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Tabs

If you've ever typed on a typewriter, you've probably encountered tabs. A tab is a jump-to signal in the form of a keyboard character. For example, if you're typing along and press the Tab key, the text cursor jumps to the next tab stop along the line. On a computer, the Tab key actually inserts an invisible character that you can delete or cut (or anything else you can do with characters). You can place tab stops anywhere you like across the text column. Tab stops are paragraph-level formatting attributes, so each paragraph can have a different set of tab stops. If you don't specify your own tab stops, QuarkXPress sets default stops every half-inch across the text box.

Tip

Don't Use Space Where You Really Want Tabs. Have you ever tried to align multiple columns using the spacebar? If you have, you have probably known frustration like no other frustration known to desktop publishers. I call it the “it-works-on-a-typewriter” syndrome. It's true; you can line up columns on a typewriter with spaces. But you shouldn't in desktop publishing. The reason has to do with fonts.

On most standard typewriters, the font you're using is a monospaced font. That means each and every character in the font is the same width. However, most typefaces on the Macintosh are not monospaced. Therefore, you cannot rely on an equal number of characters always spanning an equal distance. Figure 6-34 shows this phenomenon clearly. So don't use multiple spaces when you're trying to align columns. In fact, don't use multiple spaces ever. Use tabs.

Figure 6-34. Using spaces for alignment




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