Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Word versions: 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, Word in Microsoft 365, and 2021. 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: Setting Decimal Tabs in a Table Using the Keyboard.

Setting Decimal Tabs in a Table Using the Keyboard

Written by Allen Wyatt (last updated May 18, 2024)
This tip applies to Word 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, Word in Microsoft 365, and 2021


If you love using the keyboard, you may wonder if there is a way to set decimal tabs in a table using the keyboard. Unfortunately, there is no simple, fast keystroke to set the decimal tabs. The best way is to use the regular accelerator keys that Word uses. You would follow these steps:

  1. If you want to set the tab stop in each cell of the current table, press Alt+5 to select the entire table. (That's the 5 key on the numeric keypad, provided Num Lock is not engaged. You can also, if desired, press Alt+A, C, T.)
  2. Press Alt+O, T. Word displays the Tabs dialog box. (See Figure 1.)
  3. Figure 1. The Tabs dialog box.

  4. Type the measurement for where the tab should appear.
  5. Press Alt+D to indicate this is a decimal tab.
  6. Press Alt+S to set the tab.
  7. Press Enter to dismiss the Tabs dialog box.

If you would rather not go through such an easy-to-remember process (grin), then you can also create a macro that will do the trick, and assign the macro to a shortcut key. The following is an example of a simple VBA macro that would do the job:

Sub SetDecimal()
    Dim MyTab As String

    MyTab = InputBox("Location (inches):", "Set Decimal Tab")
    If Val(MyTab) > 0 Then
        With Selection.ParagraphFormat.TabStops
            .ClearAll
            .Add Position:=InchesToPoints(Val(MyTab)), _
                Alignment:=wdAlignTabDecimal, _
                Leader:=wdTabLeaderSpaces
        End With
    End If
End Sub

This macro, which should be run after the cell or column is selected, prompts the user to enter a value for the new tab stop, clears all the existing tabs in the selection, and then sets the desired decimal tab stop.

Note:

If you would like to know how to use the macros described on this page (or on any other page on the WordTips sites), I've prepared a special page that includes helpful information. Click here to open that special page in a new browser tab.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (11758) applies to Microsoft Word 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, Word in Microsoft 365, and 2021. You can find a version of this tip for the older menu interface of Word here: Setting Decimal Tabs in a Table Using the Keyboard.

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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