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: Clearing All Tabs in a Document.

Clearing All Tabs in a Document

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated November 12, 2015)

4

If you received a document from someone else, you may be charged with the responsibility to format the document. One of the first steps you may want to take is to remove all the tab stops in the document, thereby returning all paragraphs to their "pristine" state where only default tabs are in place.

If you want to remove all the tabs stops in a document, the quick way is to follow these steps:

  1. Press Ctrl+A. This shortcut selects the entire document.
  2. Select the Tabs option from the Format menu. Word display the Tabs dialog box. (See Figure 1.)
  3. Figure 1. The Tabs dialog box.

  4. Click on the Clear All button.
  5. Click on OK.

That's it. You can now go through the document, on a paragraph-by-paragraph basis, and set any tab stops desired.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (1427) 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: Clearing All Tabs in a Document.

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

Quickly Customizing the Keyboard

Want a quick way to change the shortcut key associated with a tool available on a ribbon, toolbar, or menu? Here's one ...

Discover More

Canceling an Edit

When editing a cell, you may want to cancel the edit at some point. There are two ways to do this, both described in this ...

Discover More

Finding Other Instances of Excel in a Macro

When processing information using a macro, you may need to know if there are any other instances of Excel running on a ...

Discover More

Do More in Less Time! Are you ready to harness the full power of Word 2013 to create professional documents? In this comprehensive guide you'll learn the skills and techniques for efficiently building the documents you need for your professional and your personal life. Check out Word 2013 In Depth today!

More WordTips (menu)

Understanding Hyphens and Dashes

Word provides you with three types of hyphens and two types of dashes that you can use in your documents. Understanding ...

Discover More

Inserting Foreign Characters

It is not unusual to need to insert foreign characters (often called diacritical marks) as part of your typing. Word ...

Discover More

Controlling Overtype Mode

Some people like to have Word replace previous information as they type; this is called "overtype mode." You can control ...

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. Maximum image size is 6Mpixels. 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 five more than 4?

2014-03-25 07:56:00

Sue Brown

I had some trouble with these directions until I figured out that the best way to change formatting of this type is to elect to strip all formatting.

Once all the dang tabs are gone, you can replace them by using "special" choice and setting the tab stop you want.

Take care when doing this as you may lose other formatting. Unfortunately, I also discovered that some of the formatting I wanted to remove had remained, and I needed to remove each bit individually.

This is almost a nuclear option, so be careful.


2013-10-03 11:37:03

Janene

Denise, I found it. Ctrl + A to select the entire doc. Home tab, Paragraph drop menu, in the Indent section, click Special and choose None.

Success!


2013-01-17 15:33:22

awyatt

There are two things at play here, Denise: default tabs and explicit tabs.

If you want to change the default tab stops, you can use this tip:

http://word.tips.net/T000632

Default tab stops are good when you want them, say, every .75 inches or some other regular increment. If you want to set irregular tab increments (or different types of tab stops) for the entire document, it is best to change the tab stops for the Normal paragraph style. This will then, typically, apply to the entire document.

-Allen


2013-01-17 15:20:00

Denise

OK, I know Word pretty well, but this ONE thing drives me nuts.
How do you set new tabs, or change the tabs, for the WHOLE DOCUMENT!!!
I know how to do it on a line-by-line basis, but you have to do it for each line!
Hitting Control A, for "All" does not work.

I changed the size of a document and need to reset the tabs for the WHOLE document.

I've worked with Word for YEARS, I am an legal secretary, and I cannot for the life of me find an answer to this.


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.