I have two images and two labels:

|--------------|            |---------------------|
|              |            |                     |
|--------------|            |---------------------|
     Image1                          Image2  

Both labels are aligned using center tab stops. How do I enter a 'Tab' symbol as the first symbol in the line? (when I push Tab there, the indentation changes instead)


Note that the problem only occurs the paragraph already has some content (text or inline images) and you try to insert a TAB at the start of the line.

Here are 3 workarounds to pick from:

  • Type a SPACE then a TAB. That will enter a regular TAB. You can then delete the SPACE if you wish. Or use a PERIOD instead of a SPACE to make it visible and easier to remember to delete.
  • Copy a TAB from anywhere in the doc, then paste it in at the start of the paragraph.
  • With the caret at the start of the paragraph:
    1. Type a RETURN to insert a new paragraph before the one you want to change.
    2. Tap the up-arrow key to move the caret to the empty new paragraph.
    3. Type in a TAB.
    4. Delete the newline at the end of this new paragraph, e.g. type fn-DELETE on Mac, or (I think) DELETE (instead of BACKSPACE) on Windows/Linux, or right-arrow then BACKSPACE.
  • Thanks for your answer, Jerry, actually your second variant is what I ended up with eventually. It's just very weird that in a system with so many keyboard shortcuts as sophisticated as "Move to next table Ctrl+Alt+Shift+N Ctrl+Alt+Shift+T" there is no shortcut as simple as to enter a Tab character (in Word for example there's a dedicated shortcut Ctrl-Tab to enter tab where it doesn't work otherwise, eg in tables). Nov 16 '16 at 2:57
  • I tried 'Shift-Tab' but it has the reverse effect of Ctrl-Tab in Word. It works where Tab works and doesn't work where Tab doesn't :) BTW how would you enter a tab inside a table cell in google docs? Nov 16 '16 at 3:03
  • Pasting a TAB works inside a table cell. I think Shift-TAB is mainly to unindent (from the start of an indented paragraph) or navigate to the previous cell (in a table). It's "interesting" that it will insert a tab when the caret is within a paragraph.
    – Jerry101
    Nov 16 '16 at 3:10

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