Most agents and publishers will request that you indent the first line of every new paragraph in your manuscript instead of using tabs. If you didn’t realize that there was a difference, read on!

Although using the tab key will make your work appear the same when you view your document, the tab stops can create problems when it gets reformatted for printing.

Paragraph window graphicTo apply the indent feature, first select all or part of the document that you want to indent. Then, right click anywhere in the document and choose the Paragraph option. A box should appear that looks like the graphic here. Make sure the Indents and Spacing tab is in view, and then go to the Indentation area and set the Special option to First Line. The measurement in the box to the right should default to 0.5″ for you.  Click OK and you should be all set.

Of course, if you need to remove tabs in an existing document, do that first. You will use the Find and Replace feature that you can call up by holding down the Control key and then clicking on the H key. In the Find area, insert a ^t in the box. I found the carat symbol over the 6 on my keyboard. Press Replace All and then apply the indents as instructed above. Click on either graphic to see it full size.

Find and Replace graphic