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When you are working with lists of items that need to be aligned to each other, tab stops are really your friend. So let's look at how to assign tabs and how to adjust them in QuarkXPress. I'm going to switch to the Magazine spreads layout in this project, and I'm going to scroll down to page 3. I'm just holding down the Option key or the Alt key on Windows, clicking and dragging. And down here, you see a nice little table that could use some tabs, and in fact, it does use some tabs. I am going to press Ctrl+Shift and click and drag to zoom that area into our window and then I'm going to go to the View menu and choose Invisibles, so that we can see exactly what was done in this text to create this effect.
What we have got here is some text that has been typed in, followed by a Tab key, followed by some more text and then a Return. And that's exactly how tabs are used in a paragraph, text, tab, text, tab, text, tab and then Return. In this case, we just have the one tab and the tab is what's creating what they call this dotted leader here. If we look down in the Tabs tab of the Measurements palette, we'll get access to all the controls for the tabs. You will notice that when I went to the Tabs area of the Measurements palette, a ruler appeared at the top of my text box.
The ruler is pretty much empty except for this one little mark at the end and that's our tab stop. If we click on that tab stop, we'll see that we have created a tab at that location in the style over here of right justified. That makes the right end of the text justified, where that tab stop is and to get that dotted leader to happen, we simply typed in a period under Fill Characters. Now if we change that to some other character like maybe an @ sign, as you can see the dotted fill becomes this other strange fill.
But let's select that tab again and change the Fill Character back to a dot, so we can have our dotted leader again. Now, this happens to be a right-aligned tab but we could also create left-aligned tabs, center-aligned tabs and even decimal-aligned tabs, meaning if you had a column of numbers, the decimal point would line up in that column of numbers even if the numbers on either side of that decimal point are larger or smaller than each other. If you prefer to have that column of numbers lined up by their commas, you can make a tab stop like this and under certain circumstances, it can be useful to use this tab stop which is an Align on and then you tell it what character you want to align it on, over here.
When you do that, whichever character you type in here is the character that will align in that column of text or numbers. Now, there are several ways to add a tab stop to a paragraph. One way is to simply select the kind of tab stop that you want here from the Measurements palette and then click somewhere on the ruler to apply it. Now notice when I click and hold I get a nice little indicator that shows me where it's going to go. When I let go, the tab is applied and as you can see, the center of this text is now under where I placed the tab stop.
To remove a tab stop, you can either click and drag it off of the ruler or you can simply click on it and press your Delete key on your keyboard and it goes away. If you want to remove all of the tabs on your ruler, you can click the Clear All button. Now, if your layout is set up so that your tabs need to be at specific places on the ruler, you can select the kind of tab stop you want down here and then type in a position and it will appear on the ruler at that position. Now, I have been working in one paragraph in adjusting the tab.
Let me go ahead and change that so you can see how once you've got one paragraph set up the way you like it, you can make the others match it and this is a trick that works for all kinds of paragraph formatting. You can click and drag to select multiple paragraphs. I'm going to Option+Shift-click on the first paragraph and notice that the tab settings and everything else from that first paragraph is applied to the other two paragraphs. It's a great trick for when you are working with just a few paragraphs and you want to set one the way you like it and then make the others match it. And I have one final tip for you.
A lot of times, you are working on a layout where your text box width isn't necessarily set in stone. You might be making the text box wider or narrower depending on what's in it and what's around it. Resetting your tabs can be a nightmare in that circumstance. So, there is a fairly hidden and very useful trick in QuarkXPress called the Right Indent tab and what that does is it aligns your text with the right side of the text box regardless of where that right side happens to be. I am going to do that right now for these paragraphs here.
The funny part about it is that it's not a specific kind of tab stop that you put on the ruler but rather it's a different way of entering that tab character down here. This tab character was entered by simply pressing the Tab key. If I hold down the Option key and press the Tab key, watch what happens. That text is now aligned to the right edge of the text box and if I make that text box wider or narrower, that text is still going to align to the right edge of the text box. It's extremely useful in many circumstances.
So I encourage you to remember Option+Tab. Now, you may be asking, why with my Option+Tab did it keep the dotted leader that I designed to this tab right here? Well, that's how it works. If you have a tab stop anywhere on the ruler and it's assigned a Fill Character like this one, that Fill Character will be adopted by the Right Indent tab that we just created by Option-clicking. So, to fix these other two, we can select this tab, press Option+Tab and now it will align to the right edge like the other one. Same thing here.
Option+Tab and now when we make our text box wider or narrower, those items are still going to align to the right edge of the box. It's a great trick and very, very useful. Tabs are one of the most simple thing to understand and yet one of the most complex things to master. At their basic level, they just line things up, but if you really learn to how to use them, you can create complex formatting in your documents very easily.
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