How can I use Find and Replace to change tab stop positions or clear tabs?

New Contributor

I have tabs throughout my document at 0.2, but I need to change them all to a position of 0.23. When I used Find and Replace, it added tabs at 0.23, but it failed to clear the 0.2 tabs. This despite the fact that I chose 'Clear' for the 0.2 tabs in the Replace with field.


So then I tried to just clear all the tabs at 0.2 using Find and Replace. But this time it did nothing. Neither 'Clear' nor 'Clear all' had any effect.


I have no idea what I'm doing wrong. Any help would be appreciated. Thanks!

5 Replies


You really need to be using styles. They carry tab setting and much other formatting with them. Want to change the tab setting? Change the style definition.

Importance of Styles in Word

3. Using Styles to Format Text


You will save yourself a lot of time and angst if you learn to use styles.

@Charles_Kenyon - Hi, are you saying that it's impossible to change tab stop positions or clear tabs using Find and Replace?

best response confirmed by SupplementFacts (New Contributor)



Create a style which includes a tab stop at the position you need. Obviously, the style should not include any other tab stops. 


Then search for paragraphs with a 0.2" tab stop and replace it with the style you created.




This will apply the new style and, in the process, remove paragraph formatting which is not in the paragraph style.

I am saying you are doing things the HARD WAY. I do not think, other than by use of styles, it is possible to change tab stops. It is possible to change the number of tab characters. Please, please, please, look at the links I provided.

I'm dealing with a document that contains a great many existing tab stops throughout. As far as I can tell, merely learning to use styles for future documents will not help me solve this already-existing problem.