the indentation engine, 'enter', and 'backspace'
to work well together, and not add extra whitespace to begin with.
3. Allowing user to request that the editor show whitespace.

#1 may be solved by the plugin Tim mentioned. #2 and #3 seem to still be an open
issue, and I would contend that some of these duplicates aren't duplicates of
this issue at all.

Unfortunately #2 will probalby have to wait for the indentation engine re-write
that's been on the NB todo list for what seems like forever.

Comment 16 _ tboudreau 2006-03-01 19:33:57 UTC
I believe the indentation engine rewrite stuff will probably happen for 
NetBeans 6 - some kind of unified handling of formatting that does the right 
thing for both newly generated code and can be manually invoked over a file.

Re the highlighting of whitespace, you *can* set the editor to use a different 
color for *all* whitespace, which is probably undesirable if you just want to 
see trailing whitespace.  It would also be possible to use DrawLayer support 
in the editor to do the same thing the mark occurances module does.  Probably 
you'd want some hotkey that makes it visible and then hides it again - it 
would personally drive me nuts to have it on all the time, as if I'm fixing a 
bug in a file in CVS that has existing trailing whitespace, I'm not going to 
delete it because it would pollute the diff of my fix - nobody would be able 
to tell real changes from formatting changes in the future if they needed to 
look up what changed when I did the fix.
Comment 17 Andrei Badea 2006-03-01 20:12:03 UTC
I'm working on adding trailing whitespace highlighting to the
contrib/stripwhitespace module. It already kind of works, I just need to find
some time to finish and commit it.
Comment 18 Andrei Badea 2006-03-06 10:25:53 UTC
I commited the support for highlighting trailing whitespace to
contrib/stripwhitespace. Hope it solves #3 at least for someone.
Comment 19 Miloslav Metelka 2006-04-06 15:59:34 UTC
There is an experimental functionality in trunk that removes ending whitespace
on previously edited line. If there is an ending whitespace added (either by
user or by indentation engine) to a particular line and the user starts to edit
another line then the ending whitespace on the previously edited line gets
removed automatically.
Unfortunately there are several complaints regarding this (e.g. issue 74149) so
we would like to modify it to only remove whitespace before save operation on
the lines that were modified (to not cause extra VCS diffs).
Comment 20 _ tboudreau 2006-04-06 20:37:00 UTC
FWIW, anyone who wants the StripWhitespace module, it's available from - and Andrea did a wonderful job adding the ability to 
highlight all trailing whitespace to it.
Comment 21 Andrei Badea 2006-04-07 10:23:33 UTC
Thanks! BTW that's "Andrei", not "Andrea", and no, I'm not Italian :-)
Comment 22 _ hair 2007-03-20 11:29:13 UTC
Isn't this issue now resolved with the action:

Source -> Remove Trailing Spaces

Comment 23 Miloslav Metelka 2007-03-20 16:40:19 UTC
There are still improvements to be considered, especially the automatic end WS
removal upon save operation.
Now it's clear that the original assumption to remove WS "aggressively" upon
leaving a line (e.g. like Vim does) that was tested in the trunk some time ago
was not accepted by our users so the WS needs to be removed explicitly and best
upon save. It should handle just the modified lines so that it does not produce
extra diffs (of course unless the user really wants to do it for the whole source).
 Setting TM to future as I'm not sure whether we will be able to do anything
more regarding this for 6.0.
Comment 24 Vitezslav Stejskal 2007-10-17 11:43:35 UTC
*** Issue 117968 has been marked as a duplicate of this issue. ***
Comment 25 _ tboudreau 2008-02-13 21:22:57 UTC
Given that we have local history and so forth, and actually know what lines have been changed, I would love to see an option to strip trailing spaces *only from 
modified lines*.  That way I don't create gratuitous diffs, but I also don't contribute to the problem any further.
Comment 26 Jesse Glick 2008-02-13 22:41:47 UTC
I don't think there is even any need for the local history module. The editor module just needs to keep track of which
lines have been modified (or inserted) in the document since it was last opened or saved; and upon saving, strip WS from
them all.
Comment 27 Miloslav Metelka 2008-02-14 12:04:01 UTC
This is one of the things that I would like to finally implement in NB7. Given that the extra WS affects all the sources
I consider this is an important feature.
Comment 28 Miloslav Metelka 2008-06-16 15:06:45 UTC
Current implementation only removes WS on lines where typing occurred to avoid extensive changes in version-control
systems. I hope that this approach should be the most beneficial and thus I did not implement any visual option to
disable this feature yet.
The feature adds a little SPI on org.openide.text side (a "beforeSaveRunnable" document property) which I have properly
documented in arch and api changes docs and added a test for it. There are no API classes introduced.

changeset:   84586:a12f34869bee
tag:         tip
parent:      82742:f6b2e0181e07
user:        Miloslav Metelka <>
date:        Mon Jun 16 14:28:00 2008 +0200
summary:     #13063 - Remove whitespace at end of line.
Comment 29 Jesse Glick 2008-06-16 20:42:34 UTC
You broke

editor.lib/nbproject/project.xml:133: cvc-complex-type.2.4.d: Invalid content was found starting with element
'compile-dependency'. No child element is expected at this point.
Comment 30 Miloslav Metelka 2008-06-16 22:45:53 UTC
Comment 31 Jesse Glick 2008-07-01 20:12:01 UTC
If the caret is on a line ending with space when you save, this whitespace is not removed, even if you had edited that
line during this session, and even if the caret was not at the end of the line. Intentional? Also if you only delete
characters on a line, or cut or copy segments in the line - i.e. make any modifications other than typing new characters
- whitespace will not be deleted from the end of it.
Comment 32 Miloslav Metelka 2008-07-02 00:18:10 UTC
1. was a fix of issue 137529. I tried to convince Martin Adamek that it's better to remove the WS on current line too
but he insisted that it's a bug.

2. Regarding removals I've only made a note in TrailingWhitespaceRemove.removeUpdate() so far:
        // Currently do not handle in any special way but
        // Since there's a mod on the line there will be a diff
        // so it should not matter much if the ending WS is removed too.
I will implement it. IMHO it should only suffice to create empty mod regions and process the empty regions too.
Comment 33 Petr Dvorak 2008-07-21 16:38:14 UTC
Hi, one little thing - which is not very important and is related to 1) from the previous post - can be enhanced (I am
sorry if it was briefly mentioned somewhere).

I understood that WS are not currently removed from the line with a caret at all, which is not problem for me. But
should they never be removed from this line, as it happens now (200807181543)?


1. Suppose you have (<EOF>=EOF, <\n>=NL, |=caret)

public class Class {        |<\n>
  int i = 0;<\n>

2. Press Ctrl+S -> WS in the 1st line are (correctly) preserved
3. Put some WS to the end of the second line, like this

public class Class {        <\n>
  int i = 0;         |<\n>

4. Press Ctrl+S

I would expect that the result is (no WS on the first line):

public class Class {<\n>
  int i = 0;         |<\n>

But it is not (WS on the first line remain), result looks like this:

public class Class {        <\n>
  int i = 0;         |<\n>
Comment 34 Vitezslav Stejskal 2008-07-23 10:44:55 UTC
The line with the caret should still be marked as modified after Ctrl+S, if it has been modified before. That way the
trailing WS will get removed next time you save the file (if you move the caret elsewhere). Obviously, even this will
not work when you close/open the file between the two Ctrl+S'. Could you please file a separate P3 defect for this? Thanks
Comment 35 Petr Dvorak 2008-07-23 11:02:56 UTC
OK, I will just copy&paste a part of my previous post...
Comment 36 Jesse Glick 2008-07-23 15:50:36 UTC
joshis' example is a feature as far as I am concerned. Once in a while you might have a good reason to explicitly put a
space at the end of a line. Rare, but it happens. If you want to do this now in 6.5, the only way is to save immediately
after typing the space. If that space were later removed when you made unrelated edits to the file, you would be
fighting against the IDE. So I think the current behavior is correct - reset the list of edited lines at each save.
Comment 37 Petr Dvorak 2008-07-24 08:14:01 UTC
jglick - you are right about the fact it would be impossible to put a whitespace in the end of the line. Though I can't
figure out an example of any rare situation where you need a whitespace in the end of the line (for example if you edit
properties file, you usually put a '\' escaping char as the last char on the line), I believe there might be some.

But we can discuss to what extent the way it (adding WS to the end of line) works now is friendly. What I mean: does it
make some sense that if you want to place a WS in the end of line, you have to save the file while caret is on that
line? What if you want to do this on 2 lines? Should you need two save operations for that? This seems to me like a
pretty much strange/hacky way to do that (unless user knows it, he won't use it as he cannot figure it out). IMO it is
better to turn the feature off if you need WS in the end of the line - much more systematic solution. Maybe the best
would be allow user to turn "Remove WS on the blank line" off and give him a chance to remove WS using some separate

In any case, I think that in spite of a good point made by jglick the current implementation is not correct... Removal
of all whitespaces in the end of the line was the reason why this was implemented, I believe.
Comment 38 Miloslav Metelka 2008-07-28 10:14:54 UTC
BTW regarding an explicit WS removal there is an action Edit->Remove Trailing Whitespace.

A note that I have discussed this in issue 137529 when I was trying to justify - unsuccessfully ;) an "aggressive" WS
Let's treat your example as two (unrelated) bug-fix edits of a particular source. Let's assume the source is stored in a
VCS (first check-in after step 2 and another check-in after step 4) and that each bug-fix modifies a different part of
the source. What I don't like here is that the second commit may contain a WS removal that is logically related to
bug-fix 1.
Comment 39 Petr Dvorak 2008-07-28 10:32:41 UTC
> BTW regarding an explicit WS removal there is an action Edit->Remove Trailing Whitespace.

Very good, I didn't know about this.

> A note that I have discussed this in issue 137529 when I was trying to justify - unsuccessfully ;) an "aggressive" WS

I know - I have read it:)... I see where the problem might be, but IMO it is not too big deal. You will have a few WS
(just a few WS in the end of only one line) removed and it will logically belong to the previous commit - is that a real
problem for someone who wants to check revisions?

I would suggest a "fake aggressive" approach - when user saves file:

1. WS's are removed on EVERY line, containing the line with a cursor
2. Caret does not move (it will potentially remain "after EOL"), as if there were some "fake WS's"
3. If user goes to another line (bellow or above), "fake WS's" will be removed on the "previously current" line
4. If user starts typing, appropriate number of spaces will be inserted instead of "fake WS's"

I know this would be a bit harder to implement, but it can work quite well in the end...

But it is not necessary - currently it works quite fine, I can invoke "Remove Trailing Whitespace" if I desperately
needed to remove all WS (this even cannot be called a "workaround")...
Comment 40 dodger 2008-07-28 13:46:05 UTC
joshis, I think mmetelka mentioned the same idea in bug 137529:

"We could support "virtual caret position" in the future (which would look like the caret is at a particular column but
there would be no corresponding text underneath) but it's not very straightforward to implement such thing with the
Swing text package APIs."

I think it would work quite well, although is it worth all the trouble if you can just hit the tab key once after
saving, if you happen to be on an indented line?

Leaving 'real' whitespace on the current line is incorrect in my opinion.
Comment 41 Petr Dvorak 2008-07-28 15:26:15 UTC
> joshis, I think mmetelka mentioned the same idea in bug 137529: ...

Oh... I am sorry - this is quite embarrassing... I missed this somehow or I didn't read the discussion after the post
was made - I don't like repeating someone's ideas:-/...
Comment 42 johnsi 2008-07-30 14:27:37 UTC
I'd like the option to turn this feature off, I work in an environment where other developers aren't using NetBeans and
their editors don't remove whitespace, so when NetBeans removes the whitespace it produces a lot of spurious diffs in
the version control system.
Comment 43 Miloslav Metelka 2008-07-30 17:01:53 UTC
The option will be added however there should be no spurious diffs unless you've hit an issue 138951 (document reload
marks all lines as modified) which should be fixed already. Could you eventually file an issue describing your usecase
producing spurious diffs? Thanks.
Comment 44 Miloslav Metelka 2008-08-05 10:20:16 UTC
I have realised one unpleasant side effect of the current WS removal implementation. Since the Save operation physically
removes extra whitespace characters from the document it may discard subsequent edits present in undo queue (by creating
new edits for WS removal). Example:
1) do several edits (e.g. 5) to document. Save.
2) Undo last 2 edits. Save.
3) Redo will do nothing since the Save has produced an undo-edit that discarded rest of undo queue.
Side note: the redo problem existed even before WS removal due to issue 21237 but until WS removal it was fixable. With
WS removal the situation would be bad.

It came to my mind that we could possibly keep the WS in the document but let the EditorKit.write() operation to only
write the data without the trailing WS. The accounting of modified regions would stay the same. I like the fact that
besides getting rid of the Redo-after-save problem we would also eliminate WS-must-be-retained-on-line-with-caret
problem in an elegant way.

As usually there may be problems with the proposed approach since the content of document and file on disk may differ.
In fact they may differ even now due to possible '\n' => '\r\n' translation but that's a predictable way that the tools
may simulate.
 If everyone would follow a policy that if there's an opened document for a file then all the data exchange would go
through the document and vice versa then all should be fine.
 However when talking to java guys there's a possibility that:
1. there's an opened document.
2. modifications are done and doc is saved. (file content may now differ from the one in the doc)
3. some tools find out that the doc is unmodified and so they prefer to use the file's content and use integer position.
This would not work correctly unless either working with the document if opened or using line:column references.

In summary I like the idea of kit.write() but I understand this may be a long way to do the necessary changes.
Comment 45 Vitezslav Stejskal 2008-08-21 11:28:11 UTC
*** Issue 72528 has been marked as a duplicate of this issue. ***
Comment 46 Miloslav Metelka 2008-08-26 13:18:20 UTC
A slight improvement (as requested by Jesse) - WS on line containing caret now gets removed if it's behind the caret.
Comment 47 Jesse Glick 2008-08-26 16:30:40 UTC
I have been noticing that this feature does not work reliably. I often create a new file and do a bunch of different
things and finally save, and notice that several lines in the file still have trailing whitespace. I am not yet sure how
to reproduce but if I figure it out of course I will file a bug blocking this one.
Comment 48 Quality Engineering 2008-08-28 06:31:51 UTC
Integrated into 'main-golden', available in build *200808280201* on
User: Miloslav Metelka <>
Log: #13063 - Trailing whitespace removal - WS on line containing caret gets removed if it's behind the caret.
Comment 49 Vitezslav Stejskal 2008-10-01 08:30:51 UTC
*** Issue 148726 has been marked as a duplicate of this issue. ***
Comment 50 cmasupra 2012-08-23 05:30:26 UTC
Whether or not to remove white space should be an option. I recently switched from NetBeans 7.1 to 7.2 and 7.2 removes "trailing whitespace" in blank lines when you highlight code and then do Tab or Shift+Tab (to change the indentation of the selected lines). I personally prefer the way it was done in 7.1 where even the blank lines were indented with the rest of the code.
Comment 51 Miloslav Metelka 2012-08-24 07:24:26 UTC
There's a configurable option in Tools->Options->Editor->General->Remove Trailing Whitespace.
Comment 52 mwitzmann 2013-10-30 09:43:42 UTC
This doesn't work. I just configured it to that, but after saving the file, it has white spaces at the end of the file again. This is fatal because you don't even notice it. And even if you noticed it and you have activated the option to show white spaces you can remove them indeed but after saving... (continue reading at the beginning ;)).
Comment 53 jameshfisher 2014-01-20 13:13:49 UTC
I can confirm that the current option in

    Tools->Options->Editor->General->Remove Trailing Whitespace

does not do anything, as reported by

I am using

    Product Version: NetBeans IDE 7.4 (Build 201310111528)
    Updates: NetBeans IDE is updated to version NetBeans 7.4 Patch 2
    Java: 1.7.0_25; OpenJDK 64-Bit Server VM 23.7-b01
    Runtime: OpenJDK Runtime Environment 1.7.0_25-b30
    System: Linux version 3.8.0-35-generic running on amd64; UTF-8; en_GB (nb)

I have the above setting set to "All Lines" for "All Languages". I have the "Reformat" setting set to "None" for "All Languages".

(If I set "Reformat" to "All Lines", then it does seem to also remove whitespace. However, I just want to remove whitespace, not reformat.)
Comment 54 jameshfisher 2014-01-20 13:14:28 UTC
Marking re-opened, per above comments.
Comment 55 Yankes 2014-03-19 23:08:23 UTC
Will be possible to add option that move cursor to begin of line when he is behind some whitespace characters? (and then remove them too)
Its annoying to remember before save move cursor or delete whitespace characters in current line.
Its happen very often because cursor is always indent to rest of current block of code.
Fixing cursor position after that is faster than removing whitespace characters (one <tab> vs usually 2x<backspace>+<tab> or <up>+<ctr+s>+<down>+<tab> to go back to previous cursor position).

As this will be new options (I suggest new checkbox for that) nobody who like or depend on current behavior will be affected by this.

This will made bug 137529 a optional feature :)
Comment 56 stiffuser 2014-05-16 17:16:11 UTC
As reopened, this is a defect, not an enhancement.
Comment 57 Miloslav Metelka 2014-07-15 12:53:14 UTC
 I can't reproduce the problem on recent development builds when "Reformat" is set to "None" for "All Languages" and "Remove Trailing Whitespace From" is set to either "All Lines" or "Modified Lines Only".
 Please note that the setting is now on Editor->On Save tab.
 If it still would not work for you please reopen the issue (please double check first that the setting for the particular file type is not overriden or it's overriden to the desired setting).

(In reply to Yankes from comment #55)
> Will be possible to add option that move cursor to begin of line when he is
> behind some whitespace characters? (and then remove them too)
This was an initial setup originally but later it was decided that retaining of caret position is more important that WS removal.
Anyway I've added a non-visual startup parameter (possibly see that can be used to remove the WS even on current line:

Comment 58 Quality Engineering 2014-07-17 02:19:00 UTC
Integrated into 'main-silver', will be available in build *201407170001* on (upload may still be in progress)

User: Miloslav Metelka <>
Log: #13063 - Option to remove whitespace at end of line - added non-visual option for WS removal on current line.
Comment 59 Yankes 2014-11-29 12:50:13 UTC
(In reply to Miloslav Metelka from comment #57)
> (In reply to Yankes from comment #55)
> > Will be possible to add option that move cursor to begin of line when he is
> > behind some whitespace characters? (and then remove them too)
> This was an initial setup originally but later it was decided that retaining
> of caret position is more important that WS removal.
> Anyway I've added a non-visual startup parameter (possibly see
> that can be used to remove
> the WS even on current line:
> -J-Dorg.netbeans.editor.remove.whitespace.on.current.line=true

I'm very thankful for that feature! Work exactly like I want.