Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Word versions: 2007, 2010, and 2013. 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: Controlling Automatic Indenting.
by Allen Wyatt
(last updated February 29, 2016)
You've done it before—you are typing along, minding your own business, when you press the Tab key at the beginning of a paragraph and notice that everything in the paragraph is automatically indented. If you are like me, you probably scream a bit, and then delete the paragraph and continue typing.
What you have just experienced is the automatic indenting feature in Word. It simply means that Word assumes you want to indent the paragraph if you start it out by pressing the Tab key. So, it dutifully indents for you. If you don't like this feature and want Word to accept your tabs for exactly what they are (tabs), then you need to turn off the feature by following these steps:
Figure 1. The AutoFormat As You Type tab of the AutoCorrect dialog box.
Now any new tabs that you type are nothing but lowly tabs, and you are back in control of your backspaces.
WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (7352) applies to Microsoft Word 2007, 2010, and 2013. You can find a version of this tip for the older menu interface of Word here: Controlling Automatic Indenting.
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!
Have you ever had a line appear on your document that you can't seem to get rid of? It could be due to a built-in ...Discover More
When entering information into protected form fields, Word doesn't apply the formatting inherent in the AutoFormat As You ...Discover More
Type a few dashes, underscores, or equal signs, and you could end up with a full-width line in your document. This is normal ...Discover More
FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in WordTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."
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.