I have versions CS4 through CS6 (ETA and now current to CC18). I have a nice numbered list and I'd like to align things. Is there any way to set up tabs rather than letterspacing or splitting the text into separate layers?

(I can recreate the text in Illustrator and import it, but I'd like to know if I can do this task in one program.)


7 Answers 7


Unfortunately, no. Photoshop offers no "tab" function.

You can hit tab, but it inputs an arbitrary space which can not be changed.


Set the text in Illustrator using their tab ruler. Photoshop will obey tabs set in Illustrator, but Photoshop does not have a tab ruler.

  • yes, I already noted that I can do this, but I was trying to find a way to do everything in PS. Jul 11, 2017 at 9:36

Add a tab (not a space) after each number then line up the text to your specification using Indent Left Margin AND match the value used but as a negative for the Indent First Line. This works for InDesign, too.

Indent Left Margin = 10mm 
Indent First Line = -10mm
  • Doing this for me doesn't seem to do anything. I think I'm doing it wrong.
    – Hanna
    Jan 27, 2014 at 23:02

I found this when making a bullet point list. Stick in a bullet point ALT:0149

Chuck in a normal space then get the text to line up using Indent Left Margin to whatever your desire then match the value in the negative for the Indent First Line

  • That's nice for a bulleted list, but I have a numbered list. Also, you're still letterspacing to some degree, because the space between 1. and 10. is not the same. Nov 15, 2013 at 18:37

Although this is exactly what I would tell someone NOT to do in any other program, within Photoshop, it appears that many fonts' space character is exactly the same width across multiple lines.

As such, you can put in your bullet, add two spaces and your list text. Repeat for each line (using the same number of spaces after the bullet). In my testing (with mostly common, sans-serif fonts), the spaces are almost always – to-the-pixel – the same width.

Makes things easy. In ANY other program, this would be a massive no-no, as in most text editors/word processors the width of a space is determined by the rest of the content in that line, thus it's not the same across every line.


I looked up this question hoping to find a better solution than my own work-around; since I didn't see an improvement, I'll offer my work-around. The "best" approach I've found is to create two parallel text boxes. The narrow text box on the left contains only your bullets or numbers; the wide text box on the right contains your items. Make sure that the two boxes align with one another (you can do this by creating one text box, duplicating that layer, and then moving it horizontally and adjusting its width). Then, in the left-hand text box, create a bullet or number for every item that is in the right-hand box. To ensure that the bullets or numbers align with their corresponding items, make sure that you give you match hard carriage returns (the Enter key) in both boxes AND that you use soft carriage returns (shift-Enter) after bullets or numbers that correspond to multi-line text items. (So if the first item in your list has two lines of text, you'd make sure to have one soft return and one hard return between the first and second bullet.) It's not the ideal approach, but it's also not as complicated as I'm making it sound.

  • yes, I already noted that I can do this (separate text layers and text boxes are the same idea), but I was trying to find a way to avoid it. Jul 11, 2017 at 9:37

You can create the tabulated text in Illustrator and copy/paste as smart object.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge that you have read and understand our privacy policy and code of conduct.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.