How To Set Tabs In Google Docs

How to Set Tabs in Google Docs for Better Readability

Google Docs is a multi-purpose, flexible platform letting you create a wide range of documents, including letters, reports, whitepapers, and more. Indentation plays a vital role in aligning the text and improving the readability of text in a document. Perhaps, Google Docs lets you set tabs in a few clicks. 

So how do you set tabs in Google Docs?

Press the Tab key to indent only the first line of a paragraph. To indent the paragraph on the whole, click Format -> Align and indent -> Increase/decrease Indent. However, if you’d like to set a tab stop for the entire document, you must drag the ruler based on your preference. 

Now that could sound like Greek and Latin to a novice. To help you further in this process, we’ve laid out a detailed article addressing different ways to set tabs in Google Docs. Let’s begin!

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Purpose of Tab Stop In Google Docs

Tab stops are a great way to format text quickly in Google Docs. Tab stops allow you to add vertical or horizontal document divisions and align text.

Imagine that you’re writing a letter to someone. You may only have to indent the first word of each paragraph. However, that’s not the same if you’re working on a manual where you must indent and set margins to the whole document. That’s where a tab stop comes into the picture. 

Using tabs stops is a great way to quickly organize information into easily readable segments without manually adjusting the spacing between words or lines of text.

How To Set Tabs In Google Docs

There are different ways to set tabs in Google Docs. Once you’ve identified the document type, it’s time to decide how to set tabs. 

Keyboard Shortcut

Tab key on keyboard
Tab key on keyboard

The easiest way to set a tab is to place your cursor at the required position and press the Tab key. This will automatically indent the word. 

Indentation Option

When you’d like to add an anecdote or indent multiple paragraphs, using the conventional procedure is essential. 

Choose the text that needs to be indented. 

  1. Click Format -> Align and indent. 
Indenting paragraph
Indenting paragraph

2. Click Increase Indent or Decrease Indent based on the purpose. 

Note that the hanging indent is totally different and is appropriate for academic documents that adhere to APA formatting. 


If you’d like to set a tab stop to the document on the whole, head on to the Ruler area that’s beneath the menu bar. 


You can see markers on the left and right margins of the document. Drag each of them based on your requirement. You can notice that the text in the document automatically aligns and maintains a consistent look.

Final Thoughts

Setting tab stops can sound like a technical term, but the procedure is as simple as dragging the ruler and updating the indent from the format option. You can also set the document as a template and replicate the same to the rest of the documents. 

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