Most of the Word users I know have never scratched the surface of the tools that Microsoft Word has to help them make their documents look as if they were done by a professional and makes it easier to do that!
Believe it or not, I used to be one of those people but then I decided that I needed to streamline my documents so that I could be lazy and have a lot more time to myself and yet make it look like I had really worked harder and longer! One of the tools that helped me to do that was the lowly Tab.
We all know what tabs are and what they do. They stop your cursor when you click the Tab key and they are set to stop at .5″ intervals. It makes me crazy when I inherit someone’s document and instead of using the tabs properly for a signature line on the right side of the page, they just keep hitting that tab key until they get to where they want that line. Or another pet peeve is when someone creates a legal document and just keeps hitting the tab key until the get to the center to place an asterisk in the heading of the pleading. Oh, and let’s not forget the people who have to set up a document with monetary figures on the right-hand side of the page and they just keep hitting the tab key and to make it line up, they also just keep hitting the space bar until it’s right for them. All wasting precious time and keystrokes and bloating their documents!
It is beyond me why anyone would want to do this when it is so EASY to use Tabs to streamline the process! I have said to folks “I can show you how to make that a lot simpler and you only have to hit the Tab key once,” to receive the reply “No thanks, it works this way for me.” I do not argue with them but mentally shake my head because they do not want to learn how to do it the easy way! I really believe if they saw how easy it is, they would never go back to their old way again.
Follow the steps below to learn how:
- Open Word ad select the Home tab on your Ribbon.
- In the Paragraph group, click the drop-down arrow in the lower right-hand corner to open the dialog box.
- Click the Tabs button on the bottom of the dialog box.
Word 2016 provides ten tab settings:
These are all extremely useful. Say you are creating a TOC (Table of Contents). Just follow along on this.
- Click CTRL + E to center your heading.
- Key in Table of Contents or whatever you want to call it.
- Now click CTRL + L to left justify your text.
- Open up your tab settings as shown above and click on Clear all to get rid of any other tabs you may have set in your document.
- I forgot to mention that you should have your Rule visible for this so if you do not have it visible do so now.
- Presumably you will start your text on the left-hand side of your document, so key in your text.
- Now look up at your Ruler and decide where you would like your page numbers to be. For this lesson let’s just suppose we will use 6.1 for a tab stop.
- In your Tab Settings dialog box, you can select your alignment. You want to set your alignment when you enter your page number which would be to the right side of your document. If you set it to your left, the logical thing would happen is that your text would wrap to the next line. So set it to Right.
- The next option is to select your Leader style, for this purpose we will use option two which is the most popular one.
- Once you have defined your tab stop setting, first click Set and then OK.
- Key in your first title and click your Tab key. Word will now automatically enter the periods you would have otherwise done manually.
This is fairly easy to do and not only will it do that for you automatically, but it will also keep all your page numbers perfectly aligned as in the screen shot below.
If you think that is easy wait until I tell you how easy it is to just hit the tab key once for a signature block!
- First step is have your ruler visible
- Say you want your signature block to start at 3 on your Ruler.
- Just move your cursor up to your Rule and click on the 3, you will see the tab stop just under the three.
Now when you click your tab stop, it will automatically skip every other spot and stop at 3.
See how easy that was and the time and keystrokes it saves?
And guess what – when you are finished and want your other tabs back that stop at every .5″, all you have to do is take your cursor and drag that tab stop off of your Ruler.
I bet you are never going to tab, tab, tab, tab across a page again now that you have learned this!