Here is how the tab character typically works:

enter image description here

Is there a way to have the same behavior when the text is aligned to the right and not the left?

That is, if we talk about the right page of a spread, the page number should be in the top right corner, and there should be the name of a current chapter to the left of it, and no matter whether the current page is 1 (that is, one digit), 10 (two digits), or 100 (three digits), the chapter name should stay on exactly the same place.

Here is something similar, but I use 5 nonbreaking spaces instead of a tab, and therefore the position of the chapter name depends on the number of digits in the page number:

enter image description here

The possible workaround is to use a single-row table where the page number is in the right cell and the chapter name is in the left cell.

But I want to avoid workarounds such as using tables or additional frames, and instead search for a solution that will use only characters. I have tried to insert "Right Indent Tab" (which can be found under Type > Insert Special Character > Other), but it works differently: the page number and the chapter name stay as far one from another as possible, like they are gunfighters who are going to shoot each other on a duel.

1 Answer 1


You can ..

  1. use a separate text box for the chapter name. This way the width of the page numbering and the width of the chapter names will always be fixed, because of the separate text boxes.

  2. the thing you are actually looking for, but a bit difficult to explain, and you probably need to experiment a bit and see what works with your specific setup, is by using custom tabs. So, with your text box selected, hit CTRL+SHIFT+T. This opens up the 'Tabs' panel, which has like a ruler thing, and you can click on that to add custom tabs breaks, then make these right or left aligned with the icons above and you can also use the X box to fine tune the positioning of these tabs.

Also see this: https://helpx.adobe.com/indesign/using/tabs-indents.html

enter image description here

  • In the first part of the answer, you mention a text box. Did you mean a regular text frame?
    – user90726
    Commented Jan 16, 2022 at 11:02
  • Yes, regular text frame. First option is to use separate text frames, second option, custom tabs.
    – Lucian
    Commented Jan 16, 2022 at 11:16

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