How to Insert a Tab Character In a Cell

By Ty Arthur

When you are adding data to any of the cells in your spreadsheet you may not always want the text to start the far left end. In some circumstances the formatting of the cell may be more visually appealing if there is a tab character added first. Unfortunately you can't add a tab simply by pressing the keyboard's "tab" key inside the cell. Depending on the version of your spreadsheet there are two different ways to insert a tab character into an active cell.

Things You'll Need

  • Microsoft Excel software

Step 1

Open your Excel workbook and navigate to the worksheet you are working with. Click inside the cell that you want to modify.

Step 2

Press the "Ctrl," "Alt," and "Tab" keys simultaneously and see if a tab character is added to the active cell. Click the "Format" button if the key combination does not add the tab character.

Step 3

Click "Cells" and then navigate to "Alignment." Click "Left Indent" and then click the arrow key to add in an indentation that is the equivalent of a tab character. Click again to add another level of indentation.

Tips & Warnings

  • In Excel 2007 the "Ctrl," "Alt," and "Tab" keys are a shortcut for increasing the indent by one degree. Press the key combination again to continue increasing the level of indentation.
  • Pressing "Ctrl," "Alt," "Shift," and "Tab" at the same time will decrease the indentation level by one degree.