Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Word versions: 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, and Word in Office 365. 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: Automatically Changing Tab Stops in the Footer.

Automatically Changing Tab Stops in the Footer

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated August 29, 2020)

1

Most of Chuck's documents have footers that have right-aligned information at the right margin. This information is aligned through the use of tab stops. (The footer contains information aligned to the left margin and to the right.) If Chuck changes the margins for the document, the footer no longer aligns at the right margin; it aligns at the old right margin (the one he changed). Chuck wonders if there is a way to have Word change the tab stops in his footer automatically whenever he changes the right margin for the document.

There are two ways that you can approach this problem. One way is to use a two-column, one-row table in your footer. Set the width of the table to 100% and make sure the information in the right-most cell is right aligned. When you later change the margins of the document, the table automatically adjusts width and your information is correctly aligned.

The other approach is to use "alignment tabs" for your footer information. Follow these general steps:

  1. Create your footer as you normally would, but don't set any tabs in the footer yet. (Just type the footer text.)
  2. Display the Design tab of the ribbon. (Header & Footer tab in Word 2019 or Word in Office 365) This tab is visible when you are working in the footer.
  3. Click the Insert Alignment Tab tool, in the Position group. Word displays the Alignment Tab dialog box. (See Figure 1.)
  4. Figure 1. The Alignment Tab dialog box.

  5. Specify that you want the tab alignment to be Right relative to the Margin.
  6. Specify a leader character, if desired.
  7. Click OK.

That's it; you've just set a tab stop at the right margin and it will adjust to match whatever your right margin setting may be.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (8516) applies to Microsoft Word 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, and Word in Office 365. You can find a version of this tip for the older menu interface of Word here: Automatically Changing Tab Stops in the Footer.

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. ...

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What is five more than 5?

2020-08-31 07:28:23

Guy Ivie

Just discovered that it doesn't work quite the same if you want to adjust the footer style. That tabs dialogue box doesn't contain the "Align relative to:" option. Wonder why that is? My workaround is 2 Footer styles: one for portrait letter-size pages, and one for landscape letter-size pages.

(see Figure 1 below)

Figure 1. Tabs dialogue box from Modify Styles


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