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 Displaying the Tabs Dialog Box.

Quickly Displaying the Tabs Dialog Box

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated September 7, 2013)


A handy shortcut to quickly display the Tabs dialog box (See Figure 1.) is to double-click on the ruler just below the markings appearing there. Make sure you double-click at the bottom of the ruler, not at the top. (If you double-click at the top, the Page Setup dialog box appears.)

Figure 1. The Tabs dialog box.

You should note that when you double-click on the ruler, you may also inadvertently set a tab stop. If you want to delete the newly placed tab stop, you can do so at the Tabs dialog box.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (994) 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 Displaying the Tabs Dialog Box.

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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What is five less than 8?

2016-04-28 15:32:52

Steve Wells

With just about any version of Word of the past 15 years, to set a paragraph (or multiple paragraphs) to be right-aligned (that is, flush right), right-click within the paragraph (or selection of paragraphs.) In the context menu that appears, click Paragraph to open the Paragraph dialog box where you can set alignment, indentations, spacing, line and page breaks, tabs, and so forth.

2016-04-27 12:09:08


Rick: If you don't have a Format menu, then you probably aren't using a version of Word that this tip is designed for. See the information at the beginning and end of the tip for a link to a tip that should work for you.


2016-04-27 11:56:30

Rick Rice

I want to flush right. I cannot double click under the ruler because it won't let you do that at the right margin. So I'm supposed to go to the Format Menu? THERE IS NO FORMAT MENU!!

Why can't we all just go back to WordPerfect?

2015-06-14 17:10:20

Steve Wells

I can't add a graphic image to a comment, but anyone who'd like to recreate my Tab toolbar button can click my name to send me an email. I can email you back a simple graphic that shows how to draw the button that I created. It is very easy.

2015-06-13 20:57:07

Rick M

Very helpful, many thanks.

2013-09-07 05:30:41

Steve Wells

The absence of a tab button on the standard toolbar probably hinders the average user from discovering how tabs really work. Many users treat tabs like some oddly behaved giant spacebar.

I place the built in Tab toolbar button onto a toolbar, and don't have to worry about accidentally setting a tab or invoking page setup. The button doesn't have a button image associated with it, so I created a nice icon for it that makes its purpose unmistakable.

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