I create a bullet list, of any type and after pressing Enter then Tab instead of increasing the indent it just injected white-space.

I'm using the default template (.dot), there's been no changes to it, can't see any misconfigured settings for this either...

Tabbing Issue Screen Shot

Note: this is happening in Word 2007.


One possibility is AutoCorrect settings were changed.

To fix this, click the Microsoft Office button, select Word Options. Under Proofing, click AutoCorrect Options.... Under AutoFormat As You Type tab (in the Automatically as you type section), make sure that the "Set left- and first-indent with tabs and backspaces" option is checked.

enter image description here

  • The "left and first indent" setting is the one causing the OP's problem specifically, so +1 for that. The other settings do "smart" things like changing text to a bullet list if you start with a tab and a dash for example. They don't impact or cause the problem as described. – AdamV May 25 '10 at 9:25
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    YES! Well done, nice find. Thanks that did it. I've uploaded an image if you'd like to edit your answer, otherwise I'll link here anyway: nickjosevski.files.wordpress.com/2010/05/… – Nick Josevski May 26 '10 at 3:08
  • I am having the same problem in Powerpoint 2010, but the AutoCorrect options are different: superuser.com/questions/367843/… and I can't use ctrl + M, because they are already in use for new slide. – Marnix Dec 14 '11 at 10:36
  • For Word 2011 on the Mac, this option is found in Tools > Autocorrect... > Autoformat as You Type > Tabs and backspace set left indent. – james.garriss Aug 28 '14 at 10:54

Alternatively, you might want to try increasing the indent with ctrl+M and decreasing the indent with ctrl+shift+M.

These are the keyboard shortcuts for the "increase indent" and "decrease indent" toolbar buttons.

  • 5
    Strange that in office 2010, this does indent, but it does not change the formatting of the bullet. From level 1 to level 2 it's still a black bullet, not the hollowed out white one. – Mike_K Feb 13 '13 at 16:09

Use Alt+Shift+Right Arrow. You're welcome.

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    Doesn't work for Word 2011 for Mac. – james.garriss Aug 28 '14 at 10:56
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    On Windows, this is the best option. Unlike ctrl+shift+M, the bullets are properly formatted. – Jimmy Nov 3 '14 at 14:41
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    @james-garriss Mac doesn't have Alt key... But Control+Shift+M should work superuser.com/a/460183/259273 (other posts suggest Shift+Control+Arrow keys) – Tom Anderson Nov 8 '15 at 23:56
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    The correct solution on Mac is Shift+Control+Arrow keys. Control-Shift-M only inserts tabs. – Paul-Sebastian Manole Feb 6 '17 at 14:26

I was face this problem, and finally found the solution as follows:-

  1. Go to Home ribbon.
  2. In Paragraph group, click dialog box launcher.

Paragraph dialog box launcher

  1. In Paragraph dialog, go to Indents and Spacing tab, then click Tabs button.


  1. Adjust Default tab stops value to any value greater than 0 cm (default is 0.5 cm).

Default tab stops

  • This answer has nothing to do with the OP's question. The OP was talking about using the TAB key with a bulleted list. – kojow7 May 20 at 4:28

protected by Community Nov 12 '14 at 19:04

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