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: Deleting Tab Stops.

Deleting Tab Stops

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated May 3, 2016)

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There may be times when you don't want to clear all the tab stops in your document—you only want to clear a few of them. To clear individual tab stops for a paragraph, follow these steps:

  1. Make sure the insertion point is in the paragraph whose tabs you wish to clear.
  2. Display the Tabs dialog box. (Display the Home tab of the ribbon, click the small icon at the bottom-right of the Paragraph group, then click Tabs.) (See Figure 1.)
  3. Figure 1. The Tabs dialog box.

  4. In the tab list below the Tab Stop Position box, select the tab stop you want to clear.
  5. Click on Clear.
  6. Repeat steps 3 and 4 for each tab stop you want to clear.
  7. Click on OK.

If you have the ruler displayed on-screen, then you can also delete tabs by following these steps:

  1. Make sure the insertion point is in the paragraph whose tabs you wish to clear.
  2. Use the horizontal scroll bar to scroll left or right until you can see the offending tab on the ruler.
  3. On the ruler, click on the tab indicator and drag it off the ruler. When you release the mouse button, the tab should disappear from the ruler.
  4. Repeat steps 2 and 3 for each tab stop you wish to clear.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (12694) applies to Microsoft Word 2007, 2010, and 2013. You can find a version of this tip for the older menu interface of Word here: Deleting 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. ...

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What is eight minus 7?

2016-05-04 17:47:44

Peter Kirkpatrick

@Christina, It depends what you mean by "clear the tab". To take the example in the screen shot above, the 2.6" tab is selected. But if you 'clear' it by hitting the delete button, that won't remove the tab. You need first to click on the 2.6" tab in the list BELOW the Tab stop position field. THEN click the Clear button. (See step 3 in the instructions above.)


2016-05-03 11:37:16

Christina Vigil

I have 2007 Word, and the first set of directions don't work for me. I am in the same paragraph, do exactly as directions say, clear the tab, hit clear, hit okay. Nothing happens. Stays exactly the same.


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