10 Replies Latest reply on May 22, 2017 8:23 AM by BarbBinder

    Tab panel doesn't work

    monica laura7



      I am quite new in InDesign (working for few months). I downloaded a version  InDesign CC 9 and I realize that the Tab panel doesn't work. It doesn't have any effect upon the text. The Leader cannot be modified and the paragraph can't be indented.

      Has someone faced this issue before? Is it something I could change in the Preferences or elsewhere?

      Thanks for your help.

        • 1. Re: Tab panel doesn't work
          Steve Werner Adobe Community Professional & MVP

          Here's a few things to watch for when you start using the Tabs panel (refer to the screen capture below):


          (1) Make sure you have the text selected to which you want to apply the tabs.


          (2) Make sure you have tab characters entered between the columns of the tabular material. To make sure choose Type > Show Hidden Characters.


          (3) Open the Tabs panel (Type > Tabs). There needs to be enough space above the text so it can properly align with the edge of the text.


          (4) Choose your tab alignment icon at the left end of the Tabs panel. Then click above the ruler to insert it. The illustration shows a center-aligned tab. You can also enter a precise value for the tab in the X field as shown.


          InDesign CC343.png

          • 2. Re: Tab panel doesn't work
            monica laura7 Level 1

            Thank you for the answer.

            All these settings are in order, I do all I'm supposed to do, but it still doesn't work. It doesn't move the text. In plus, when I add space between words, the dotted leader comes automatically, even though the Leader box is empty. I have no Style applied, I also checked the Preferences, but I couldn't find the root of this problem. It looks like the Tab panel has no connection with my text...  

            • 3. Re: Tab panel doesn't work
              Steve Werner Adobe Community Professional & MVP

              You said you "checked the Preferences." Did you try restoring your preferences as described below:


              Trash, Replace, Reset, or Restore the application Preferences

              • 4. Re: Tab panel doesn't work
                BarbBinder Adobe Community Professional

                Sharing a screen shot of your text with the Tabs panel open (just like Steve's screen shot above) would be helpful here. Notice that he also has hidden characters showing (Type > Show Hidden Characters), and be sure the text is selected.

                • 5. Re: Tab panel doesn't work
                  monica laura7 Level 1

                  I don't seem to be able to link the tab panel to the text. The text simply doesn't react to any action in the Tab.

                  And I can't delete the leader between words. As you can see in the capture, I let the leader box empty, but when I add space between words, it comes automatically. Am I missing something here? 

                  Thanks for your help.

                  • 6. Re: Tab panel doesn't work
                    BarbBinder Adobe Community Professional

                    You don't have a tab after Brunton or Hesse, you have spacebar spaces. Remove those blue dots and replace with the Tab character. It will look like  >> and will respond to the tab you have selected in the screenshot.


                    Top two rows show the spaces, the bottom two rows show the tabs:

                    InDesign CCss_009.png

                    If you need help refining the tab alignment or position, just come back and let us know.

                    1 person found this helpful
                    • 7. Re: Tab panel doesn't work
                      Steve Werner Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                      Tab characters are made by pressing the Tab key (usually to the left of the Q key on English keyboards).

                      • 8. Re: Tab panel doesn't work
                        Laubender Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                        Hi Monica,


                        as Barbara already said and beautifully illustrated:


                        That cannot work, because there are no tabulator characters between the entries.
                        Instead there are multiple blank characters. Watch the tiny blue dots indicating this. The color of the dots could change if you are working on a different layer and the layer color is different in the Layers panel.


                        For more text you have to change, you could convert multiple blank characters to a tabulator character using GREP or TEXT Find/Change. Depending on your needs to get multiple tabulator characters in a row for one row of blank characters, you'd chose GREP over TEXT for a more precise Find/Change action.


                        The following GREP example would do one single tabulator character out of 2 or more blank characters:


                        GREP Find 2 or more of the same. The same is a blank character encoded as: \x{20}  *



                        GREP Replace with tabulator character represented as: \t


                        * Usually you could also work with blanks in the editing fields, but I would not recommend it.
                        The encoding written as Unicode value is for better visibility, because In the editing field for Find/Change you cannot see any hidden characters. ( Hm. That would be a fantastic feature request: Provide visibility of hidden characters in Find/Change editing fields… )



                        1. Double-check that you do not include any extra blank characters in your GREP Find or Replace editing fields.

                        2. Restrict the action to: "Selected Text" if you are trying this the first time. And perhaps do the replacement step by step.


                        Depending on your needs, you could also decide that e.g. every 4 white space characters should be replaced with one single tabulator. So that 8 blanks in a row would be changed to 2 tabulators. That is also doable and can be handled very flexible with GREP Find/Change. But as I can see from your text sample one could not build on a rule like that, because in the first paragraph its 4 blanks and in the second its 3 blanks for deviding the name from the book title. So its better to replace the whole range of blanks to one tabulator.



                        1 person found this helpful
                        • 9. Re: Tab panel doesn't work
                          monica laura7 Level 1

                          Yes, thank you, the problem is solved. I replaced the Space ch with Tab and it worked fine.

                          • 10. Re: Tab panel doesn't work
                            BarbBinder Adobe Community Professional

                            Yay! Tabs are not intuitive—glad you were able to get them working.