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: Removing Tabs Used to Indent a Paragraph.

Removing Tabs Used to Indent a Paragraph

Written by Allen Wyatt (last updated May 10, 2021)
This tip applies to Word 97, 2000, 2002, and 2003


If you frequently convert documents from a different word processor to Word, there is a good chance you must remove tabs inserted at the beginning of paragraphs. Some word processors require tabs in order to indent the first line of a paragraph; Word does not.

About the only way to remove the unnecessary tabs is to go to the beginning of each of the paragraphs and press the Del key. You could, however, use the Replace option from the Edit menu in order to search for tabs and remove them. (Actually, you would search for a paragraph mark followed by a tab; this would then be replaced with a paragraph mark, thereby deleting the tab.)

A quicker way to take care of this problem is to develop a macro to do it for you. The following macro, TabsOut, searches for any hard return/tab combinations in your document (or your selected text) and removes the tab.

Sub TabsOut()
    If Selection.Type <> wdNoSelection Then
        Selection.HomeKey Unit:=wdStory, Extend:=wdMove
    End If
    Selection.Find.ClearFormatting
    Selection.Find.Replacement.ClearFormatting
    With Selection.Find
        .Text = "^p^t"
        .Replacement.Text = "^p"
        .Forward = True
        .Wrap = wdFindContinue
        .Format = False
    End With
    Selection.Find.Execute Replace:=wdReplaceAll
End Sub

Note:

If you would like to know how to use the macros described on this page (or on any other page on the WordTips sites), I've prepared a special page that includes helpful information. Click here to open that special page in a new browser tab.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (1174) 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: Removing Tabs Used to Indent a Paragraph.

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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