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: Selecting Tabs in Dialog Boxes.

Selecting Tabs in Dialog Boxes

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated January 1, 2011)

This definitely isn't a Word-only tip, but it can come in handy if you simply don't want to remove your hands from the keyboard. Many of the dialog boxes used in Word (and other Windows programs) utilize the concept of tabs. These look like index cards within the dialog box, and are used to organize what could otherwise be a very cluttered presentation of information. A good example of a Word dialog box that uses tabs is when you choose Options from the Tools menu.

If you want to move from one tab to another, the typical way of doing this is by using the mouse. You can, instead, use the keyboard. To move forward through the available tabs, simply press Ctrl+Tab. To move backwards, use Shift+Ctrl+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 (1228) 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: Selecting Tabs in Dialog Boxes.

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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