Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Word versions: 2007, 2010, 2013, and 2016. If you are using an earlier version (Word 2003 or earlier), this tip may not work for you. For a version of this tip written specifically for earlier versions of Word, click here: Using Leaders with Tab Stops.

Using Leaders with Tab Stops

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated April 23, 2016)

1

You probably already know how to insert tab stops in a paragraph. Word allows you to control what characters are inserted in the otherwise blank area created by the tab. These characters are called leaders, and are controlled with the Tabs command from the Format dialog box. Leaders are often used with right-aligned tabs or decimal tabs, particularly when the text column is quite wide and the tab will cover a wide area. To use leaders with tab stops, follow these steps:

  1. Position the insertion point in the paragraph whose tabs you wish to set or alter.
  2. Display the Home tab of the ribbon.
  3. Click the small icon at the bottom-right of the Paragraph group. Word displays the Paragraph dialog box.
  4. Click the Tabs button. Word displays the Tabs dialog box. (See Figure 1.)
  5. Figure 1. The Tabs dialog box.

  6. Enter a tab stop measurement and alignment. (You can also select the measurement of an existing tab stop, if desired.)
  7. Select a leader from the four choices offered.
  8. Click on Set.
  9. Repeat steps 5 through 7 for each tab stop you want to set.
  10. Click on OK.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (6709) applies to Microsoft Word 2007, 2010, 2013, and 2016. You can find a version of this tip for the older menu interface of Word here: Using Leaders with Tab Stops.

Author Bio

Allen Wyatt

With more than 50 non-fiction books and numerous magazine articles to his credit, Allen Wyatt is an internationally recognized author. He is president of Sharon Parq Associates, a computer and publishing services company. ...

MORE FROM ALLEN

Printing without Track Changes Marks

If your document has a lot of markup visible in it, you may want to print a copy of the document that doesn't reflect ...

Discover More

Controlling Display of Toolbar Buttons

You can assign your macros to a series of custom toolbar buttons, but you may only want those buttons to be visible when ...

Discover More

Turning Off Figure Caption Numbering

Ever want to use Word's automatic figure captioning feature, without the numbering? While there isn't a way to make this ...

Discover More

Learning Made Easy! Quickly teach yourself how to format, publish, and share your content using Word 2013. With Step by Step, you set the pace, building and practicing the skills you need, just when you need them! Check out Microsoft Word 2013 Step by Step today!

More WordTips (ribbon)

Changing Default Tab Stops

If you don't explicitly set tab stops in a paragraph, Word relies upon a default tab stop distance. You can adjust that ...

Discover More

Aligning Text on a Specific Character

Want to use tab stops to align text according to the position of a certain character? It's easy to do if that character ...

Discover More

Deleting All Tab Stops

Tab stops can be helpful when you want to align text within a paragraph. However, you might also want an easy way to get ...

Discover More
Subscribe

FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in WordTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

View most recent newsletter.

Comments

If you would like to add an image to your comment (not an avatar, but an image to help in making the point of your comment), include the characters [{fig}] in your comment text. You’ll be prompted to upload your image when you submit the comment. Maximum image size is 6Mpixels. Images larger than 600px wide or 1000px tall will be reduced. Up to three images may be included in a comment. All images are subject to review. Commenting privileges may be curtailed if inappropriate images are posted.

What is three minus 2?

2017-03-08 11:47:06

JC

How can you set up the decimal tab to always have leader dots? How can I make leader dots the default on a decimal tab? I'd like to be able to click on the decimal icon in that little box on the left of the screen and when I click it on the ruler it automatically includes the leader dots when I use it. It would save so much more time than going to the paragraph box all the time. We use tabs with leader dots a lot, so I'd like to know a way to do this.

Thanks!


This Site

Got a version of Word that uses the ribbon interface (Word 2007 or later)? This site is for you! If you use an earlier version of Word, visit our WordTips site focusing on the menu interface.

Newest Tips
Subscribe

FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in WordTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

(Your e-mail address is not shared with anyone, ever.)

View the most recent newsletter.