Software

Use Word's Tabs dialog box to set multiple tabs

Measure twice, cut once -- or, in the case of Word tabs, get rid of the ruler entirely. Mary Ann Richardson explains how you can use the Tabs dialog box to easily set multiple tabs with one dialog box.

While you can use the ruler to set tabs for your Word document, it may be easier to use the Tabs dialog box -- especially if you need to set leader tabs, which you cannot apply with the ruler. For example, suppose you need to set two left tab stops at 1" and 3" from the left margin and a right leader tab stop 6" from the left margin. You can set them all at once without leaving the Tabs dialog box. Follow these steps:

1. Position your cursor where you want the tabs to be set.

2. Go to Format | Tabs. (In Word 2007, click the Page Layout tab, click the Paragraph dialog box arrow, and then click the Tabs button.)

3. Type 1 in the Tab Stop Position dialog box. Click the Set button.

4. Type 3 in the Tab Stop Position dialog box. Click the Set button.

5. Type 6 in the Tab Stop Position dialog box.

6. Select the Right button.

7. Select the 4 Leader button.

8. Click the Set button and then click OK.

You can also use the Tabs dialog box to change the default tab stops. The Normal template sets tab stops every half inch. Let's say you need to indent your paragraphs one inch from the margin. Rather than pressing [Tab] twice to indent a paragraph, enter 1 in the Default Tab Stops dialog box and then click OK. You only need to press [Tab] once to indent your paragraphs.

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2 comments
islandjiXi
islandjiXi

Away with the ruler!!!! Thanks for the tip...well worth it :)

janetdart
janetdart

My only problem with not using the ruler is that you lose the ability to "eyeball" the setting of the tabs. I like to set a tab using the ruler, then double-click on the tab mark which takes you into the Tab dialog box. You can then add whatever leaders you like. This is also a much simpler way to get into the tab dialog box.

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