How to align index numbers

Due to your lack of knowledge of the computer world, you have never particularly loved Word , LibreOffice , Pages and all the other word processors. This time, however, you were forced to use one to carry out a school research.

Contrary to any prediction, you have done a job with all the trimmings: the only problem is that, not knowing about the automatic function included in Word, you wrote the index of your document “by hand”, obtaining a really bad list to look at, with the page numbers completely misaligned. Unfortunately it is a classic but, fear not, it is a very minor problem.

What do you say, indeed, if we solve the situation immediately and see, together, how to align the numbers of the index ? I promise you that you won’t have to rewrite anything and you won’t have to make any effort. All you will need is word processing software and a few minutes of free time. For the rest, all you have to do is follow the directions below and put them into practice. All that remains for me is to wish you good reading and good work!


  • How to align index numbers in Word
    • Microsoft Word
    • Word Online
    • Word app
  • How to align index numbers in LibreOffice
  • How to align index numbers in OpenOffice
  • How to align index numbers in Pages
  • How to align index numbers in Google Docs

How to align index numbers in Word

If you want to find out how to align the index numbers in Word , all you have to do is follow the directions I will give you in the next chapters, regarding the desktop version of Word, the Word Online web platform and the Word app for smartphones and tablets. .

Microsoft Word

To align the index numbers on Microsoft Word , all you have to do is select all the index entries with the mouse, right-click anywhere in the text and choose the Paragraph entry from the menu that appears. The indications are valid for all editions of Word, more or less recent, both for Windows and for macOS.

In the window that opens, click on the Tabs button located at the bottom left and proceed to set tabs, so that the numbers in your index are all aligned in the same way. To obtain this result, type the number 16.98 in the Tabs position field , put the check mark next to the items To the right and None and click on the Set button .

Then repeat the same operation by typing the number 16 in the Tab stop position field , putting the check mark next to the items To the left and 2…. and click the Set button first and then OK to save the changes.

As you can easily understand, if you prefer other filler characters to dots, such as longer dots or dashes, you can select one of the other options present in Word’s tab settings. Furthermore, if the values ​​in Tab position position are then not adequate, you can always highlight the entire index and move the appropriate delimiters on the ruler (the menu View> Ruler ).

Once you’ve set the tabs, you’re ready to align the index numbers in your document, acting in slightly different ways depending on how you initially set up your index.

If you have created an index where the chapter names and page numbers are separated by spaces only (e.g. Chapter 1 page 1 ; Chapter 2 page 2 etc.), place the Word cursor at the end of each chapter name and press in sequence the Space and Tab keys on your PC keyboard to align the numbers and separate them from the chapter names with dots.

If, on the other hand, you have already inserted dots to separate the page numbers from the chapter names in your index (eg Chapter 1 ………… 1 ; Chapter 2 ………… 2 etc.), position the Word cursor at the end of the dots of each item in the list and press the Tab key on the keyboard to get a perfect alignment.

I know: the whole process is a bit cumbersome, it would definitely be better to use Word’s auto index feature (which I told you about in detail in my guide on how to insert an index in Word ), but if you don’t want to lose too much time or make your previous work with so much effort useless, there is no better solution.

Word Online

The manual procedure for aligning the index numbers in Word Online is almost similar to the one already seen in the previous chapter concerning the desktop version of Microsoft Word. But let’s see in detail how to proceed.

Therefore, log in to Word Online via this link and log in with your Microsoft account . Once this is done, open the document that contains the index to be aligned and select with the mouse all the characters of the latter. Now, right-click on the selected text and, in the box that you see, select the items Paragraph Options> Tab Options .

At this point, in the screen that is shown to you, set tab values, in a similar way to what you did for the desktop counterpart of Word. Unfortunately, at the moment the values ​​can only be entered in the unit of measurement ” inches ” and not in ” centimeters “. But don’t worry, follow the below carefully.

Press the Add button and, in the appropriate boxes that are shown to you, indicate the value 6.69 in Position , Right in Alignment and None in Fill characters . Once this is done, press the Add button again and fill in the new line indicating the value 6 in Position , Left in Alignment and (…) in Fill characters (or any other symbol you prefer in the drop-down menu). Then press the OK button to conclude and save the changes.

Again, if the chapters from the page numbers are separated only by a space, simply press the Tab key on the keyboard, to set the previously configured tab. I remind you that by pressing on the menu items at the top View> Ruler , you can see the tab delimiters on the ruler and, by dragging them, you can correct any alignment errors (however first highlight all the index text).

Word app

If you want to align the index numbers instead through the Word app for Android (also available on alternative stores ) or iPhone / iPad , I must warn you that you cannot use any of the features already illustrated in the previous chapters on Microsoft Word or Word Online . In fact, the Microsoft app is quite limited in its functionality, but you can still work with a special stratagem to succeed in this your intent.

First, start the Word app and open the document containing the index you want to align, then place the pointer in the first line, between the chapter name and the page number. Make sure these two elements are only separated by a space.

Now, in the virtual keyboard of your smartphone / tablet, reach the section concerning the symbols. For example, on Android you must first press the 123 key and then the {& = key . Among the symbols present, you will see that of an arrow pointing to the right with a vertical line : this key corresponds to the tab stop . On iOS / iPadOS the tab key is present in the toolbar at the top of the keyboard.

What you have to do, therefore, is to press this tabulation key on the keyboard of your mobile device many times, until the page number is in the position you want. Then do the same thing with all the other lines of your index, in order to manually (and by eye ) align all the page numbers.

How to align index numbers in LibreOffice

Aligning index numbers in LibreOffice is as simple as it is with Word. The procedure to follow, in fact, is almost identical to that foreseen by the famous Microsoft word processing software (regardless of the operating system used). I want to clarify that the steps to be taken are the same on Windows, macOS and Linux (since the program is compatible with all these operating systems).

The first step you need to take is to open the document containing the index to be corrected in LibreOffice , or rather, in Writer , the word processor included in this suite. To do this, start LibreOffice through its icon on the Windows desktop or in the MacOS Launchpad and select the Open item from the File menu at the top.

Once this is done, select the index text, right-click on it and choose the items Paragraph> Paragraph from the menu that appears. In the window that opens, click on the Tabs tab and press the Delete all button to delete all the tab settings. Then type the value 16.98 in the Position text field (top left), put the check mark next to the items Right and None and click the New button to save the changes.

Now, type the value 16 in the Position text field (top left), put the check mark next to the items To the left and (…) in the Fill characters field . Then click on the New button first and then on OK to save the changes. Also in LibreOffice, as in Word, it is possible to use hyphens or other fillers instead of dots, by selecting the appropriate items in the tabulation menu.

In conclusion, if in your index the name of the chapters and the numbers of the pages are separated only by spaces (eg. Chapter 1 page 1 ; Chapter 2 page 2 etc.), position the text cursor at the end of the name of each chapter and press in sequence the Space and Tab keys . If, on the other hand, the chapter names and page numbers are already separated with dots (e.g. Chapter 1 ………… 1 ; Chapter 2 ………… 2 ; etc.), you must place the text cursor at the end of the dots and press Tab . This will give you a perfectly aligned index.

If you prefer a more “professional” index to the “created by hand” index, you can use the appropriate Writer function. Then format the text of the document appropriately (inserting titles in Title 1 , Title 2 and Title 3 format ), then go to the initial page of the file (or in any case to the page where you want to insert the index) and select the Index, Index or Bibliography item from the Insert> Index and Index menu at the top.

In the window that opens, set all the preferences relating to the index style you want to generate and click on the OK button to see it appear in the document. The index will be built automatically using the titles you have set inside the file (respecting the hierarchies of Title 1, Title 2 and so on).

How to align index numbers in OpenOffice

If instead of using LibreOffice, you have installed OpenOffice on your PC, you can perform the alignment of the index numbers in the same way as I have already shown you in the previous chapter , dedicated to LibreOffice.

You must know, in fact, that the two software are very similar to each other, although OpenOffice, however, contains some less functionality than LibreOffice.

In any case, you can refer to the same indications that I gave you in that chapter to be able to easily reach your goal, either through a manual alignment of the numbers, or with an automatic summary.

How to align index numbers in Pages

Pages , the word processing software included “standard” on all Macs and available for free for download through the Mac App Store , also allows you to align index numbers in a very simple way.

To proceed, all you need to do is open the document you intend to make changes to. After that you have to select the index text and you have to choose the Layout tab from the sidebar of the program.

Once this is done, expand the Tabs section , press the [+] button that appears at the bottom left and change the Tab ., Alignment and Guide values ​​by setting them, respectively, to 17 cm , to the right and to (…) or to another type filler font if you prefer. To change the values ​​in question, you need to right-click on them.

Once you have set your tab stop preferences, move the cursor to the end of a chapter name or to the end of the dots (depending on whether you wrote your index by putting spaces or dots between chapter names and page numbers) and press the Tab key on your Mac keyboard.

This will give you a perfectly aligned index. If you prefer more professional indexes to “manual” indexes, you can rely on the appropriate function included in a Pages, formatting your document appropriately (therefore using the Heading , Heading 2 etc. styles for the titles of the various chapters) and then going in the Insert> Index> Document menu at the top.

Note: Pages is also available as a free iOS / iPadOS app and as a free online service on the iCloud site . However, the tab settings are not available in these versions of Pages. However, you can provide manual alignment with just the tabulation key on the keyboard, as I explained to you for the Word app or Google Docs .

How to align index numbers in Google Docs

Do you use Google Docs to manage your text files? In this case, however, be aware that it will not be possible for you to align the index numbers with the methods illustrated in the previous chapters dedicated to other word processing tools. The only thing you can do is use the same method shown for the Word app in this chapter , to align the index numbers.

Therefore, reach the main portal of Google Docs at this link , log in to your Google account and open the file containing the index you want to align. Once this is done, take into account the first line of the index and place the text selector between the chapter name and the page number. Now, press the Tab key on your keyboard, until you move the page number to the position you want.

You just have to repeat the same procedure with all the other elements of the index, so as to manually align the page numbers of your index. I also point out that there is no automatic feature in Google Docs for creating a table of contents, so you must proceed with the only solution that I have shown you in the previous paragraphs to be able to achieve your goal with this tool.


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