Setting Tab Stops

Tab Stop in word processing terms is the jump your cursor makes from one position to another when you press the tab key on your keyboard. You typically set tab stop positions for things like indenting the first line of a paragraph, or if you wanted text to start three or four centimeters along the line. We're going to set three tab stops for our line of text with the months of the year.

With your Crime Statistics document open, do the following:

Move your cursor to the start of the January, February, March line of text in your document
Locate the Paragraph panel in the Home ribbon at the top of Word
Click the small arrow in the bottom right of the Paragraph panel:

Paragraph Options

When you click the arrow you should see a dialogue box appear. Click the Tabs button in the bottom left.

Tabs

This will open the tab stop dialog box:

Tabs

The area to concentrate on is Tab stop position. When you want to set a tab stop, you type in a number in the text box below the words "Tab stop position". Then you press the "Set" button. We are going to set tab stop positions at 1, 2, and 3 inches from the left hand side.

Enter a 1 in the Tab stop position text box
Click the "Set" button
Enter a 2 in the Tab stop position text box
Click the "Set" button
Enter a 3 in the Tab stop position text box
Click the "Set" button

When you are finished, your Tab dialogue box should look like this:

Tabs

Click the OK button when you have finished. With your cursor still flashing before the J of January, your top ruler bar will look like this:

Tab Stops

 

Notice the three L-shaped lines on your ruler bar. These are your three tab stop positions. If you can't see the ruler bar, click the View ribbon at the top of Microsoft Word. Locate the Show/Hide panel and select the ruler item:

View Ruler

Position Text with the Tab key:

To move your text along, position your cursor before the J of January. Press the tab key on your keyboard. The entire line will shift to right, and January will now be lined up with your first tab stop.
Position your cursor before the letter "F" of February, and then press your tab key again. February will be lined up with your second tab stop.
Position your cursor before the letter "M" of March, and then press your tab key again. March will be lined up with your third tab stop.

Your document will now look like this:

Tabs

You can see that the three months are lined up with the three tab stops in the ruler bar at the top.

Now move your cursor down one line and watch what happens to the ruler bar at the top. The tab stops have vanished!

The tab stops have vanished because we only set them for one line - the months of the year line. To set tab stops for the numbers, highlight the same area of text as in the image below:

Highlight Text

First change the font size of the highlighted list from 12 to 10 Font Size.

With your text still highlighted, bring up the Tabs dialogue box again. Set three more tabs to the previously entered tab at the following tab stop positions: 1.31, 2.31, 3.25. Your tab dialog box should look like the picture below:

Second Tabs

You will tab your numbers as you did before but clicking the tab key twice instead of once. When you're finished, every line in the highlighted area will have tab stops at those three positions. Do that for every line of numbers. When you're done, it should look like this one:

Tabs

Word 2007