Insert a tab in a table cell

You can indent a line of text or numbers in a table cell and set tab stops (tab stop: A location on the horizontal ruler that indicates how far to indent text or where to begin a column of text.) to specify the distance that the text is indented.

Tab stop in table cell

Indent a line of text or numbers in a table cell

  • Click in front of the line of text or numbers that you want to indent, and then press CTRL+TAB.

Set a tab stop in a table cell

By default, tab stops in Word are set at half-inch intervals. To specify other tab locations, you can set your own tab stops. When you set a tab stop in a document, a corresponding tab stop marker appears on the horizontal ruler (horizontal ruler: A bar marked off in units of measure (such as inches) that is displayed across the top of the document window.) at the top of the window.

Tab stop marker

  1. Click the cell in which you want to set a tab stop.
  2. Click Left Tab Button image at the left end of the horizontal ruler until it changes to display the type of tab you want.
  3. Select one of the following types of tabs:
Button image A Left Tab stop sets the left end of the text line. As you type, the text fills toward the right.
Button image A Center Tab stop sets the position at the middle of the text line. As you type, the text centers on this position.
Button image A Right Tab stop sets the right end of the text line. As you type, the text fills toward the left.
Button image A Decimal Tab stop aligns numbers around a decimal point. Without regard to the number of digits, the decimal point remains in the same position. (When you use this type of tab stop, you must align the numbers around a decimal character. You cannot use any other type of character — such as a comma, a hyphen, or an ampersand symbol.)
Button image A Bar Tab places a solid vertical line through selected text.
  1. Click the horizontal ruler where you want to set the tab stop.


  • Unlike other tabs, a bar tab is added as soon as you click the ruler. If you don't clear the bar tab stop before you print your document, the vertical line is printed.
  • To clear a tab stop, drag the tab marker down from the horizontal ruler.

Tip    To set tab stops by specifying precise measurements, click Tabs on the Format menu, type the measurements that you want under Tab stop position, and then click Set.

Applies to:
Word 2003