How to Create a Right-Align Tab in MS Word

By Aaron Parson

You don't need to right-align an entire line in Word to change the alignment on a few words. Use Right Tabs instead.

Setting tabs in Word 2010 and 2013 specifies how far the cursor moves when you press the Tab key, rather than simply moving half an inch at a time. Regular tabs help keep your text lined up cleanly, but they don't change the text's alignment. Switch to a Right Tab with the tab icon or the Tabs dialog box to use right-aligned text when typing at the tab stop.

Open the Ruler

Both methods of placing tabs use the ruler. If you don't see rulers at the top and along the side of your document, open the View tab and check Ruler to display them.

Place a Tab on the Ruler

Tabs on the ruler

To choose a Right Tab, click the tab icon in the upper left corner of the document until you see the Right Tab icon, a backwards L. With the Right Tab icon visible, click on the ruler atop the page to place a tab stop. To add more tabs, click in additional spots on the ruler. With your tab stops in place, press the Tab key with the cursor at the end of your left-aligned text to jump over to the first right-aligned tab.

Tip

  • To set the same tabs across multiple paragraphs, select the paragraphs before placing the tab stops.
  • Combine multiple types of tabs on the same line to switch between alignments.
  • Drag a tab stop upward to delete it.
  • Tabs in columns or inside tables work exactly the same, except that each column has its own tab stops.

Warning

Don't select Align Right on the Home tab when typing at a right-aligned tab stop. Doing so aligns the entire line to the right side of the page.

Tabs Dialog Box

Tabs dialog box

Double-click the horizontal ruler to open the Tabs dialog box and create tabs with more precision. To add a new right-aligned tab, enter a position in inches, select Right as the Alignment and click Set. Click Clear to delete the selected tab or Clear All to remove all tabs.

Tip

The Default Tab Stops setting determines how far to move the cursor when you press Tab and no further tab stops exist on the line. Default tab stops do not use right alignment, however, even if you select Right as the Alignment.

Warning

Double-clicking the ruler also creates a tab at the location you click. To open the dialog box without creating a new tab, double-click directly on an existing tab stop.