Easy-to-follow video tutorials help you learn software, creative, and business skills.Become a member
This chapter is about tabs and tables, and this movie is specifically about tabs. Let's start off by looking at the different types of tabs. Frequently misunderstood, often a cause of frustration, but once you get the hang of them they are really rather straightforward. So when you insert a Tab Stop using your keyboard, notice I have my hidden characters shown, so I can see where those tab stops are. You never want more than one consecutive tab because you can just set the position of the one tab that you have and these are the four main types of tab, Left, Center, Right, and Decimal, and each of these four types of tab are aligned in this case to the same point, and this is the result that you get.
If I put my cursor in this text frame and come to the Type menu and choose Tabs, I get a Tab Ruler above my text frame. Now if I am lucky that Tab Ruler exactly aligns with my text frame. If forever reason it doesn't, maybe it looks like this, slightly offset, you can click on the magnet, and it will snap back to align with the text frame. If that doesn't work, then close the Tab Ruler and change your view size to 100% or 200%, and it should work that.
So here we see the left-hand tab, so to insert that, I just clicked on the ruler, making sure I am clicking on a left-hand tab and then drag that over wherever it is I want it to go. Next up, Center tab looks slightly different, just above the ruler, and the right-hand tab, and finally the Decimal tab. And the Decimal tab, when you insert a decimal, or indeed it could be any character perhaps you want to align to a currency symbol, like a dollar sign or a pound sign, that's the point at which the character is aligned, and here we have just a diagram of the Tab Ruler.
As well as the more obvious uses of tabs there are some unexpected uses and a couple of different types of tabs that I have yet to mention, and one of those is the Right Indent Tab, and we see that right here, that's what it's hidden character looks like, the purpose of the Right Indent Tab is just to shunt over whatever text is to the right of the cursor, to the right-hand edge of the text frame. Shift+Tab will insert a Right Indent Tab. You can also go to it in your Insert Special Character > Other > Right Indent Tab.
Another usage of the Right Indent Tab is when you are setting up a folio for a magazine or any other type of publication where you want to have both flush left and flush right on the same line for an easy way of achieving that. As well as setting the position of the type, you can also fill in the space between the Tab Stop and its position with a particular character. This is an old trick to create some sort of reply form.
Now if you feel that the underlines, or underscores, are too heavy, then you can use an alternative approach, and that's what I have used down here, I'll show you that in just a moment. But to get the result that we have in the top example, I am going to press my Tab shortcut, Command+Shift+T. Now we can see that I have a right tab specified at the right edge of the text frame and then in the Leader field I have typed in an Underscore so that the space between the text and the Tab Stop is filled in with an underscore.
Now down here in this second example, where the underscore, or the rule, is a lot lighter in weight, that's achieved in a slightly different way, that's actually achieved using a nested style, so if we look at the tabs here, you can see I have the right tab in the same position, but there is no Leader character involved. What is involved is a Character Style. So I have set up a Character Style, I've called it line, let's just go and look at its properties. In the properties of this line character style I have edited the Underline Options where I have changed the Offset, and I have changed the Weight.
Now to incorporate that into this Paragraph Style, I have created a Nested Style. I will be talking about those more in the chapter on Paragraph Styles. But right here in Drop Caps and Nested Styles we can see that this is how this effect is achieved. I have no Character Style applied up to 1 Tab Character and the Tab Character you can see inserted right there. Thereafter, I have that line Character Style through 1 Tab Character.
Now in this case, the through is not going to matter too much, that could be a number of different delimiters and still get the same result, but on this third line, where we have three different pieces of information on the same line, then we need to go one step further, this is a separate Paragraph Style based on the first one that we saw, and this in addition to the None through 1 Tab Character and then the line Character Style, we have this option Repeat, and that just repeats, in this case, the last two styles so that we can have the rule between State and Zip and between Zip and the end of the line.
So it's just an alternative approach to a reply coupon, which if you have to make them are not that much fun, but they are necessary, so rather than using tab leaders, using a Character Style. All right, back on to tab leaders though and other instances of tab leaders. You see them frequently used in price lists to separate the text and the price itself to fill in the space, and in this case, I click on my tab--they are rather fiddly these tabs-- but there it is right there.
If we click on that, you can see it's slightly highlighted in blue to indicate that it's selected. In the Leader field, I have typed not just one period, but a period followed by a space, just to space out those dots, a bit more, which is how I prefer them. And of course this can then be incorporated into a Paragraph Style. When editing tabs, it's certainly possible to edit them through your Paragraph Style Options, but I tend to find that the Ruler that you are given here, doesn't give you much flexibility and also you can't align it over the text frame.
So for that reason, if I am changing anything about tabs that are incorporated into a Paragraph Style I prefer to do it like this. So let's say that I would like to bring that Tab Stop in a fraction, Command+Shift+T to go to my Tab Ruler, which we can see is not actually aligning with my text. So I will try the magnet that doesn't work, I will close that, I will switch to a different view size, I'll go back to my Tab Ruler, and now it does.
So let's say I want to bring these in a fraction, I will make the change to that one instance right there which is going to cause this Paragraph Style called tab leaders to be overwritten, i.e. there is something about is that is not in the style definition. Now I actually want to incorporate that into the style definitions. So I will right-click and then choose Redefine Style and then all of the instances of that Paragraph Style will be updated. So that's just on a side really on how to work with tabs once they have been incorporated into a Paragraph Style definition.
One more instance of a Tab Leader, and we see it very frequently, is its usage in a table of contents, and we have that right here and here it's being used to push out the page entry to the right-hand edge of the text frame. And while this is very common, it may not necessarily be the best solution because it does two things that may be less than desirable and those are there is an awful lot of distance between the entry and its page number so it may be difficult for the eye to track along the page, and secondly it opens up some rather unfortunate white space, even though in this case that white space is filled with dots between the entry and the page number, and that's going to very quite a lot, so here it's very short and up here it's very long.
So as an alternative to dot leaders in table of contents, you might consider instead separating the entry from the page number with nothing more than an em space, and if I now turn on my Guides, we can see the hidden character right there for an em space so that's quite a lot larger than a regular space, and I would say in many ways that's a preferable solution.
Get unlimited access to all courses for just $25/month.Become a member
119 Video lessons · 51045 Viewers
117 Video lessons · 38814 Viewers
113 Video lessons · 81603 Viewers
65 Video lessons · 11704 Viewers
Access exercise files from a button right under the course name.
Search within course videos and transcripts, and jump right to the results.
Remove icons showing you already watched videos if you want to start over.
Make the video wide, narrow, full-screen, or pop the player out of the page into its own window.
Click on text in the transcript to jump to that spot in the video. As the video plays, the relevant spot in the transcript will be highlighted.
Your file was successfully uploaded.