Learn how to use tab stops, not spaces, to control horizontal alignment of text in Google Docs.
Spaces and tabs both add distance between characters in a Google Doc. By default, each tap of the tab key advances your cursor to the nearest half-inch mark in a Google Doc, and every press of the space bar adds the self-descriptive space between letters. The actual space added, however, will vary depending on the font and font size. A fixed-width, or monospace, font consists of characters all of equal width, while other fonts include characters of different widths.
When you want to align text horizontally to a specific spot in your document, you’ll want to use custom tab stops. For example, you might use a center tab stop to align years in a position. If you were to use spaces, any change to the text in the line–or any modification of the font size–might disrupt your carefully spaced content. Use a tab stop, instead of spaces, whenever you wish to horizontally align text in a Google Doc, as described below.
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Note: While existing tab stops properly align and display text within the Google Docs mobile apps on Android and iOS, you’ll need to access Docs in a desktop-class browser to create and/or edit tab stops.
How to add a tab stop in a Google Doc
1. Activate the ruler. Choose View | Show Ruler to toggle the display of rulers in a Google Doc (Figure A). This setting controls rulers that appear both above the top of the document and to the left of the document.