The decimal tab does not just align decimal points in numbers—you can assign any character to align. For instance, you might want the dollar signs to align, or the right brackets, or a bullet.
Task 8 Align text to a decimal point
This exercise involves numbers with the decimal point in various places.
- Create a new text frame about five inches wide.
Type the following text in 10-point type, hitting the Tab key once to move to the next column, whether it aligns or not at this point. Hit Enter or Return at the end of each line.
- Select the heading line (“Original Planet,” etc.) and set left-aligned tabs for the two headings that label the numbers columns.
- Select the lines with numbers and set decimal tabs so the numbers are visually centered under their headings (choose the decimal tab symbol, then click in the ruler).
Task 9 Align text to a character
Don’t limit yourself to aligning text on a period. When you use a decimal tab, it actually aligns the text according to the symbol that is in the “Align On” field, which by default is a period. But you can type or paste any character into that little field and have your text align with it.
- Create a text frame about 3 inches wide; choose 10-point type.
Type the text below, hitting a tab at the beginning of each line. At the moment, the tab will go to the default ½-inch marker. That’s okay.
To type the heart in Zapf Dingbats, see pages ch02sec1lev9 on using the Glyphs panel (or feel free to use any dingbat you want).
- Open the Tabs panel and click the magnet to snap it to the frame.
- Select all the text.
- Single-click on the decimal tab to select it. Once it is selected, the “Align On” field is available.
Copy the heart from the text; click in the “Align On” field and paste it in. All the heart symbols are aligned. (If they are not aligned, show the hidden characters to make sure you hit a tab at the beginning of each line.)