Software

How to enter a tab character in a Word table

Enter literal Tab character in a Word table

I've been using Word tables for years. They're efficient and easy to insert and format. Recently, I wanted to enter a tab character between phrases in a single table cell. But when you press Tab in a table, Word positions the cursor in the next cell. At first, I thought, Oh no.... but it didn't take me just a second to try Ctrl + Tab, which worked perfectly.

Office is consistent with this sort of trick -- using Ctrl to enter a literal character, I mean. For instance, pressing Ctrl + Enter in an Access text box control positions the cursor in the following line, creating a second line of text in the control. Pressing just Enter gives focus to the next control in the sequence.

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.

5 comments
smccan
smccan

Thanks for this great tip! I have had issues with this for years. The "literal character" tip helps immensely as well. Thank you!

kdeaton
kdeaton

WOW! This is THE best advice I've gotten regarding WORD, or any other program for that matter!!! How much time and effort is this going to save! Impressed the boss too!!

Phil
Phil

The Access example is not correct. Behaviour on pressing enter depends on the keyboard settings under Tools/Options ("Move after enter" radio buttons) and the properties of the control ("Enter key behaviour") where the choice of "default" behaviour or "New line in field" determine what happens to the focus/cursor position.

nepenthe0
nepenthe0

I still use Word 2000, and am amazed with its versatility. One can do anything with the Tables commands. My 'bete noire' with Tables is the developing instability as the table becomes more compicated, but this can be 'cured' using the 'column break' commmand, then restiching by deleting the break. Alas, much of the requisite skill comes with experience, as the documentation is universally insufficient. I imagine later versions offer improvements, but I have yet to encounter any project that Word 2000 cannot handle.

dsjohnsoneci
dsjohnsoneci

To get to a tab stop within a cell use Ctrl + Tab.

Editor's Picks