print friendly version

Questions and answers

How can I align entries in a table?

Microsoft 2016

You can align entries in a table by setting tab stops. It is better to set the tabs in the table before entering any data but if your text is already entered, then the procedure is the same.

By default, tab stops in Word are set at 1.27cm 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 at the top of the window.

   Tab stop marker       

  1. Select the cells in which you want to set a tab stop.
  2. Click Left Tab 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:

    Left tab a Left tab stop sets the left end of the text line. As you type, the text fills toward the right.

    Centre tab A Centre Tab stop sets the position at the middle of the text line. As you type, the text centres on this position.

    Right tab A Right Tab stop sets the right end of the text line. As you type, the text fills toward the left

    Decimal tab 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.

    Bar tab A Bar Tab places a solid vertical line through selected text.

  4. Click the horizontal ruler where you want to set the tab stop


Pressing the tab key in a table, Word positions the cursor in the next cell. Pressing  Ctrl + Tab, Word positions the cursor at that tab stop within the cell.


 Note:  To clear a tab stop, drag the tab marker down from the horizontal ruler.



Help us to improve this answer

Please suggest an improvement
(login needed, link opens in new window)

Your views are welcome and will help other readers of this page.


This is question number 312, which appears in the following categories:

Created by Jason Bailey on 27 July 2001 and last updated by Adrian Chorlton on 1 August 2016