Q:

How do I make Vi-Vim never use tabs (converting spaces to tabs, bad!), makes the tab key == 4 spaces, and automatically indent code after curly brace blocks like emacs does?

Also, how do I save these settings so I never have to input them again.

I've seen other questions related to this but it always seems to be a little off from what I want.

Ans:

in your .vimrc:

set smartindent set tabstop=4 set shiftwidth=4 set expandtab 

The help files take a bit of time to get used to but the more you read the better vim gets:

:help smartindent 

Even better, you can embed these settings in your source for portability:

:help auto-setting 

To see your current settings:

:set all 

As graywh points out in the comments, smartindent has been replaced by cindent which "Works more cleverly", although still mainly for languages with C-like syntax:

:help C-indenting

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