Word: Align decimal numbersFebruary 4, 2009
You have a column of numbers with a variety of lengths and decimal places. But no matter what you do with the paragraph alignment buttons, they just won’t line up properly at the decimal point.
As with most things in Word, there are a couple of ways you can solve this problem — and the critical thing you need to know is that that what you want is called a ‘decimal tab’.
The procedure for setting a decimal tab is very similar for both Word 2003 and 2007.
- Turn on the ruler if it’s not already displayed (Word 2003: View > Ruler; Word 2007: View tab > Ruler check box).
- Select the column of numbers.
- Set the column’s contents so that the ‘paragraphs’ are left-aligned.
- Click the tab icon at the top left of the ruler several times (typically three times) until it looks like this:
- Now, click in the ruler between the ‘flags’ where you want the decimal tab alignment to be.
- All your numbers are now aligned at the decimal point!
If you want to align several columns of numbers at once using the same decimal tab alignment, then the procedure is much the same:
- Select all the columns you want to align to the decimal tab and make sure the ‘paragraphs’ are left-aligned.
- Click the tab icon at the top left of the ruler until it shows the decimal tab icon.
- Click in the ruler between the grayed out ‘flags’ of the first column. All columns have the decimal tab applied to them at once.
If you don’t like using the tab icons on the ruler, then you can set a decimal tab in the Alignment section of the Tabs dialog.
To open the Tabs dialog:
- Word 2003: Format > Tabs
- Word 2007: Home tab > Paragraph group > dialog box launcher (which then opens the Paragraph dialog) > Tabs button (at the bottom left of the Paragraph dialog).