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: Replacing Multiple Spaces with Tabs.

Replacing Multiple Spaces with Tabs

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated January 30, 2018)

4

You may receive a document from someone that uses multiple spaces to separate items on a line. This is typically done when a person wants to format tabular material, and separates columns using spaces. You can find this quite a bit in information downloaded from the Web.

If you are starting with a source document in this condition, you may be wondering how you can replace all the consecutive spaces with a single tab character. It is possible to go through multiple search-and-replace operations to achieve the desired goal, but there is a quicker way. You can replace any number of consecutive spaces with a single tab character by following these steps:

  1. Press Ctrl+H. Word displays the Replace tab of the Find and Replace dialog box.
  2. Click on the More button if it is available. (See Figure 1.)
  3. Figure 1. The Replace tab of the Find and Replace dialog box.

  4. In the Find What box, enter a single space followed by the characters {2,}. (Type only the left brace, the number 2, the comma, and the right brace.)
  5. In the Replace With box, type ^t.
  6. Make sure the Use Wildcards check box is selected.
  7. Click on Replace All.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (851) 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: Replacing Multiple Spaces with Tabs.

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

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, ...

Discover More

Finding Changes by Editor

Creating a Macro to find changes made by different editors.

Discover More

Creating Tent Cards

If you are planning a dinner party or a meeting where guests need to be seated at tables, you may want to create tent ...

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)

Understanding Pattern Matching

Pattern matching is a type of searching you can do in Word that is very powerful. Despite its power, it remains rather ...

Discover More

Formatting Partial Results of a Search

The Find and Replace capabilities of Word are, simply, quite astounding. This is particularly true when using wildcard ...

Discover More

Replacing Spaces in Part Numbers with Dashes

Word has a power capability to search for information and then replace that information in some way. Finding the right ...

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 6Mpixels. 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 8 + 2?

2018-08-13 20:14:05

Ronald C Johnston

I have a question concerning whether the following problem can be solved using Word 2016. I have a large document with scattered lines throughout formatted like this:

tab1 tab2 ...tabm x1 x2 ... xj tab1 tab2...tabn x1 x2...xk .

Each line begins with 'm' tabs, followed immediately by arbitrary text of length 'j', followed immediately by 'n' tabs, followed immediately by arbitrary text of length 'k'. The latter text (the text of length 'k') wraps around to the next line (in its entirety) on each formatted line. The parameters m,n,j ,k vary from one formatted line to the next. No line in the document begins with a tab other than lines formatted as above.

The problem is this: For a given character size and page width, reduce the number of tabs on each line so that (1) the text 'x1x2...xk' does not wrap around, (2) the number of tabs appearing at the beginning of the line (i.e., m ) differs from the latter number (i.e., n) as follows: either n=m or 0<m-n<2, and (3) the total number of tabs is maximal, meaning n+m cannot be increased without wraparound occurring. Any suggestions?


2015-02-06 02:20:53

Dhinesh

Thanks for your information.working good


2014-11-02 10:54:01

kirill

oops, does not work, not for mac, at least :(


2013-09-09 08:15:07

Richard Laycock

Very helpful. I should have looked this up years ago.

BTW, I would have subscribed but your site failed to let me "Fields were missing..." I imagine you're scanning for personal info or setting ad links my Hosts file disables. If you weren't so snoopy my subscription would have worked. You should reconsider your privacy policies.


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.