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Different Tab Stop Display in MS Word

Have you ever felt frustrated when working with MS Word’s tabs? I mean, you’re trying to set up your tab stops, but you’re finding it difficult to ensure that they are placed properly between the margins.

You’ve got the ruler displayed (View menu, Ruler choice – or – View tab on the Ribbon, check the Ruler option), but it’s still a bit of a pain to double check that you’ve got it “just right.” It’s easy to get lost in all those eighth of an inch marks or the even more abundant millimeters.

So, the next time you find yourself in the old click, hold and drag routine to place your tab stops across the top ruler and you become frustrated with the placements, give this quick trick a try!

Before you click on the tab stop to move it, hold down the Alt key.

Yep, that’s right. The whole trick is in the Alt key.

With just that one extra key, you’ll turn your usual display of tab stops (like this one):


Into a clean display like this:


What you have here is an obvious and easy to read placement guide for your tabs. (The tab stop clicked is 2.5″ from the left margin and 4″ from the right margin).

In place of the ruler, you’ll be able to read the distance the tab’s current position is from the left and right margins, which allows for an exact placement.

While holding the Alt key down, drag the tab stop back and forth across the ruler. You’ll find that the measurements adjust to your every move.

No more getting lost trying to count the millimeters, centimeters or a fraction of an inch. With a quick tap of the Alt key, you’ll have Word doing the measuring for you!