The configuration option column.ui is very poorly documented, and it is
unclear what the defaults are, and what option can be combined with
what.  Rewrite it by splitting up the options into three sections
clearly showing how COL_ENABLED, COL_LAYOUT_MASK, and COL_DENSE work.

Signed-off-by: Ramkumar Ramachandra <>
 Documentation/config.txt | 20 +++++++++++++++++---
 1 file changed, 17 insertions(+), 3 deletions(-)

diff --git a/Documentation/config.txt b/Documentation/config.txt
index 1153585..5a10169 100644
--- a/Documentation/config.txt
+++ b/Documentation/config.txt
@@ -934,6 +934,9 @@ column.ui::
        This variable consists of a list of tokens separated by spaces
        or commas:
+These three options control when the feature should be enabled
+(defaults to 'never'):
        always show in columns
@@ -941,19 +944,30 @@ column.ui::
        never show in columns
        show in columns if the output is to the terminal
+These three options control layout (defaults to 'column').  Setting
+layout implies 'always' if none of 'always', 'never', or 'auto' are
-       fill columns before rows (default)
+       fill columns before rows
        fill rows before columns
        show in one column
+Finally, these options can be combined with a layout option (defaults
+to 'nodense'):
        make unequal size columns to utilize more space
        make equal size columns
-This option defaults to 'never'.
        Specify whether to output branch listing in `git branch` in columns.

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