On typewriters, the tab key moved the carriage come a addressed horizontal position, marked with a tab stop. This allowed typists come create columns of text or numbers, also known as tabular layouts (hence the name tab).
You are watching: There are default tab stops every one inch on the horizontal ruler.
Tabs and also tab stops still job-related the very same way. A tab avoid marks a location; typing a tab move the cursor to the location.
These days, the tab is provided only for inserting horizontal an are in the middle the a line. If you need horizontal room at the beginning the a paragraph, adjust the first-line indent. For a true tabular layout, usage a table, not tabs.
Word and also Pages execute not display your default tab stop on the leader (for no great reason). Be aware that including your own tab stops wipes the end the default ones. So you will do it usually want to collection tab stops before inserting tabs in the text.
The tab is no as vital together it as soon as was, but word processors still shortchange the capabilities. A new word-processing document has default tab stops every half inch. These default tab stop exist so the something happens when you type a tab in the new document. But this default behavior also suggests the what the tab an essential does is move the cursor a half inch in ~ a time. Not true.
To get the many out the tabs, girlfriend should collection your very own tab stops. Avoid relying ~ above the default tab stops—they undermine the objectives of control and also predictability. Just like word spaces, also avoid using sequences the tabs to relocate the cursor approximately the screen.
To see your tab stops, display the ruler.
How to display screen the ruler
WordView → show panel → Ruler
Mac OS WordView → Ruler
PagesView → display Ruler, or type ⌘ + r
With the leader visible, girlfriend can modify your tab stops.
How to modify tab stops
To insert a brand-new tab stop, click in the ruler where you want the tab stop.
To move a tab stop, click and drag that in the ruler.
To adjust a tab avoid from one kind to another, double-click the in the ruler. In Pages, you can also right-click it.
To remove a tab stop, drag it off the ruler.
Many layout work traditionally handled by tabs are now better handled by tables. For instance, this illustration that tab stops to be made v tabs, however it would’ve been easier to usage a four-column, four-row table.
The default tab stop is a left tab stop, meaning text under the tab protect against aligns come its left edges. Indigenous processors also offer center and also right tab stops, and decimal tab stops the align columns the numbers at their decimal points (see grids the numbers for why this matters).
Use the ideal tab avoid for the job. For instance, don’t use a center tab stop to line up decimal numbers. A appropriate tab can be useful in a document footer to put two piece of text (e.g., the document title and also the web page number) at opposite end of the same line.
Tabs are used in bulleted and also numbered lists to separate the bullet or number indigenous the text. Tabs are additionally used in automatically generated tables of contents and also tables the authorities to put the web page numbers in ~ the ideal edge that the table.
Despite your names, automatic tables the contents and tables the authorities room not made with true word-processor tables. If you desire to edit them, you need to be comfortable adjusting tab stops.
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Tabs and tab stops have their place, but in most situations they act as a less-capable alternative come a table. Usage tabs and also tab stops if your formatting task is important simple. If not, upgrade come a table.