I want to make emacs insert either 4 spaces or a tab when I press the tab key. Nothing else. I don't want smart indentation, I don't want it to auto-align itself or try to do anything smart. I just want it to output 4 spaces (or a tab). =
The problem is that each mode in emacs defines the TAB key diferently. To get a global behavior, look at Trey Jackson's answer in https://stackoverflow.com/questions/344966/sane-tab-in-emacs
(defvar just-tab-keymap (make-sparse-keymap) "Keymap for just-tab-mode") (define-minor-mode just-tab-mode "Just want the TAB key to be a TAB" :global t :lighter " TAB" :init-value 0 :keymap just-tab-keymap (define-key just-tab-keymap (kbd "TAB") 'indent-for-tab-command))
You may want to use
'self-insert-command instead of
'indent-for-tab-command as pointed out by another person answering the question.