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Word 2003: Tabs & Indents

Word 2003: Tabs & Indents

Using Tabs & Indents ensures that when your document prints, paragraphs and text are all lined up in the way you intended. I’ve seen many people use the space bar to indent text and while everything appears lined up on the screen, once printed, text rarely lines up appropriately.

To effectively work with Tabs and Indents, you’ll need to have your ruler displayed.

Figure 12. Ruler

If you don’t see the ruler at the top of your document workspace (below the Ribbon), you’ll want to turn it on.

Displaying the Ruler

     
  1. Choose View from the Menu bar
     
  2.  
  3. Choose Ruler
     

Tabs

Tabs are set, by default at every ½ inch between your margins (until you start setting custom tabs). You don’t have to do anything special to use the default tabs except press the [Tab] key on your keyboard.

When you do, you can see tabs in the form of arrows () on your screen. (You may need to click the Show/Hide button in the Paragraph group on the Home tab to see the [Tab] characters.)

If you look closely at the ruler bar, you can see small tick marks at every ½ inch along the bottom. Those at the default tab stops. However, when you begin to set custom tabs, any default tabs to the left of (or before) the custom tab stop are automatically deleted.

The tab stop indicator is located on the very left edge of your ruler, just under the Ribbon. Typically, it displays the Left-Aligned Tab symbol (  ). In addition to [Tab] stops that align along the left, you can create [Tab] stops that align in the center, at the right or with a decimal.

               

Symbol…

Means…

Left-Aligned Tab

Center-Aligned Tab

Right-Aligned Tab

Decimal-Aligned Tab

Bar Tab

 
 
 
 
 
 
Setting a Left-Aligned Tab
     
  1.  Select the paragraphs that will be affected by the new [Tab] stop
     
  2.  
  3.  Verify the tab stop indicator displays the symbol for a Left-Aligned Tab
     
  4.  
  5. Click in the Ruler Bar at the location of the new [Tab] stop
     

Upon setting a new [Tab], you should see:

The “L” indicates a custom, left-aligned tab. You can see the default tabs stops before the custom stop have been removed. But, the tab stops after the custom stop remains.

Setting a Center-Aligned Tab

     
  1. Select the paragraphs that will be affected by the new [Tab] stop
     
  2.  
  3. Click the tab stop indicator until you see the symbol for a Center-Aligned Tab
     
  4.  
  5. Click in the Ruler Bar at the location of the new [Tab] stop
     
Setting a Right-Aligned Tab
     
  1. Select the paragraphs that will be affected by the new [Tab] stop
     
  2.  
  3. Click the tab stop indicator until you see the symbol for a Right-Aligned Tab
     
  4.  
  5. Click in the Ruler Bar at the location of the new [Tab] stop
     
Setting a Decimal-Aligned Tab
     
  1. Select the paragraphs that will be affected by the new [Tab] stop
     
  2.  
  3. Click the tab stop indicator until you see the symbol for a Right-Aligned Tab
     
  4.  
  5. Click in the Ruler Bar at the location of the new [Tab] stop
     
Moving a Custom Tab
     
  1. Select the paragraphs that will be affected by changing the custom [Tab] stop
     
  2.  
  3. Click and drag the custom tab stop to its new location
     
Deleting a Custom Tab
     
  1. Select the paragraphs that will be affected by changing the custom [Tab] stop
     
  2.  
  3. Click and drag the custom tab stop DOWN off the ruler
     

Indents

Whether you know it or not, you create and work with indents every time you create a bulleted or numbered list.

While you can set your indents in the Paragraph Dialog Box (below), it’s certainly easier to set them using the Ruler.

Figure 13. Paragraph Dialog Box

You can access the Paragraph Dialog Box by choosing Format: Paragraph… from the Menu bar.

Looking at the ruler bar, you can see small triangles and one rectangle at the left and right margins.

               

Symbol…

Means…

First Line Indent

Left Indent

Subsequent Lines Indent

Right Indent

Modifying the Left Indent

     
  1. Select the paragraphs that will be affected by changing the Indent
     
  2.  
  3. Drag the Left Indent marker left or right to a new location
     
Modifying the First Line Indent
     
  1. Select the paragraphs that will be affected by changing the Indent
     
  2.  
  3. Drag the First Line Indent marker left or right to a new location
     
Modifying the Subsequent Lines Indent
     
  1. Select the paragraphs that will be affected by changing the Indent
     
  2.  
  3. Drag the Subsequent Lines Indent marker left or right to a new location
     
Modifying the Right Indent
     
  1. Select the paragraphs that will be affected by changing the Indent
     
  2.  
  3. Drag the Right Indent marker left or right to a new location