Tab Tab Tab…
Although most of us today will use InDesign’s table and table styles features to distribute ‘tabular’ data across the width of the page ? instead of painstakingly trying to align and set tabs ? I am for some reason compelled to write about tabs today :-) I hope it makes them feel part of InDesign again after I’ve been deserting them for a bit :)
Right Indent Tab
First there is the Right-indent tab, which is super useful when creating things like a Table of Contents, or inserting an end of paragraph character. What makes it so special is that it will always position itself towards the right side of the text frame in which it has been inserted. You can push it away from that side by either using a right indent as part of the paragraph formatting, or a right inset as part of the text frame options.
To insert a Right Indent Tab, either press Shift+Tab at the text insertion point or choose Type > Insert Special Character > Other > Right Indent Tab.
And then there is the Tab Utilities Script that installs as part of InDesign’s Script Samples (Window > Utilities > Scripts). It does a couple of things. Inserts a Right-Aligned or Left-Aligned tab into the Tabs ruler and sets Left and First-Line indentation (for the Hanging Indent at Cursor option).
Note: It’s actually not necessary to have a tab set in the Tabs ruler to create a hanging indent in InDesign, it’s sufficient to insert a tab character and set First Line and Left Indent options.
One of my favorite tab features is the repeat tab option, I used it an awful lot prior to the ‘invention of tables’ :-), and although I don’t use it as much now-a-days, it’s still kinda cool :)
The way it works is as follows: you place a tab in the Tabs (Type > Tabs) ruler and the distance from that tab to the previous tab in the Tabs ruler ? or if there is no other tab, the distance to the left margin ? is used to automatically insert additional tabs. You can use this quite visually. Insert the tab, then choose Repeat Tab from the Tabs panel menu. If the distance isn’t quite right there is no need to delete the tabs. Simply reposition the tab in the Tabs ruler that is used to set the repeating distance to a new position and choose the Repeat Tab command again.