XL2000: CTRL+ALT+TAB Does Not Insert Tab into Active Cell

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When you press CTRL+ALT+TAB, Microsoft Excel does not insert a tab character in the active cell.


This behavior occurs because Excel 2000 uses this keystroke to apply text alignment features rather than insert cell text.

NOTE: In versions of Microsoft Excel earlier than Excel 97, you use the CTRL+ALT+TAB key combination to indent text in a cell. This keystroke inserts eight spaces in the active cell rather than a tab character.


To indent text in a cell, use any of the following methods.

Method 1: Indent the Text from the Formatting Toolbar

Select the text and click Increase Indent on the Formatting toolbar.

NOTE: If you click Increase Indent several times and the cell to the right of the active cell is blank, the text you are aligning may be positioned over the blank cell or over columns to the right of the active cell.

Method 2: Indent the Text with CTRL+ALT+TAB

Select the text and press CTRL+ALT+TAB. Each repeated use moves the text one indent further to the right. CTRL+ALT+SHIFT+TAB moves the indent back to the left.

Method 3: Indent the Text from the Format Cells Dialog Box

  1. Select the cell that contains the text you want to indent.
  2. On the Format menu, click Cells.
  3. Click the Alignment tab.
  4. In the Horizontal list, click Left (Indent) and type the amount by which you want to indent the text. Or, click the arrows in the Indent box.
  5. Click OK.


For more information about aligning text, click Microsoft Excel Help on the Help menu, type Align data in a cell in the Office Assistant or the Answer Wizard, and then click Search to view the topic.


Article ID: 212236 - Last Review: October 25, 2013 - Revision: 4.0
Applies to
  • Microsoft Excel 2000 Standard Edition
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