Align text and adjust spacing

You can use tab stops to align text. When you press the Tab key (or Option-Tab when you’re working in a table cell), the insertion point and any text to the right of it move to the next tab stop, and text you enter starts at that point.

You can adjust paragraphs in a page, column, table cell, text box, or shape so that text is aligned to the left or right border, centered, or aligned on both left and right (justified).

Set paragraph margins

  1. Click in a paragraph, or select one or more paragraphs.

  2. Drag the blue margin and paragraph indent markers to where you want them.

  3. To increase or decrease the indent of an entire paragraph, click one of the default indent buttons in the Format inspector.

    Paragraph alignment options

    If you don’t see the alignment buttons, click the Style button near the top of the inspector.

You can set default paragraph indents in the Layout pane of the Format inspector:

Layout pane of the Format inspector, showing controls for indents and margins.

Set tab stops

  1. Click or select the paragraphs where you want to set tab stops.

  2. Click the ruler where you want to place a tab stop.

    If you don’t see the ruler at the top of the document, click View in the toolbar, then choose Show Ruler.

  3. To change the tab stop alignment, double-click the tab stop icon. Keep double-clicking until you see the alignment you want.

  4. To change the position of the tab stop, drag its icon along the ruler.

    To remove a tab stop, drag the tab stop icon below the ruler until it disappears.

You can also set default spacing for tabs and make other tab settings. In the Text pane of the Format inspector, click Layout, then use the controls in the Tabs section to make changes.

Controls for setting tab stops

Adjust line spacing

You can adjust the spacing between lines in a paragraph, and change the amount of space before or after a paragraph.

  1. Click in the paragraph whose spacing you want to change, or select one or more paragraphs.

  2. In the Text pane of the Format inspector, click the Style button.

  3. Click the disclosure triangle next to Spacing, then choose an option from the pop-up menu:

    • Lines: Choose when the distance between ascenders (parts of letters that extend to the top of the line) and descenders (parts of letters that extend below the line) should stay the same. The space between lines is proportional to the font size.

    • At least: Choose when the distance between lines should remain fixed (but not overlap if the text gets large).The distance from one line to the next will never be less than the value you set, but it may be larger for larger fonts to prevent overlapping text lines.

    • Exactly: The distance between the baselines.

    • Between: The value you set increases the space between the lines, instead of increasing the height of the lines. By contrast, double-spacing doubles the height of each line.

  4. Click the arrows next to the spacing field to set the amount of space for the option you chose.

  5. To adjust the amount of space before and after the selected paragraph, click the arrows for Before Paragraph and After Paragraph