Alignment tab

Sue Woolley
by Sue Woolley

Tabs in Word all align text to a fixed horizontal position on the page, right? Wrong!

From Word 2007 onwards a special type of tab stop called an alignment tab has been introduced. You can use the alignment tab in headers and footers to automatically readjust the position of the text depending on the margins or page orientation.

Prior to the introduction of the alignment tab, every time you changed the margins in a document or changed the page orientation from portrait to landscape, you had to fiddle with the headers and footers to get them to line up with the new settings. Now you can set tabs that are always aligned with the centre of the page or the right margin. And if the page setup changes, so does the tab position. Magic!

Note: If you’re interested in learning how to change page orientation or margins from one page to the next, see Rachel’s article Introduction to sections.

A typical footer might look like this:

Example of footer with text left, centered and right aligned

To create a footer like the one above:

  1. In the Header & Footer section of the Insert tab, select Footer > Edit Footer.
  2. Type the text you want on the left hand side of the footer – Document name in the above example.
  3. In the Header & Footer Tools Design tab, select Insert Alignment Tab.
    Header & Footer Tools Design tab
  4. Select the options shown below and click OK.
    Alignment tab window
  5. Type the text you want in the centre of the footer and repeat steps 3 and 4, but select Right alignment instead of Centre.
  6. Complete the footer by typing the text for the right hand part of the footer.
  7. Click Close Header and Footer to close the footer and return to the document.
    Close Header and Footer

This method works equally well with your header.

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