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: Using Leaders with Tab Stops.

Using Leaders with Tab Stops

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated June 3, 2015)

You probably already know how to insert tab stops in a paragraph. Word allows you to control what characters are inserted in the otherwise blank area created by the tab. These characters are called leaders, and are controlled with the Tabs command from the Format menu. Leaders are often used with right-aligned tabs or decimal tabs, particularly when the text column is quite wide and the tab will cover a wide area. To use leaders with tab stops, follow these steps:

  1. Position the insertion point in the paragraph whose tabs you wish to set or alter.
  2. Select the Tabs option from the Format menu. Word displays the Tabs dialog box. (See Figure 1.)
  3. Figure 1. The Tabs dialog box.

  4. Enter a tab stop measurement and alignment. (You can also select the measurement of an existing tab stop, if desired.)
  5. Select a leader from the four choices offered.
  6. Click on Set.
  7. Repeat steps 3 through 5 for each tab stop you want to set.
  8. Click on OK.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (1034) 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: Using Leaders with 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. ...

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