Is it possible for less output to set the tab width to a number X as it is for cat?
expand -4 residuum.txt
Yes, it is possible with less -x or less --tabs, e.g. less -x4 will set the tabwidth to 4.
The less-specific answer has already been given, but a generic solution (for any pager) is to expand the tabs (with space characters) with the expand command before feeding to the pager:
expand -t4 file | pager
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4 months ago