Set tabs in a document in Word for Mac

There are several ways to set tabs in a Word document.

Add tab stops

A quick way to set tab stops in your document is to click the ruler where you want the tabs to appear.

Example of using tabs to create columns

  1. If you don't see the ruler at the top of your document, click View > Ruler to display it.

    On the View menu, select Ruler

  2. Click the ruler where you want a tab stop. For example, click 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5.

    Tab stops are visible as small arrows on the ruler

Now, when you press the TAB key, your text will line up with the tabs you've set.

Note: To adjust the position of a tab, drag it right or left along the ruler.

Add a hanging indent

With a hanging indent, the second and all the following lines of a paragraph are indented more than the first.

Example of a hanging paragraph

  1. If you don't see the ruler at the top of your document, click View > Ruler to display it.

    On the View menu, select Ruler

  2. Select the text where you want to add a hanging indent.

  3. On the ruler, drag the upper triangular part of the lower marker to the place you want the indentation to start, for example to the 1" mark.

    Select the top part of the arrow and drag it to the indentation you want

Add dot leaders

The space between tabs can show dots, dashes, or other "leader" characters to line up information.

Example of using a dot leader

  1. If you don't see the ruler at the top of your document, click View > Ruler to display it.

    On the View menu, select Ruler

  2. Click the lower edge of the ruler where you want to set the tab.

  3. On the Format menu, select Tabs to open a window with tab options.

  4. Select the tab.

    The Tab dialog box, set up for a right-aligned tab with dots

  5. Under Alignment select Right.

  6. Under Leader, select the dotted lines option, and then click OK.

Now you can add entries and when you press TAB, a dotted line will appear across the page, to the 6" mark. The formatting will be added to each new line until you change the leader. To change the formatting so no leader appears, follow steps 3-5 and under Leader, choose none.

You can set the following types of tab stops:

Tab stop

Description

Left tab

A Left Tab stop sets the start position of text that will then run to the right as you type.

Center tab

A Center Tab stop sets the position of the middle of the text. The text centers on this position as you type.

Right tab

A Right Tab stop sets the right end of the text. As you type, the text moves to the left.

Decimal tab

A Decimal Tab stop aligns numbers around a decimal point. Independent of the number of digits, the decimal point will be in the same position. (You can align numbers around a decimal character only; you cannot use the decimal tab to align numbers around a different character, such as a hyphen or an ampersand symbol.)

Bar tab

A Bar Tab stop doesn't position text. It inserts a vertical bar at the tab position.

Set a tab stop using the ruler

  1. On the View menu, click Print Layout.

  2. Select the text in which you want to set a tab stop.

    Tip: To set a tab for an entire document, select all text. The keyboard shortcut is COMMAND + A .

  3. On the View menu, make sure there's a check mark next to Ruler.

  4. Click the tab selector at the left end of the ruler, and then click the type of tab that you want.

  5. Click the bottom border of the ruler where you want to set the tab stop.

Set a tab stop by using the dialog box

If you want your tab stops at precise positions that you can't get by clicking the ruler, or if you want to insert a specific character (leader) before the tab, you can use the Tabs dialog box.

  1. On the View menu, click Print Layout.

  2. On the View menu, make sure there's a check mark next to Ruler.

  3. At the far left of the horizontal ruler, click Tab stop button , and then click Tabs.

  4. Under Tab stop position, type the location where you want to set the tab stop.

  5. Under Alignment, click the type of tab stop that you want.

  6. To add dots with your tab stop, or to add another type of leader, under Leader click the type of leader that you want.

  7. Click Set.

Remove a tab stop

  1. On the View menu, click Print Layout.

  2. Select the text from which you want to remove a tab stop.

  3. On the View menu, make sure there's a check mark next to Ruler.

  4. Drag the tab marker off the ruler.

See also

Crate a table of contents

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