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I'm not sure what's going on here, but whenever I go to a new line, tab doesn't work. It doesn't work in other lines of the same paragraph either, but if I go back to a previous paragraph, hit tab, delete the tab in that paragraph, and then go down to where I want the tab, it lets me do it. But then the problem will pop up again in the next paragraph.

How can I fix this problem and what is causing it?

After further experimentation, I've found that just clicking into another paragraph and clicking back does the trick, most of the time anyway.

After even more experimentation, I've discovered that by inserting a blank line at the end of the document, I can solve the problem for the most part. It usually only occurs when I'm trying to put a tab on the last line of a document. However, this isn't a perfect solution and I'm still having the issue sometimes.

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2 Answers 2

It's hard to tell exactly what's going on without seeing the document and Word itself, or maybe screenshots showing the Word window including UI when the problem is occurring, and when the problem is not occurring. But let me make an informed guess.

Fix the problem by going to the paragraph where the problem occurs. Move the pointer to the blank vertical space just to the left of the text; the pointer will switch to an arrow pointing "northeast" (up and to the right). Click in the blank space; the entire paragraph will be selected. Select Edit... Clear... Clear Formatting. Then select Format... Style...*; the Style dialog box appears. In the list **Styles, select Normal. Then click Apply. The content of the misbehaving paragraph should change, and the tabs should work as expected now.

What I suspect is happening is that the final paragraph of the document is set to some style with unexpected tab stops. Your workarounds have the effect of changing the formatting or the style of the final paragraph, getting expected behaviour. But I expect that the style also specifies that the "next paragraph" will have the same oddly-behaving style. This is why the problem recurs every time you add a paragraph.

The more comprehensive fix is to understand the styles your document uses, and to improve them. Microsoft has a tutorial Format text with styles which might be helpful place to start.

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In Word Preferences | View | Nonprinting Characters |

Click on all - see if you are typing in the middle of some weird formatting.

Additionally, if you have field codes you might be trying to edit those. Turn on the highlight field code preferences in the same preference pane.

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