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My tab key has broken. I'm due to get a replacement, but is there any key combinations I can use in the mean time instead as I'm in the middle of writing a report.

Sorry, I should have specified, that I using word, not any sort of terminal.

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4 Answers

up vote 1 down vote accepted

If you are using Microsoft Office Word and want to indent rather than insert a horizontal tab character, Ctrl+M works. If you want to insert a horizontal tab, copying and pasting works, otherwise there's the "Alt Code" method as supplied by Patrick.

For indentation there is also a toolbar button on all versions of Word (screenshot 2010):

Screenshot of indent and unindent buttons
Click for full size

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Use Ctrl+I instead of Tab

For interest: See ancient table of ASCII control characters etc.

Dec Hex     ASCII                           Key
0   00      NUL (null)                      ctrl @
1   01      SOH (start of heading)          ctrl A
2   02      STX (start of text)             ctrl B
3   03      ETX (end of text)               ctrl C
4   04      EOT (end of transmission)       ctrl D
5   05      ENQ (enquiry)                   ctrl E
6   06      ACK (acknowledge)               ctrl F
7   07      BEL (bell)                      ctrl G
8   08      BS (backspace)                  ctrl H   <-------
9   09      HT (horizontal tab)             ctrl I   <=======
10  0A      LF (line feed)                  ctrl J
11  0B      VT (vertical tab)               ctrl K
12  0C      FF (form feed)                  ctrl L
13  0D      CR (carriage return)            ctrl M   <------- (Enter)
14  0E      SO (shift out)                  ctrl N
15  0F      SI (shift in)                   ctrl O
16  10      DLE (data link escape)          ctrl P
17  11      DC1 (device control 1)          ctrl Q
18  12      DC2 (device control 2)          ctrl R
19  13      DC3 (device control 3)          ctrl S
20  14      DC4 (device control 4)          ctrl T
21  15      NAK (negative acknowledge)      ctrl U
22  16      SYN (synchronous idle)          ctrl V
23  17      ETB (end of transmission block) ctrl W
24  18      CAN (cancel)                    ctrl X
25  19      EM (end of medium)              ctrl Y
26  1A      SUB (substitute)                ctrl Z
27  1B      ESC (escape)                    ctrl [   <-------
28  1C      FS (file separator)             ctrl \
29  1D      GS (group separator)            ctrl [
30  1E      RS (record separator)           ctrl ^
31  1F      US (unit separator)             ctrl _
32  20      SP (space)                                
33  21      !       
34  22      "       
35  23      #       
36  24      $

etc

If anything after SP (your space bar) breaks, ask about Alt codes.

If your control key breaks, you may have to save up $10 for a new keyboard.

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You can hold down the Alt key and type 09 on your numeric keypad.

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You could use a tool that changes your key bindings (or even hacking at the registry) and change another key (I suggest Caps Lock) to work as a tab. I'd suggest looking at a page on AutoHotKey explaining how to do that (it also has information on how to do it with AutoHotKey; see below); it's too involved to list here.

Another option is AutoHotKey; it's not as efficient as the above method, but AutoHotKey also allows much more advanced changes (binding a key to a key-combo, auto-replacing entered text, launching a specified program with a keyboard shortcut, binding gamepads to mouse & keyboard inputs, etc). You can also turn the change on and off easily, so if you're in a situation, say, where you need your Caps Lock more than your Tab key, you can just close the AutoHotKey script. The script for this would just be:

CapsLock::Tab

Just save that as a text file with .ahk extension and double click to run it (after installing AHK, assuming you allowed it to associate with .ahk files). You can even compile it to a standalone (and portable) executable.

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