Software

How do I delete all tab stops in a Word document?

There is a quick and easy way to delete all the tab stops in a Word document. Susan Harkins explains.

Tab stops are a paragraph format. That means you can assign different tab stops for individual paragraphs. Fortunately, that doesn't mean you have to delete them all individually—or by the paragraph. There's a quick, easy way to delete all the tab stops in a document.

First, select the entire document. There are a number of ways to do so, but the quickest is to press [Ctrl]+a. With the entire document selected, do the following to delete all tab stops:

  1. Choose Paragraph from the Format menu. Or, right-click the selection and choose Paragraph from the resulting context menu. In Word 2007 and 2010, click the Home tab | Paragraph group Dialog launcher.
  2. Click Tab (at the bottom-left).
  3. In the Tabs dialog box, click the Clear All button at the bottom-right.
  4. Click OK.

The truth is, deleting all the tabs is a simple enough task, but the feature's placement isn't particularly easy to find, in any version.

Of course, you won't always want to delete all of the tab stops. You can clear individual tab stops as follows:

  1. Position the insertion point in the appropriate paragraph.
  2. Choose Paragraph from the Format menu. Or, right-click the selection and choose Paragraph from the resulting context menu. In Word 2007 and 2010, click the Home tab | Paragraph group Dialog launcher.
  3. Click Tabs.
  4. In the Tab Stop Position control, highlight the tab stop you want to delete.
  5. Click Clear.

Some might consider using the ruler a bit easier:

  1. Position the insertion point in the appropriate question.
  2. Find the tab indication on the ruler and drag it off—it couldn't be simpler!

Two quick tips for inserting and formatting tabs

As long as we're talking about the ruler, there are two quick ruler tips that I really like:

  • Double-click an existing tab on the ruler to display the Tab dialog box for quick formatting.
  • Double-click the ruler where you want to insert a tab to both insert a tab and open the Tab dialog box.
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About

Susan Sales Harkins is an IT consultant, specializing in desktop solutions. Previously, she was editor in chief for The Cobb Group, the world's largest publisher of technical journals.

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