A-B Tech InfoBase

We're here to help you find quick answers to common questions. Use the search box to look up key words or browse through the categories below.
Can't find what you're looking for? Click here to email us your question or call us at (828) 398-7900.

How to Set Tabs – Word 2013

How to Set Tabs – Word 2013


Step by step instructions for setting tabs in Word 2013


Tabs allow you to position text exactly where you would like it. To avoid problems with text alignment, use tabs rather than spaces. The default tab settings for Microsoft Word are every half-inch. If you do not like the Word settings, you can set your own tabs.

Tab Types

Tabs come in different types which are defined by the way text aligns with the tab. The following table explains the different tab types.

Tab Type

Windows Icon


Left (Normal)

 Left tab icon

With the Left tab, text will begin at the tab position and continue to the right of the tab.


 Right tab icon

With the Right tab, text will end at the tab and flow to the left.


 Center tab icon

The Center tab works similar to centering a line of text but instead of centering between margins, text is centered at the tab location.


 Decimal tab icon

The Decimal tab is used to align numbers and text with a period. This is useful for a group of numbers or a list of instructions.


 Bar tab icon

The Bar tab is used to add a vertical line at that position. This could be used when you want to set off some text.

Setting a tab does not automatically align your text. You still have to press [Tab] at the appropriate places.

There are two ways to work with tabs: from the Ruler or from the Tabs Dialog box.

Working with Tabs from the Ruler

Working with tabs using the Ruler option is a quick and easy way to set and adjust tabs. The Ruler options allow you to set, move, delete, or change tabs. You can display the ruler by clicking the View Ribbon, and checking the Ruler option in the Show group.

View menu options

Setting Tabs

  1. Select the paragraph(s) that will receive new tab settingsTab Type Icon
  2. Click the TAB TYPE icon until the desired tab type is selected
  3. On the Ruler, click the lower edge of the ruler where you want the tab

Moving Tabs

  1. On the Ruler, click and hold the tab you want to move
  2. Drag the tab to the new location and release the mouse button

Deleting Tabs

  1. Click and hold the tab you want to delete
  2. Drag the tab into the document area of the screen and release the mouse button

Changing Tab Type

To change the tab type, you can either delete the tab and add a new tab of the correct type or you can use the Tabs dialog box.

Working with Tabs from the Tabs Dialog Box

The Tabs dialog box allows you to adjust the placement and type of tab. Although the Ruler option is a quicker way to adjust tabs, the dialog box Paragraph menu optionsallows you to use leaders and enter specific tab locations.

In the Tabs dialog box, you can set leaders for the tabs. Leaders are lines (solid, dashed, or dotted) that appear in the blank space created by a tab. The most common use for a leader is in a table of contents where a dotted line leads up to the page number. Leaders guide the reader's eye across the page.

To access the Tabs dialog box

  1. Select the paragraph(s) that will receive new tab settings
  2. From the Home tab, in the Paragraph group, click PARAGRAPH
    The Paragraph dialog box opens.
  3. Click TABS...
    The Tabs dialog box opens.

Setting Tabs

  1. Access the Tabs dialog boxCustom tabs
  2. In the Tab stop position text box, type the desired value (in inches)
  3. Adjust the tab alignment and leader if necessary
  4. Click SET
  5. To set additional tabs, repeat steps 2-4
  6. >After all tabs have been set, click OK

Deleting Tabs

  1. Place the insertion point within the paragraph with the tab settings you want to deleteTabs dialog box
  2. Access the Tabs dialog box
  3. From the Tab stop position scroll box, select the tab to be deleted
  4. Click CLEAR
    HINT: To delete all tabs, click CLEAR ALL
  5. To delete other tabs, repeat steps 3-4
  6. Click OK

Moving Tabs or Changing Tab Type

Moving tabs or changing the tab type in the Tabs dialog box involves adding a new tab and deleting the old one.

  1. Access the Tabs dialog box
  2. In the Tab stop position scroll box, select the desired tab
  3. Click CLEAR
  4. In the Tab stop position text box, type the new tab location
  5. Adjust the tab alignment and leader if necessary
  6. Click SET
  7. Click OK


Key Words: ​​​​​​​tabs, indents, indentations

Attached Files
There are no attachments for this article.
Related Articles RSS Feed
How to Use OneDrive
Added on Thu, May 17, 2018
Student Activity Fees
Added on Wed, Oct 24, 2012
Finding Books In the Bookstore by Class Number
Added on Tue, Aug 1, 2017
Spanish Tutoring
Added on Fri, Apr 11, 2014
How to Use Google Drive
Added on Thu, Jan 22, 2015
National Society of Leadership and Success
Added on Sat, Sep 7, 2013
How to Use the Password Reset Tool (Student Login)
Added on Mon, Feb 5, 2018
Health Clinic
Added on Wed, Oct 31, 2012
Employees With Student Email Addresses
Added on Mon, May 14, 2018
Graduation Photos
Added on Thu, Jun 23, 2016