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: Adding Tabs at the Beginning of a Line.

Adding Tabs at the Beginning of a Line

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated September 14, 2013)

One of the annoying features of Word is that the program assumes that if you press the Tab key at the beginning of a line, you want to indent the line. The program then proceeds to adjust the left margin by the distance of a normal tab stop. While this can be helpful in some circumstances, I can think of many times when I really want the tab character inserted in the document instead of adjusting margin information.

If you want to make sure that Word inserts a tab character, simply press Ctrl+Tab. This will work any time in Word, but is of the most use at the beginning of lines. As an alternative, you can turn off the indent feature completely by following these steps in Word 2002 or Word 2003:

  1. Choose AutoCorrect Options from the Tools menu. Word displays the AutoCorrect dialog box.
  2. Click on the AutoFormat As You Type tab. (See Figure 1.)
  3. Figure 1. The AutoFormat As You Type tab of the AutoCorrect dialog box.

  4. Make sure that the Set Left- and First-Indent with Tabs and Backspaces check box is not selected.
  5. Click on OK.

If you are using Word 97 and Word 2000 you should follow these steps:

  1. Choose Options from the Tools menu. Word displays the Options dialog box.
  2. Click on the Edit tab.
  3. Make sure that the Tabs and Backspace Set Left Indent check box is not selected.
  4. 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 (1075) 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: Adding Tabs at the Beginning of a Line.

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

Deleting an AutoText Entry

At some point you may want to delete an AutoText entry you previously created. Here are the steps to follow.

Discover More

Automatically Changing References to VBA Libraries

VBA libraries are used to provide some functions to your macros. These libraries are often tied to the version of Excel you ...

Discover More

Adding a Toolbar to the Taskbar

Normally the taskbar is used to display icons for currently running programs on your system. Here's how you can go beyond ...

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)

Keep with Previous

Word allows you to format a paragraph so that it is on the same page as whatever paragraph follows it. You may want, however, ...

Discover More

Stubborn Phantom Paragraphs

When converting documents from WordPerfect to Word, you may run into a problem with what the conversion produces. If you have ...

Discover More

Resetting Paragraph Formatting

Tired of the formatting used in a paragraph? One way to "start over" is to make sure that the formatting is reset to its ...

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. 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 four less than 6?

There are currently no comments for this tip. (Be the first to leave your comment—just use the simple form above!)


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.