so I'm typesetting a play for an assignment and cannot for the life of me figure out how I can get a tab space between the character's name and their following dialogue whilst maintaining Character/Paragraph styles so that I don't have to go through the entire document manually.

I'm only allowed to use one text box.

Here's an example of what I'm going for:

enter image description here (Redacted portions added by editor to keep image "family friendly")

Any help is appreciated!

  • 1
    That looks like switching back and forth between 2 columns and 1. Character name and dialogue are each in separate columns. Stage direction is 1 column page wide.
    – Webster
    Jun 13, 2017 at 18:58
  • What do you mean by “go through the entire document manually”? How are the characters and their lines currently separated, if not by a tab? Are they on separate lines? Separated only by a space? There's no way to know how to automate something for a particular output if we don't know what the input is. Jun 13, 2017 at 19:17

3 Answers 3


Seems to me just a tab stop, which matches a left indent, so you can use either/or.


This way, hitting the tab pushes content 10p0 from the left. Or setting a paragraph style moves all the text 10p0 from the left.

Set this up as 2 paragraph styles and then it is a matter of assigning the right style based upon need.

  • I don't think you can use that option for the example OP has provided as the character's name is on the same line and that would push all the content.
    – curious
    Jun 13, 2017 at 19:26
  • @Emile no but you can give the first line a negative first line indent than you only need a tab on the first line. And this tab can be injected witha grep search.
    – joojaa
    Jun 13, 2017 at 20:46
  • @joojaa Yes I've done this before though it doesn't seem required to properly do the OP's assignment. Then again, the assignment is likely using content seen in class so only OP would know...
    – curious
    Jun 14, 2017 at 16:12

I'm not sure what you mean by "so that I don't have to go through the entire document manually". If you mean having to insert a tab for each line, there is a nifty little option called "Indent to here" (ctrl + \) which you would need to insert just before "It was 7 minutes after midnight..." and will appear as a little cross.


enter image description here

Make sure you use line breaks (ctrl + enter) within paragraphs and not paragraph breaks or it will not work. Also, you only need the 2nd tab pictured in the example here to match your example, not the first one.

Note that you can insert your tabs within a paragraph style, also. That will make your document cleaner.


Just like the other members, I'm not sure what you mean by "going through the document manually". There is probably a way to automate and set up your document in a nice way, but you need to show us how is your document set.

That said, the easiest way to set up your paragraph style is to combine Left Indent and negative First Line Indent. Use same value (in my example: 30 and -30). This way, applying this unique paragraph style will do the job if it uses this pattern: some text (optional) - TAB sign - some text. No need to set up tab position or to use "Indent to this point".

I also suggest you use a nested style Up to tab character to apply character style. So you won't have to apply it manually. See example below:

enter image description here

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