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: Quickly Changing Tab Alignment.

Quickly Changing Tab Alignment

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated August 25, 2017)

3

Word allows you to insert tabs of all types in your paragraphs. If you use styles, changing the alignment of tab stops in a particular type of paragraph is very easy. It can be more difficult if you use explicit (non-style) formatting, however.

For instance, let's say you have a hundred different paragraphs in your document, and each of them has a left-aligned tab stop at 2.25 inches. What if you want to change that tab stop so it is centered instead? Well, you could select each paragraph and manually make the change, or you could follow these steps:

  1. Press Ctrl+H. Word displays the Replace tab of the Find and Replace dialog box. (See Figure 1.)
  2. Figure 1. The Replace tab of the Find and Replace dialog box.

  3. Make sure the insertion point is in the Find What box and that it contains no text.
  4. Click on the Format button. (You may need to click on More before you can see the Format button.) Word displays a list of format options.
  5. Choose Tabs from the options presented. Word displays the Find Tabs dialog box. (See Figure 2.)
  6. Figure 2. The Find Tabs dialog box.

  7. In the Tab Stop Position dialog box, type 2.25.
  8. Click on Set.
  9. Click on OK. The text Tabs: 2.25" now appears below the Find What box.
  10. Move the insertion point to the Replace With box and make sure it contains no text.
  11. Click on the Format button. Word displays a list of format options.
  12. Choose Tabs from the options presented. Word displays the Replace Tabs dialog box. (See Figure 3.)
  13. Figure 3. The Replace Tabs dialog box.

  14. In the Tab Stop Position dialog box, type 2.25.
  15. In the Alignment area, choose Center.
  16. Click on Set.
  17. Click on OK. The text Tabs: 2.25" Centered now appears below the Replace With box.
  18. 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 (855) 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: Quickly Changing Tab Alignment.

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. ...

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Comments

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What is nine more than 9?

2012-07-28 15:13:20

awyatt

Martin,

You really should get a membership to Tips.Net. It allows you several printing options and control over where figures are printed. You can even export to RTF so you can put the tips into Word, if you want.

Just click "Become a Member" at the upper-right of any page.

-Allen


2012-07-28 13:53:36

martin

Is it possible to put a "Print friendly" button on a tip.


2012-07-28 06:36:24

csr

Neat idea for combining with knowledge of styles.
Styles are useful for positioning text consistently in addition to the appearance of text and of course TABS are part of how a document page appears.
When trying to figure out where a tab stop appears it is useful to recognise that Word has a default setting for all tab stops on a line (identical spacing multiple times within a line e.g. 36pt).
In addition manual TABS can be entered at any point and sometimes it is difficult to see the exact position of the TAB positions on the ruler bar.
If one carefully and slowly positions the cursor close to the bottom of the ruler bar, eventually a pop up will appear offering to close/hide the white space between the text lines and the ruler bar. Clicking it helps the eye locate the exact position on the ruler bar of where the cursor is positioned. Once "counted" along the ruler bar to the cursor position enables the correct number to be put into the Tab dialogue box (where it permits extra manual inserted tab positions)
Helps me with my old eyesight position correctly first time without constant returns to the dialogue box til I get it right


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