For as long as I've used Microsoft Word 2010 (it probably also exists in later versions), whenever selecting an item in a list a black L-like icon appears in the document's ruler:

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Adjusting this icon doesn't seem to actually do anything for me in my current document, and neither does anything happen when I get rid of it by selecting it and dragging down.

What exactly is this icon and what's it for?


That L indicates the Left tab stops. Tab stops include:

Types of tab stops include:

        Left Tab: Left-aligns the text at the tab stop

        Center Tab: Centers the text around the tab stop

        Right Tab: Right-aligns the text at the tab stop

        Decimal Tab: Aligns decimal numbers using the decimal point

        Bar Tab: Draws a vertical line on the document

        First Line Indent: Inserts the indent marker on the ruler and indents the first line of text in         a paragraph

        Hanging Intent: Inserts the hanging indent marker,and indents all lines other than the first         line

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  • This appears to be the answer except that weirdly, for me, moving the L tab doesn't actually seem to change anything. Maybe this is a bug in my copy of Word 2010. – Prometheus Jun 13 at 22:29
  • @Prometheus You can also try to moved it by double-clicking on it(make sure sure that "Left tab" tooltip is shown), then changing the parameter shown on the Tabs window. Or press it also when the tooltip is shown then move it. Or you can click on Paragraph section of the Home ribbon, then "Line and Page Breaks" tab, then click on Tabs button. – Reddy Lutonadio Jun 13 at 22:44

Word Tabs

Tabs are a paragraph-formatting feature used to align text. When you press the Tab key, Word inserts a tab character and moves the insertion point to the tab setting, called the tab stop. You can set custom tabs or use Word’s default tab settings. -Source

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