How to Tab in LaTeX: Quickstart Guide

LaTeX is an incredible math writing and formatting tool. There are a few easy ways to tab and indent paragraphs. You can try the tabbing environment to set your own tab stops. Or, use quad and hspace to insert predefined spaces. This minHour shows you how to tab in LaTeX.

Using the Tabbing Environment

Type begin{tabbing}.

This will initiate the tabbing environment in your LaTeX code. This method manually sets tab stops in your text.

  • If you’re just getting started, check out our guides on installing LaTeX and coding.

Type the first line of text.

This is just normal text that we’ll add tab stops to in the next step.

  • Make sure to end each line of text with \ to end the line and start a new line.

Insert = for tab stops.

Place this syntax in the first line of text wherever you want there to be tab stops.

Type the second line of text.

This is normal text in which we’ll add tab stop advances. Don’t forget to add a \ at the end!

Insert > for tab stop advances.

Place this syntax in the second line of text where you want the text to be inline with the tab stops placed in the first line.

  • After this, you can repeat this process with new lines of text until you’ve completed your document.

Type end{tabbing}.

Type this code after the end of your text to close tabbing mode. You’re done!

  • As you continue your math journey, check out our guide on how to learn math for general tips!

Using quad

Insert quad.

This code will create a space of 18 mu wherever you place it. This is great for consistent paragraph indenting.

  • “mu” is a LaTeX length unit equal to 1/18 em. An “em” is about the width of an uppercase “M” in the font you’re using.

Insert qquad.

This code has a space length of 36 mu, twice the length of quad. This is great for organizing text by using indentation to indicate nesting.

Using hspace

Insert hspace{5cm}.

This code will create a space 5 centimeters (cm) wide. This is great for creating spacing dependent on length rather than font (unlike quad).

  • Vary the distance inside the {} to get the spacing you need. You can use multiple hspace of different lengths to organize your text.

Insert hfill.

This code fills the remaining space in the line of text (to the right-side margin). This is helpful if you’re writing a resume in LaTex and you want to right-align the dates.

  • For example, if you type:Hello hfill World
  • Hello hfill World
  • “Hello” will be on the left side of the text box, and “World” will be on the right side, against the right margin.

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