Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Word versions: 2007 and 2010. 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: Quickly Changing Tab Alignment.

Quickly Changing Tab Alignment

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated March 21, 2017)

2

Word allows you to insert tabs of all types in your paragraphs. If you use styles, changing the alignment of tab stops in a particular type of paragraph is very easy. It can be more difficult if you use explicit (non-style) formatting, however.

For instance, let's say you have a hundred different paragraphs in your document, and each of them has a left-aligned tab stop at 2.25 inches. What if you want to change that tab stop so it is centered instead? Well, you could select each paragraph and manually make the change, or you could follow these steps:

  1. Press Ctrl+H. Word displays the Replace tab of the Find and Replace dialog box. (See Figure 1.)
  2. Figure 1. The Replace tab of the Find and Replace dialog box.

  3. Make sure the insertion point is in the Find What box and that it contains no text.
  4. Click on the Format button. (You may need to click on More before you can see the Format button.) Word displays a list of format options.
  5. Choose Tabs from the options presented. Word displays the Find Tabs dialog box. (See Figure 2.)
  6. Figure 2. The Find Tabs dialog box.

  7. In the Tab Stop Position dialog box, type 2.25.
  8. Click on Set.
  9. Click on OK. The text Tabs: 2.25" now appears below the Find What box.
  10. Move the insertion point to the Replace With box and make sure it contains no text.
  11. Click on the Format button. Word displays a list of format options.
  12. Choose Tabs from the options presented. Word displays the Replace Tabs dialog box. (See Figure 3.)
  13. Figure 3. The Replace Tabs dialog box.

  14. In the Tab Stop Position dialog box, type 2.25.
  15. In the Alignment area, choose Center.
  16. Click on Set.
  17. Click on OK. The text Tabs: 2.25" Centered now appears below the Replace With box.
  18. Click on Replace All.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (11968) applies to Microsoft Word 2007 and 2010. You can find a version of this tip for the older menu interface of Word here: Quickly Changing Tab Alignment.

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 nine minus 5?

2012-07-29 04:03:05

Colin Cummings

This is a wonderful tip, I have always thought that tabs were set in stone so I always told my students to be careful when using tab stops to create lists. This certainly opens up my vists (pun intended)


2012-07-28 14:13:37

Janis

Good Grief! Self-taught Word user for years, and think I know a lot, but it is amazing how some things just never draw your attention. I have used the "more" option to find highlighted text but I never tried out the other options or realized the replace feature worked like this. I have already tested it on headings and a couple of other frequent problems. I edit documents that others get into and mess up styles and formatting on regularly, so this will change my life! Thanks


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