Microsoft Office Tutorials and References
In Depth Information
Setting Tab Stops
Setting Tab Stops
A tab stop (often called a tab ) is a location on the horizontal ruler where the insertion
point moves when you press the Tab key. Tab stops are useful for aligning small amounts
of data in columns. There are default tab stops every one-half inch on the
horizontal ruler, indicated by the small tick marks that appear along the ruler’s bottom edge.
When you press the Tab key, the insertion point moves to the next tab stop to the right.
It’s important to have the Show/Hide ¶ button selected when you work with tab stops,
because then you can see the nonprinting tab character ( ) that is inserted when you
press the Tab key. A tab is just like any other character you type; you can delete it by
pressing the Backspace key or the Delete key.
You can use tab stops to align text in a variety of ways. The fi ve major types of tab
stops are Left, Center, Right, Decimal, and Bar, as shown in Figure 3-19. The Left style is
selected by default and is probably the tab style you’ll use most often.
Figure 3-19
Tab stop alignment styles
tab alignment
selector with Left
tab stop selected
Bar ta b stop
mark er
ght tab
op marker
Decimal tab
stop marker
default tab
stop appears
as small gray
tick mark
below ruler
Left tab stop marker
Center tab
stop marker
You can set tab stops a few different ways. The simplest is to fi rst select an alignment
style from the tab alignment selector, located at the left end of the horizontal ruler, and
then click the horizontal ruler where you want to insert the tab stop. When you insert a
tab stop, all of the default tab stops to its left are removed. This means you have to press
the Tab key only once to move the insertion point to the newly created tab stop.
To create more complicated tab stops, you can use the Tabs dialog box. Among other
things, the Tabs dialog box allows you to insert a dot leader , which is a row of dots (or
other characters) between tabbed text. A dot leader makes it easier to read a long list of
tabbed material because the eye can follow the dots from one item to the next. You’ve
probably seen dot leaders used in the table of contents in a topic, where the dots
separate the chapter titles from the page numbers. To create a left tab stop with a dot leader,
click the Dialog Box Launcher in the Paragraph group on the Home tab, click the Indents
and Spacing tab if necessary, and then click the Tabs button at the bottom of the dialog
box. In the Tab stop position text box, type the location on the ruler where you want to
insert the tab. For example, to insert a tab stop at the 4-inch mark, type 4. Verify that the
Left option button is selected in the Alignment section, and then, in the Leader section,
click the option button for the type of dot leader you want. Click the Set button and then
click the OK button.
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