Tabs and Tab Stops

Tips, Tricks, and Answers

The following articles are available for the 'Tabs and Tab Stops' topic. Click the article''s title (shown in bold) to see the associated article.

   Accurately Setting Tabs Using the Ruler
If you try to set tabs by clicking on the Ruler, you may not be able to set them exactly where you want. This is normally due to a setting used for aligning graphics, but you can easily change it.

   Adding Tabs at the Beginning of a Line
Press a tab at the beginning of a paragraph, and Word normally assumes you want to indent the paragraph. If you don't like Word second-guessing what you are typing, here's how to turn off that annoying feature.

   Aligning Decimal Numbers in Tables
Need to align numbers around their decimal point within a table? It's easy to do by using the three simple steps provided in this tip.

   Aligning Plus/Minus Symbols
Scientific writing often involves the use of special symbols, such as the plus/minus symbol. If you want to align these symbols within a table, there are a couple of techniques you can use.

   Aligning Text on a Specific Character
Want to use tab stops to align text according to the position of a certain character? It's easy to do if that character is a decimal point (period) but can also be done for many other characters.

   Automatically Changing Tab Stops in the Footer
If you use a tab stop in your footer to align information at the right margin, you may not get what you expect when you later adjust the right margin. Here's why that happens and what you can do about it.

   Automatically Setting Right Leader Tabs
If you have a constant need to define tabs at the edge of the right margin, you'll love the macro-based technique provided in this tip. You can, just by running the macro, set the requisite tab and include either dot or underscore leaders for the tab.

   Changing Default Tab Stops
If you don't explicitly set tab stops in a paragraph, Word relies upon a default tab stop distance. You can adjust that distance by applying the information in this tip.

   Changing Tabs Using the Ruler
Need to adjust the position of tab stops in a paragraph? One simple way to do it is to just drag them around on the ruler.

   Clearing All Tab Stops
Tab stops allow you to modify the horizontal position at which text is positioned on a line. If you want to get rid of all the tab stops that may be set for a particular paragraph, it's easy to do using the technique in this tip.

   Clearing All Tabs in a Document
Need to get rid of all the tab stops in a particular document? It's easy to do when you apply the technique outlined in this tip.

   Deleting All Tab Stops
Tab stops can be helpful when you want to align text within a paragraph. However, you might also want an easy way to get rid of all the tab stops in a document. Here's the quick way to do it.

   Deleting Tab Stops
Need to delete some tabs tops in a paragraph? It's easy to do using the Tabs dialog box, as described in this tip.

   Entering Tabs in a Table
When press the Tab key while entering info into a table, Word dutifully moves to the next table cell. If you don't want to do this, but instead want to add the Tab into a cell, you'll appreciate the techniques in this tip.

   Flush Left and Flush Right On the Same Line
Need to have some text at the left margin and some at the right, all on the same line? It's easy to do if you use your tab stops creatively. Here's how to do the proper formatting.

   Indenting a Paragraph to the Next Tab Stop
Need to indent an entire paragraph from the left margin? It's easy to do using the tool described in this tip.

   Misbehaving Leader Dots
Leader dots can be a great formatting "flourish" to use in your documents. If the leader dots don't print out correctly, however, it can be confusing as to where the problem is originating.

   Numbering Equations
Word allows you to easily number a variety of elements in your document. Not so with equations; there is no automatic numbering feature for them. You can use other tools in the program to get your number to appear just as you want it to, as highlighted in this tip.

   Precisely Adjusting Tab Stops
When you need to be very specific about where a tab stop is located, you'll want to become familiar with the Tabs dialog box. This tip explains how you can use the dialog box to change the positioning of existing tab stops.

   Quickly Changing Tab Alignment
Need to change the alignment of some tabs in a multitude of paragraphs? How you approach the problem depends on whether those paragraphs are formatted using styles or not.

   Quickly Displaying the Tabs Dialog Box
Setting tabs in a paragraph is a common task. This is most easily done by using the Tabs dialog box. Displaying the dialog box is most easily done by using the technique in this tip.

   Removing Tabs Used to Indent a Paragraph
You get a document from a colleague and you notice that each paragraph starts with a tab character. Here are a couple of ways to get rid of those extraneous tabs very easily.

   Replacing Multiple Spaces with Tabs
If you get a document or some text that has multiple consecutive spaces used to align information, you'll undoubtedly be looking for a quick way to replace those spaces with tabs. Here's the absolute fastest way to do the replacing.

   Searching for Tabs
Tabs don't normally show up in your printed document, but Word allows you to still search for them. All you need to do is use the special code (^t) recognized by Word as a tab character. This tip explains how to utilize that code when searching.

   Setting Decimal Tabs in a Table Using the Keyboard
Most people use the mouse to set tab stops in the paragraphs in a table. If you prefer to not use the mouse, then you'll be interested in the techniques for keyboard tab setting, as described in this tip.

   Setting Tab Stops Using the Tabs Dialog Box
Aligning different lines in your document is easy. Using the tab stops feature in Word, you can set four different types of tab stops. Here's how.

   Sorting Tabular Tables
Some people like to format simple tables using tabs instead of using Word's table editor. When it comes time to sort such tables, here are the steps you need to follow.

   Understanding Decimal Tabs
Word offers a variety of tabs that define different ways to align text. If you need to align numeric values, you'll become quite familiar with the decimal tab, described in this tip.

   Understanding Default Tab Stops
Ever wonder how Word determines the default setting for each tab stop in your document? This article should satisfy any questions you might have.

   Using Dot Leaders in a Paragraph
Adding dot leaders to your text is easy through the application of tab stops. This tip explains the steps you need to follow to add those dot leaders to your paragraphs.

   Using Leaders with Tab Stops
Tab stops allow you to modify the horizontal position at which text is positioned on a line. Word allows you to preface the tabbed position of your text with a "leader character" of your choosing.

   Vertical Lines in Word
Lines can help to organize the data on a page or make certain points clearer. Word provides several different ways you can add vertical lines to your page layout.

This Site

Got a version of Word that uses the menu interface (Word 97, Word 2000, Word 2002, or Word 2003)? This site is for you! If you use a later version of Word, visit our WordTips site focusing on the ribbon interface.


FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in WordTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

(Your e-mail address is not shared with anyone, ever.)

View the most recent newsletter.