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: Understanding Decimal Tabs.

Understanding Decimal Tabs

Written by Allen Wyatt (last updated September 17, 2021)
This tip applies to Word 97, 2000, 2002, and 2003


Word offers several types of tab stop alignment that you can use. One of those types is a decimal tab. If a tab stop has been designated as a decimal tab, then text is aligned according to a decimal point or period in the text. As you have probably already ascertained, decimal tabs are used most frequently to align columns of numbers. You can use them, however, to align anything that contains a period. If the text does not contain a period, it is right-aligned to the tab stop. If the text contains two periods, it is aligned based on the first period.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (1182) 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: Understanding Decimal Tabs.

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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