2 Ways to Set and Use Tab Stops in MS Word – 2022

A tab stop is a term used to describe the location of a computer and a typewriter. When it comes to the typewriter it is used to stop the carriage movement through the adjustable end stop.

Similarly, when it comes to computers it is used to set the insertion point in the document. You can easily and quickly type text in different alignments and align existing text only through the tab stops in a word document.

Launching Tab Stops Dialogue Box in Word:

Firstly, open a word document and click the Home tab

In the Paragraph group, click the paragraph dialogue launcher to open its dialogue box.

Now click “Tab” to open its dialogue box.

Tabs Dialogue Box in Word
Tabs Dialogue Box in Word

Types of Tab Stops:

Tab stops are basically 5 types. These are the Left tab, Center Tab, Right Tab, Decimal Tab and Bar Tab. And if you include indention, it becomes 7. These are the First Line Indent and Hanging Indent.

1. Left tab:

It Tab is used to align text to the left of the tab position.

2. Center Tab:

This Tab is used to align text to the centre of a document.

3. Right Tab:

It is used to align text to the right of the tab position.

4. Decimal Tab:

It is useful for aligning numbers at decimal points.

5. Bar Tab:

It is used to insert a vertical line/bar.

6. First Line Indent:

The first line Indent is used to indent the first line of a paragraph.

7. Hanging Indent:

Hanging Indent is used to indent all except the first line of a paragraph.

Setting Left, Center, and Right Tabs:

The default left tab space between the tabs you press every time is 1/2 inch. You can set it manually to suit your need.

After opening the tab settings dialogue box, in the “Tabs” dialogue box, type the number (the number you enter in the tab stops position box will be measured in centimetres) between 1 and 15. For example, to set 3 and 6 compositions, type 3 in the position box.

Select one of the tab stops (Left, Center, and Right) you want under “Alignment“.

Select one of the “Leaders” (for different straight lines before or after the text), then click “Set“.

Tab Stop Position and Alignment Settings

Again type 6 in the position box and select the same “Leader” style as above you set for 3.

Lastly, click “Set‘, then click “OK“.

Tab Stop Settings in Word
Tab Stop Settings in Word

If you observe the ruler of the word document, the 3 and 6 numbers are marked with the left tab as in the screenshot below.

Tab Stop Positions on Ruler
Tab Stop Positions on Ruler

Now if you press the “Tab” key on the keyboard, the insertion point moves 3 cm distance from the left margin of the document. if you press the tab key again moves (another 3cms) 6 cm distance from the left margin as you set it. After that, it moves with default spaces.

Working with Left Tab:

Upon settings the left tab as explained in the “Setting Left, Center, and Right Tabs“, If you want to format the document as below, start typing the text → then press the “Tab” key → again type text → Press Tab key → And again type text, lastly press Enter to do the same.

Working with Tab Stops

Working with Right Tab:

Upon setting the right tab as explained in the “Setting Left, Center, and Right Tabs“, you can prepare the document easily as in the screenshot below.

To prepare the document as in the screenshot below, Press the Tab key → start typing the text → press Enter → to do the same, again press the tab key → type the text → press Enter. Do this as many times as you want.

Working with Right Tab alignment
Right Tab Stop

Working with Center Tab:

Upon setting the centre tab as explained in the “Setting Left, Center, and Right Tabs“, do the following.

Working with Center Tab

Setting Bar Tab in Word:

A bar tab doesn’t align text, instead, it inserts a vertical line at the bar tab position. You may use it for inserting vertical lines between multiple columns.

Type the number (the number you enter in the position box will be measured in centimetres) between 1 and 15. For example, to set 3 and 6 cm tab stops, type 3 in the position box.

Select one of the “Bar” tabs stop you want under “Alignment” and click “Set“.

You can’t use Leaders here.

Again type 6 in the position box and select the same.

Lastly, click “Set“, then click OK to set it

If you observe the ruler of the word document, 3 and 6 numbers are marked with a bar tab.

Now if you press the “Tab” key on the keyboard, the insertion point moves 3 cm distance from the left margin and inserts a vertical line at the tab position. if you press the tab key again move (another 3cms) 6 cm distance from the left margin and insert a vertical line at the tab position as you set it.

Working with Bar Tab in Word:

Insert Vertical Line using Bar Tab
Insert Vertical Line using Bar Tab

Setting and Working with Decimal Tab:

Type the number (the number you enter in the position box will be measured in centimetres) between 1 and 15. For example, to set 3 and 6 cm tab stops, type 3 in the tab position box.

Select one of the “Bar” tabs stop you want under “Alignment“.

You can’t use Leaders here.

Again type 6 in the position box and select the same “Leader” style as above you set for 3.

Lastly, click OK to set it.

If you observe the ruler of the word document, the 3 and 6 numbers are marked with the left tab as in the screenshot below.

Now if you press the “Tab” key on the keyboard, the insertion point moves 3 cm distance from the left margin of the document. if you press the tab key again moves (another 3cms) 6 cm distance from the left margin as you set it. After that, it moves with default spaces.

What is a Tab Stop in Microsoft Word and Typewriter?

It is a term used to describe the location of a computer and a typewriter. When it comes to the typewriter it is used to stop the carriage movement through the adjustable end stop. Similarly, when it comes to computers it is used to set the insertion point in the document. You can easily and quickly type text in different alignments and align existing text only through the tab stops in a Word document.

What is the default space between the tabs?

The default left tab space between the tabs you press every time is 1/2 inch. You can set it manually to suit your need.

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