First of all tabs are not enough to properly format a source file, spaces are necessary, so your size argument goes out the door. Customize? Yeah, that's the problem. I am a 50 year old crusty gray manager of C++ development. When you have 20 developers working on a project, you don't want art, you don't want flair, you want predictable, you want correct, you wanted tested, you want uniformity. When you lose a developer you want to plug the replacement into well designed base so they feel like they don't have to rewrite it. You also want strict indentation (preferably with a tool), 80 column lines, function length limits, include guards, and consistent ordering of declarations in header files and 100 other correctness best practices. My advice. Use the default settings in Emacs, turn off tabs. It's all the IDE you will ever need.