Setting Tabs in Microsoft Word 2010

Some people send emails to me, they ask about Setting Tabs in Microsoft Word 2010 ? To answer all readers’ questions, I try to make a brief and clear tutorial about setting tabs in Microsoft Word.

Tab stops are locations on each line of the Microsoft Word document placed at regular intervals (usually half an inch) at which the cursor stops after the Tab key is pressed. MS Word has default tabs at 0.5 inch intervals and their locations are displayed as tiny vertical lines below the horizontal ruler. Each press of the Tab key moves the cursor to the tab stop immediately right of it.

How to Setting Tabs in Microsoft Word 2010

There are five types of tab stops in Ms Word 2010 :

  • Left Tab: Left aligns the text at the tab stop
  • Centre Tab: Centres the text around the tab stop
  • Right Tab: Right aligns the text at the tab stop\
  • Decimal Tab: Aligns numbers using the decimal point
  • Bar Tab: Draws a vertical line at the tab stop

In this tutorial, you will learn how to set tabs in a MS Word 2010 document and how to remove them.

Task-1: Setting Tabs in Microsoft Word 2010

Set left tab stop at 0.5”, bar tab stop at 1.25”, 2.75” and 4.25”, centre tab stop at 2”, right tab stop at 3.5” and decimal tab at 4.75” in a new MS Word document. Then type the following text, taking care to press the ‘Tab’ key before typing each entry:

01-Task table - Setting Tabs in Microsoft Word 2010

  • Method-1: Using Ruler
    • Click the ‘Tab Selector’ located to the left of the horizontal ruler until the left tab is displayed then Click at 0.5” on the ruler (see Figure 1). The left tab marker will appear on the ruler.
    • Click the ‘Tab selector until bar tab is displayed. Now click the ruler at 1.25”, 2.75” and 4.25” marks on the horizontal ruler. The bar tab marker will appear at the three points on the ruler and vertical lines will appear below them in the first line of the document.
    • Display centre tab on ‘Tab Selector’ and click on the ruler at 2” mark. The centre tab marker will appear on the ruler.
    • Display the right tab on ‘Tab Selector’ and click at 3.5” position on the ruler. The right tab marker will appear on the ruler.
    • Display the decimal tab on ‘Tab Selector’ and click at 4.75” position on the ruler. The decimal tab marker will appear on the ruler.

Setting Tabs in Microsoft Word 2010

  • Method-2: Using Ribbon

  1. Click ‘Home’ tab and then click ‘Paragraph Dialog Launcher’. MS Word launches the Paragraph Dialog Box.
  2. Click the ‘Tabs’ button at the bottom of the ‘Paragraph Dialog’ box. This launches the ‘Tabs’ Dialog (see Figure 2).
  3. In the box below ‘Tab Stop Position’, enter 0.5”.
  4. Under ‘Alignment’ section, click ‘Left’.
  5. Click set button.
  6. Enter 1.25 in ‘Tab Stop Position’ box, click ‘Bar’ in ‘Alignment’ section and click set button.
  7. Enter 2 in ‘Tab Stop Position’ box, click ‘Centre’ in ‘Alignment’ section and click set button.
  8. Enter 2.75 in ‘Tab Stop Position’ box, click ‘Bar’ in ‘Alignment’ section and click set button.
  9. Enter 3.5 in ‘Tab Stop Position’ box, click ‘Right’ in ‘Alignment’ section and click set button.
  10. Enter 4.75 in ‘Tab Stop Position’ box, click ‘Decimal’ in ‘Alignment’ section and click set button.
  11. Click OK button. You will see all the tab markers have appeared on the ruler.
  • Method for Typing Text

04-Finished Table

  1. After tab stops have been set, press ‘Tab’ key. The cursor will move to the left tab position.
  2. Now type the first entry “Name” The text will appear left aligned at the left tab.
  3. Press ‘Tab’ key. The cursor will jump across the bar tab to the centre tab.
  4. Now type the second entry “City”. The text will appear centred below the centre tab.
  5. Press ‘Tab’ key. The cursor jump across the bar tab to the right tab.
  6. Type the third entry “Payment”. The text will appear right aligned below the right tab.
  7. Again press the ‘Tab’ key. The cursor will jump across the bar tab to the decimal tab.
  8. Type the final entry “Receipt”. The text will appear right aligned below the decimal tab.
  9. Press ‘Enter’ key. The cursor will jump to the beginning of the next line.
  10. Type the rest of the text following the steps above.
  11. After you have finished, the text will look like this:

Note that in the fourth column, MS Word has aligned the decimal point of the numbers at the decimal tab to facilitate easy computation. On the other hand, no such alignment has occurred in the third column as you have used the right alignment tab there.

Task-2: Removing Manual Tab Stops in Microsoft Word 2010

Setting Tabs in Ms Word 2010 Step-by-Step Instructions

Method-1: Using the Ruler

Drag the tab stop marker off the horizontal ruler and release it. The tab stop will be removed.
Repeat the operation for each tab stop created manually. After you have removed all manual tab stops, the default tab stops are restored.

Method-2: Using the Ribbon

Launch the ‘Tabs’ dialog box.
In the box under the ‘Tab Stop Position’, click the tab stop entry, which is to be removed and click the ‘Clear’ button.
Repeat the operation for each tab stop that is to be removed.
Click OK button. The selected tab stops will be cleared.
If you wish to clear all manual tab stops, then instead of clearing individual tabs just click the ‘Clear All’ button and then click ‘OK’ button. All manual tab stops will be cleared.

TIPS!

If you wish to indent text or set tab stops in several paragraphs, you need not repeat the steps separately for each paragraph. Select all paragraphs at the same time and then follow the steps outlined above. The changes made will apply to all selected paragraphs.

Remember that pressing the Tab key creates a first line indent when the cursor is at the beginning of the first line of the paragraph and a Tab when the cursor is at any other location in the paragraph.

When you create a new tab stop in a MS Word document, all default tab stops left to it are removed. However, the default tab stops to the right of the last manually created tab stop continue.
When manual tab stops are removed, the default tab stops are restored.

Recap

In MS Word documents, tabs may be set by choosing the desired type of tab on the ‘Tab Selector’ and clicking on the horizontal ruler. Alternatively, you may use the ‘Tabs Dialog’ to set tabs.
To remove manually set tabs, drag them off the horizontal ruler. You may also use the ‘Tabs Dialog’ to clear tabs.

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