How to Use the Bar Tab in Word 2016

By Dan Gookin

Aside from being a most excellent pun, the bar tab isn’t a true tab stop in Word 2016. Instead, consider it a text decoration. Setting a bar tab merely inserts a vertical bar in a line of text, as shown here. Using a bar tab is much better than using the pipe (|) character on the keyboard to create a vertical line in a multicolumn list.

The mysterious bar tab.

The mysterious bar tab.

To set a bar tab stop, follow these steps:

  1. Click the Tab gizmo until the bar tab stop appears.

    The Bar Tab Stop icon is shown here.


  2. Click the ruler to place the bar tab stop.

    At each position, a vertical bar appears in the text. The bar appears whether or not the current line contains any tab characters.

To best use the bar tab stop, mix in a few other tab stops. For example, in the figure, left tab stops are set to the side of each bar tab stop. The effect is that text is organized into columns, but the bar tab serves only to decorate the text. It has no effect otherwise.