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Setting Decimal Tabs in a Table Using the Keyboard

Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Word versions: 97, 2000, 2002, and 2003. If you are using a later version (Word 2007 or later), this tip may not work for you. For a version of this tip written specifically for later versions of Word, click here: Setting Decimal Tabs in a Table Using the Keyboard.

If you love using the keyboard, you may wonder if there is a way to set decimal tabs in a table using the keyboard. Unfortunately, there is no simple, fast keystroke to set the decimal tabs. The best way is to use the regular accelerator keys that Word uses. You would follow these steps:

  1. If you want to set the tab stop in each cell of the current table, press Alt+A, C (Word 97) or Alt+A, C, T (later versions of Word). This selects the table.
  2. Press Alt+O, T. This displays the Tabs dialog box. (See Figure 1.)
  3. Figure 1. The Tabs dialog box.

  4. Type the measurement for where the tab should appear.
  5. Press Alt+D to indicate this is a decimal tab.
  6. Press Alt+S to set the tab.
  7. Press Enter to dismiss the Tabs dialog box.

If you would rather not go through such an easy-to-remember process (grin), then you can also create a macro that will do the trick, and assign the macro to a shortcut key. The following is an example of a simple VBA macro that would do the job:

Sub SetDecimal()
    Dim MyTab As String

    MyTab = InputBox("Location (inches):", "Set Decimal Tab")
    If Val(MyTab) > 0 Then
        With Selection.ParagraphFormat.TabStops
            .Add Position:=InchesToPoints(Val(MyTab)), _
                Alignment:=wdAlignTabDecimal, _
        End With
    End If
End Sub

This macro, which should be run after the cell or column is selected, clears all the existing tabs in the selection, and then prompts the user to enter a value for the new tab stop.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (1912) applies to Microsoft Word 97, 2000, 2002, and 2003. You can find a version of this tip for the ribbon interface of Word (Word 2007 and later) here: Setting Decimal Tabs in a Table Using the Keyboard.

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