Indents and Tabs

In Word 2016 indents and tabs add structure to documents. Use the MS Word indent ruler and tabs to help make documents clearer.

Tabs

Using tabs gives you more control over the placement of text. By default, every time you press the Tab key, the insertion point will move 1/2 inch to the right. Adding tab stops to the Ruler allows you to change the size of the tabs, and Word even allows you to apply more than one tab stop to a single line. For example, on a resume you could left-align the beginning of a line and right-align the end of the line by adding a Right Tab, as shown in the image below.

Pressing the Tab key can either add a tab or create a first-line indent, depending on where the insertion point is. Generally, if the insertion point is at the beginning of an existing paragraph, it will create a first-line indent; otherwise, it will create a tab.

The tab selector

The tab selector is located above the vertical ruler on the left. Hover the mouse over the tab selector to see the name of the active tab stop.

Types of tab stops:

Although Bar Tab, First Line Indent, and Hanging Indent appear on the tab selector, they're not technically tabs.

To add tab stops

  1. Select the paragraph or paragraphs you want to add tab stops to. If you don't select any paragraphs, the tab stops will apply to the current paragraph and any new paragraphs you type below it.
  2. Click the tab selector until the tab stop you want to use appears. In our example, we'll select Right Tab.
  3. Click the location on the horizontal ruler where you want your text to appear (it helps to click on the bottom edge of the Ruler). You can add as many tab stops as you want.
  4. Place the insertion point in front of the text you want to tab, then press the Tab key. The text will jump to the next tab stop. In our example, we will move each date range to the tab stop we created.

Removing tab stops

It's a good idea to remove any tab stops you aren't using so they don't get in the way. To remove a tab stop, first select all of the text that uses the tab stop. Then click and drag it off of the Ruler.

Word can also display hidden formatting symbols such as spaces (), paragraph marks (), and tabs () to help you see the formatting in your document. To show hidden formatting symbols, select the Home tab, then click the Show/Hide command.