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: Changing Default Tab Stops.

Changing Default Tab Stops

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated August 17, 2013)

2

Normally, Word assumes that when you press this Tab key in a paragraph that you want to move the insertion point to the next half inch. This assumes, of course, that you have not set any tabs for the current paragraph. If you want to change the default tab stops for a document, you can do so as follows:

  1. Choose Tabs from the Format menu. Word displays the Tabs dialog box. (See Figure 1.)
  2. Figure 1. The Tabs dialog box.

  3. Change the value in the Default Tab Stops control. You can change it in .01-inch increments, from 0.01 inches to 22 inches.
  4. Click on OK.

Remember that the change you make affects the current document and only those paragraphs that don't have any explicit tab stops set.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (632) 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: Changing Default Tab Stops.

Author Bio

Allen Wyatt

With more than 50 non-fiction books and numerous magazine articles to his credit, Allen Wyatt is an internationally recognized author. He  is president of Sharon Parq Associates, a computer and publishing services company. ...

MORE FROM ALLEN

Changing Chart Size

Place a chart on a worksheet and you may not be satisfied with its size. Changing the size of a chart is a simple process ...

Discover More

Maintaining Text Formatting in a Lookup

Want to maintain the formatting used in one cell when you use formulas to reference that text in another cell? The answer is ...

Discover More

Searching for Text with a Certain Format

The Find and Replace tool in Word is very powerful. You can use it to search not only for text but for the formatting that ...

Discover More

The First and Last Word on Word! Bestselling For Dummies author Dan Gookin puts his usual fun and friendly candor back to work to show you how to navigate Word 2013. Spend more time working and less time trying to figure it all out! Check out Word 2013 For Dummies today!

More WordTips (menu)

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.

Discover More

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 ...

Discover More

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 ...

Discover More
Subscribe

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

View most recent newsletter.

Comments

If you would like to add an image to your comment (not an avatar, but an image to help in making the point of your comment), include the characters [{fig}] in your comment text. You’ll be prompted to upload your image when you submit the comment. Maximum image size is 8Mpixels. Images larger than 600px wide or 1000px tall will be reduced. Up to three images may be included in a comment. All images are subject to review. Commenting privileges may be curtailed if inappropriate images are posted.

What is three more than 5?

2017-01-16 06:56:31

Alison M

Need to know how to set default tabs for all documents - not just this one. Cannot seem to do this via New->Blank document->set desired tabs and exit.


2015-09-22 07:00:10

Alison

I have a block of text with short items separated only by spaces (typically 5 per line). I am trying to replace all spaces with tabs. In principle this is simple to do: find/replace all " " with "^t" (omitting quote marks).

I have cleared all tabs in my document and set the default tab size to 0.5cm. The above procedure 'works' but the tabs that are introduced are variable in size, some very large.

My expectation is that 'replace all' will do the substitution on a line-by-line basis, replacing all tabs on that line with the tabs I've set - in this case all 0.5cm.

What am I doing wrong? Thanks..


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.

Newest Tips
Subscribe

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.