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Using Tab Stops in Word- Instructions

by / Friday, 03 November 2017 / Published in Latest, Microsoft, Office 2013, Office 2016, Office 365, Word 2013, Word 2016

Using Tab Stops in Word: Overview

            This tutorial examines creating and using tab stops in Word documents. Using tab stops in Word helps you create organized lists in Word documents. For example, suppose you had to create a document that lists the names of people in your company. Assume you also need to show within which department they work. In this case, it may be helpful to create a document that contains two columns of information. One column contains the names of the people and another column contains the names of the departments. Using tabs stops in Word lets you easily accomplish this type of task.

            Many users often insert tabs into Word documents before writing the document’s text. Tabs can also change from paragraph to paragraph within a single document. Each paragraph, which may be no longer than a single line of text, can have its own unique set of tab stops. So, in summary, you do not need to place tabs in a strictly uniform way throughout a document.

            Before adding tab stops to a paragraph in a document, ensure the ruler is enabled. After the ruler is turned on, you can see the tab stop toggle button at the left end of the horizontal ruler. It is called a “toggle” button because when you click the button, you toggle between the various types of available tabs. The “Left,” “Center,” “Right,” “Decimal,” and “Bar” tabs are the types of available tabs.

Using Tab Stops in Word- Instructions: A picture of a document showing the different types of tabs stops in Word.

Using Tab Stops in Word- Instructions: A picture of a document showing the different types of tabs stops in Word.

            To insert a tab stop, click into the paragraph where you will type the text. Alternatively, select existing lines of text to which to add tab stops. Then click the tab stop button in the horizontal ruler until its face displays the type of tab stop to insert.

            To learn which tab stop type is currently selected, hold your mouse pointer over the tab stop toggle button. A screen tip then appears that shows the name of the tab stop type. If you click the button to change the tab stop type, then move your cursor away and back over the button again to show the name of the new tab stop type.

            Next, click into the horizontal ruler at the position at which to place a tab stop of the currently selected type. The type of tab stop you insert affects the way text aligns when entering text after pressing the “Tab” key on the keyboard to arrive at the tab stop. Left tabs left-align adjacent text, right tabs right-align adjacent text, center tabs center-align adjacent text, and decimal tabs align numbers by their decimal points. The bar tab, often used in conjunction with the other tabs, draws a vertical bar wherever you place it within the ruler. It does not affect the alignment of text or act as a tab stop. It is purely for aesthetics.

            To remove a tab stop, click into the paragraph to change. Alternatively, select the paragraphs with the same tabs stops to change. Next, click and drag the tab stop to remove from the horizontal ruler and drop it into the document area. To reposition tab stops within the horizontal ruler, click and drag the small black tab stop icons in the ruler. Then release them in a new ruler location.

            If you set tab stops for a paragraph, then when you press the “Enter” key on your keyboard to create a new paragraph, the tab stops you created for the previous paragraph continue to the next paragraph. If you no longer want to have the same tabs stops, you must remove them from the new paragraph.

            After adding tab stops to a new paragraph, press the “Tab” key on your keyboard to indent the line to the tab stop. Any text you then type aligns itself using the alignment of the tab stop type.

Using Tab Stops in Word: Instructions

  1. To insert a tab stop, ensure you have the ruler enabled.
  2. Click into the paragraph where want to place the tab stop.
  3. Alternatively, select the paragraphs to which to add tab stops.
  4. Click the tab stop button in the horizontal ruler until its face displays the type of tab stop to insert.
  5. Click at the position within the horizontal ruler at which to place the type of tab stop.
  6. Repeat steps 4 and 5 until you have placed all the tab stops for the paragraphs onto the horizontal ruler.
  7. To remove a tab stop from selected paragraphs, click into the paragraph to change or select the paragraphs to change.
  8. Click and drag the small black tab stop icon from the horizontal ruler and release it over the document area.
  9. To reposition an existing tab stop in the horizontal ruler, click and drag the tab stop icon to the left or right within the horizontal ruler and release it in its new location.
  10. To use the tab stops you created, press the “Tab” key on your keyboard to indent the line to the tab stop you inserted.
  11. Any text you then type aligns itself using the alignment of the tab stop type.

Using Tab Stops in Word: Video Lesson

            You can watch the following video lesson, titled “Using Tab Stops,” to see how to use tabs stops in Word. This video is from our complete Word tutorial, titled “Mastering Word Made Easy v.2016-2013.”

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