Is there any way to insert a flexible horizontal spacer inside Word lines? What I mean by that is something that grows to fill all the space that remains after the words and spaces have been accounted for, i.e. what would normally be divided equally by the justification. Examples:

| this is a line with some space left            |
| this is a line with <-spacer-> some space left |
| this is a line with some space <-spacer-> left |

And if possible I would like the spacer to be a repeated character, such as . or -.

The concrete reason I wanted this would be to be able to write a list like the following:

Item 1 ................................... summat
Some other item ........................ whatever

Word-generated Table of Contents has something similar to this but I know of no way to do it in normal text.

I'm specifically not looking for something that would left align the post-spacer content, such as a tab stop would do (of course, if there is a way to do what I need with tab stops, that would be fine). I'd also prefer not to use tables (it would be a matter of right-aligning the 2nd column, but then the spacer would have to be invisible rather than a repeated character, I think).


Using tabs you can set a tab, then double click it and make it a Right Align tab. Then using the Page Layout > Paragraph properties set a leader for the tab stop.

You can add dot leaders between tab stops or choose other formatting options in the Tabs dialog box.

Type the text that you want.

On the horizontal ruler, set the tab stop that you want.

On the Page Layout tab, click the Paragraph Dialog Box Launcher.

Paragraph Dialog Box Launcher

In the Paragraph dialog box, click Tabs.

Under Leader, click the leader option that you want.

When you press ENTER to start a new line, the formatted tab stop is available on the new line.


  • Very good! This works for the case I outlined, but I'm finding it difficult to interact with indents (they push the tabs forward). Do you know of some place where tabs and indents and the ruler are discussed as to best practices, useful tips, etc? – entonio Jan 8 '16 at 0:50
  • Sorry, not offhand. – Beaner Jan 8 '16 at 1:35

If you use styles in word, then this is quite an easy task. Just follow this diagram and it will automatically update all associated text in the document when or if you decide to change it later on.

I highly recommend using styles in any new word documents going forward.

If you have any trouble with any existing text, then clear all formatting first by first selecting the text and going to:

  • The Home tab, then under font clear all formatting.
  • or, alternatively ALT+H+E on your keyboard.

Here's the diagram to do the rest.

Just some notes on step 3 Just Enter quite a high value here: 25 cm should do as you will only need to tab once in most cases.

steps 1-6

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