How to Set Tabs


Set tabs in your word processing or desktop publishing software to aid in document formatting. Tabs allow you to align information in multiple methods. Software programs display the tabs setting in different locations, but the basis of the function is the same no matter which program you use.

Things You'll Need

  • Word processing or desktop publishing software
  • Locate the tabs setting in the computer program you are using. Typically, the tabs information will be displayed with other paragraph formatting options. In most word processing applications, tabs can also be set by clicking on the ruler bar at the top of the document. Double-clicking on the ruler bar will typically display the dialogue box containing detailed tabs information.

  • Determine the type of tab stop you want to set. Tabs may be set to align left, align center, or align right. The type of tab stop you choose is based on how you want your text to align within the document.

  • Siding the tab marker on the ruler bar at the top of your word processing application to where you want the tab. You can also manually insert the tab position in the dialogue box. Tabs may be readjusted to suit your needs once the information has been typed into the document.

  • Select leaders that will precede the tab if desired. Leaders, such as dashes, dots or lines can be inserted by clicking on the option in your tabs dialogue box.

  • Apply the changes to the tab settings in the dialogue box to use the tabs.

Tips & Warnings

  • When applying tabs to a document that has previously been typed, highlight all of the text that you want to be affected by the tab stop before making changes to the tabs.
  • Set multiple tabs to arrange information in an columns.
  • Tabs that have previously been set can be cleared by using the "Clear Tab" option available in the tab dialogue box.


  • Photo Credit computer girl four image by Paul Moore from
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