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Word 2010 Videos - Setting Tabs In Word

There are several options open to you when it comes to aligning text in Word 2010. Some people use tables, some use columns and yet others use tabs. In this tutorial, we're going to be looking at using tabs to align our text.

Default Tab Stops

When you create a new blank document in Word, it already includes tab stops at half inch intervals. You can see these tabs stops marked in the ruler by these small ticks. If you can't see the ruler, then you might have to go to the View tab and ensure that the Ruler checkbox is checked. No ruler. Ruler.

You move the cursor along each line to next tab stop by pressing the tab key on the keyboard. For example, look at how the cursor jumps each time I press the tab key down here. There's one. Two tabs. Three tab key presses. Four, and so on. Wherever the cursor is positioned, I can start typing and the text is indented to where the tab stop is.

Adding Your Own Tab Stops

In addition to the default half inch tab stops, you can add your own tab stops. All you have to do is click on the ruler, like so. Tab stops you add manually, like this, override the default tab stops. For example, watch what happens when we click here. See, the manually added tab stop is there. When I press the tab key on the keyboard, the cursor shoots all the way over to that tab stop. We can then start typing here, press Enter for a new paragraph, tab key over to that manually added tab stop again, and so on.

Once you've added a tab stop to the ruler, you can adjust its position by dragging left or right, like this. Notice that moving the tab stop only affected this word here, because tab stops operate at paragraph level, and this word is in a different paragraph to this one. If we ctrl-z to undo, if we want to affect both of these paragraphs, then what we could do is select both of them and then drag the tab stop.

You can also delete tab stops by just dragging them off the ruler, like that.

Tabs In Paragraphs

If you set tabs in a paragraph, those tab settings will automatically carry over into the next paragraph you create when you press the Enter key. So when you press Enter at the end of the paragraph in which you define tab settings, the new paragraph will have the same tab settings, too. To demonstrate, let's place the cursor in this paragraph, here, and, tell you what, let's get rid of these tab stops. OK, the cursor's still positioned in that paragraph. We'll ad a tab stop at 4cm. Now, if we go to the end of the paragraph, you can still see it's there. Press Enter, and the tab stop remains.

If we go to a preceding paragraph, though, for example this one, notice that there are no tab stops. So, when you add a tab stop, it only affects the current paragraph and all those that follow, not the ones preceding.

Using The Tabs Window To Set Tabs

Using the ruler to set tabs is good because you get a visual feedback straight away as you add tabs and also reposition them. Another way to set tabs is to use the Tabs window, which is available on the Home tab, in the Paragraph group. If we click on the dialogue launcher here, and then click on the Tabs button, this opens up the Tabs window.

The first thing we'll do is remove all tabs from the document by clicking on Clear All. Now we'll define each tab stop sequentially by typing the number of cms in this box here. The first one will be 2cm: click Set. The second one, we'll set at 4cm: click Set. And the third one we'll set at 6cm, and we'll click Set again, and then click OK. And we can see our new tab stops appearing in the ruler at 2cm, 4cm and 6cm.

In the next tutorial, we'll look at a practical example of setting tabs in a Word document.