How to Set Tabs in a Microsoft Word Document

Microsoft Word 2013 and 2010 have three main types of tab stops used to position text: Left tabs left-align text to the right of the stop's location, Center tabs center text around the tab stop and Right tabs right-align text, making it end at the stop's position. To add a tab stop, pick a type from the tab selector and click on the ruler. For more precise control or to add dots or dashes to a tab, adjust the settings in the Tabs window.

Step

Press the tab selector, located between the File menu and the left-hand ruler, to cycle through types of tab stops. Left tab stops look like an "L," Center stops look like an inverted "T" and Right stops look like a backwards "L."

Step

Click anywhere along the horizontal ruler at the top of a page to place the selected tab stop. By default, tabs apply to all new lines of text added after tab placement. To add tabs to existing text, select the text before clicking on the ruler. Click elsewhere on the ruler to add additional stops.

Step

Drag an existing tab stop along the ruler to reposition it. As you drag, Word displays a vertical line to help you align the tab with other text on the page. To delete a tab stop, drag it off the ruler vertically.

Step

Double-click a tab stop on the ruler to open the Tabs window and set tab stops by entering exact positions in inches. Type the position for a stop in the text box, choose an alignment and press "Set."

Step

Select a tab stop on the list, choose a style in the Leader section and click "Set" to add dots or dashes to the blank space left by a tab. Press "OK" to close the Tabs window and apply all changes.