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I’m working on publishing my first e-book.

One thing I learned the hard way was First Line Indentation.

After a final edit of my novel, I anxiously updated my file to the platform.

Like any author/editor, I pressed preview before I pressed publish (actually, I think there are more steps before I hit publish, but as you can see, I got hung up here).

What was beautifully written in Word was a complete nightmare in preview.

I’m PRETTY sure that I didn’t indent half a page for 300 pages.

Except that I did.


How could I have done this horrible thing?

It turns out, Word has some useful tools, and one of them eliminates the need for your ring-finger to stroke the TAB button SEVEN BAZILLION TIMES.

Would’ve been nice if that was taught at Rutgers. Thanks again, guys. Super.

So, I spent an hour reading about formatting BEFORE you write (this is great: Everyone Needs To Do This Now).

Unfortunately, when I sat down in all of my crazy-must-get-this-out writing ways two years ago, I banged out the thirty something chapters with my best friend: the TAB button.

For the past few hours, I have read tutorials on how to get rid of my manual indents. I read about Tab Stops (this is a function that’s buried in Word), and it seemed to work wonders.

Keyword: seemed.


I re-uploaded about seven times and, without fail, it still indented.

That’s because the formatting is gone, but the damage I caused (hitting physical buttons) wasn’t forgotten by Word. See, when you do something stupid and expect it to go unnoticed, it rears its ugly head later (300 pages and nearly two years later). So, don’t do anything stupid.

Not one to give up, I used Google (page 3 of “how to get rid of manual tabs”).

No dice.

Finally, I did what any self-respecting person would do: I searched for add-ins. It’s the cheater’s way out, but it should work, and then I’ll delete whatever the heck I just installed on my computer. This is a Mac after all. It can’t get crazy viruses.

Of course, the virus writers (aka, my only beacon of hope at this point: [someone pretending to help me, but really just causing me an hour of detours]) knew that they would get nowhere with a writer’s Mac, and you know–never wrote the pseudo program.

ERGO, the only add-in worked on Windows.


What good is complaining, though? If I can’t beat it, then I might as well get started on my long, flipping’ journey.

I resigned to manually delete all (1,333) indents.


After half a page of deleting my tabs, I thought, “this cannot be a thing. I cannot be the Only Person who has ever written an entire book without proper formatting. Not every writer is a freakin’ Word Guru out the womb.”

They’re not. They knew something I didn’t. There’s an easy fix somewhere.


Here it is:

Highlight your mistakes. Literally, highlight ONE indent that you want to get rid of.

Go to FIND.

Right-click and paste.

It looks blank, but have heart!

You’re halfway there.

In the replace section, you can do the best thing ever.


That’s right: leave that empty space blank.

Then press Replace ALL (you will lose all of your tabs). Probably best to go back and reread your work.

That’s how to do some damage control.


*A simple google search on First Line Indent will show you the basics. It’ll save you serious time.

If you have no idea what I’m talking about, I commend you. May you never have to deal with manually having to do ANYTHING that many times. If you do, you’re welcome. Simple solution, but hey, I was at a loss for a while there.