I can’t figure out how to make a column list align like this
(underscore = space):


The closest result that the formatter produces is:

___FROM table

where all column names start at text position 3...

My answer isn’t going to be perfect, but it’s going to get the questioner, and you, very close to what you’re looking for.

Set These Formatter Preferences


One comma per line. Line break before a comma. No line break after a comma.


Align on commas.


Indent 7 spaces.

Before Format

Hard to read
Hard to read

After Format

Easier to read
Easier to read

Is this perfect?

No. You’ll notice we’re hard coding the indentation point. So if your SELECT starts with a comment or hint, it won’t align exactly. But again, I’m trying to save you time based on what we have in the formatter today. Tomorrow, it would be ideal for the parser to supply the formatter the exact column position for alignment…stay tuned.

In version 4.1, you’ll have a bit easier time mass-tabbing columns in your text as well…

Multi-cursor support in version 4.1 #SneakPeek
Multi-cursor support in version 4.1 #SneakPeek

I'm a Distinguished Product Manager at Oracle. My mission is to help you and your company be more efficient with our database tools.


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  6. Hi Jeff,

    I searched your site for while now but couldn’t find what I was looking for.
    So here is my question: Is there a tag that lets me exclude parts of the code from being formatted?

    For example:

    some code
    — NoFormat Start
    some code which I format myself
    — NoFormat End
    rest of the code

  7. Yeah, hard-coded indentation… I remember I asked you a similar question, and after expermenting further I got to same solution… but alas, the indentation works the same for PL/SQL, and indenting every block with 7 spaces is NOT PRETTY, so I had to give up on that and still format everything manually. Well, there’s a plus side – it looks super-tidy when done by hand.

    As for multi-cursor – wow. No, WOW. That’s REALLY awesome, for me it’s on par with regular expression support in terms of usablilty as a code editor. What’s the key combination for doing that will be, alt+click? And I take it, it’ll be possible to move all cursors at the same time with arrows/home/end buttons and type not only spaces, but anything?

    • ctrl+shift+click to add a new cursor, yes you can type/whatever vs just spacing stuff out 🙂

  8. Multi-cursor, sweet! That’s one of my top go-to features in Notepad++. If SQL Developer is getting it too, then that’s a huge step forward. Is star expansion a current feature I’ve somehow missed or is that also new goodness to yet to come?

    • The star expansion has been in version 4 for awhile…look for the squiggle. Mouse over it..wait, then click on the bubble to expand the list.

    • I am using v. but could not do the star expansion. I do not the squiggle. Is there an option that I need to enable in the Preferences? Thanks.

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