# How do manual indents/tabs work with styles?

In LibreOffice (and OpenOffice, I assume), there are a few ways to set tabs and indents. I have a general sense of how they work together but would like to confirm (or unconfirm) my assumptions. I would like to understand:

1. How tabs and indents set manually or with Tools>Options>LibreOffice Writer>General interact with the tabs set in paragraph styles? Which takes precedence when?

2. If someone has sprinkled (or flooded!) a text with manual tabs and indents, what is the best way to clear them so that only the style settings apply?

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Tab stops defined at style level have precedence. Let's suppose you defined two tabs on a particular paragraph style but then you pressed the tab key several times: the two first tabs will follow what's defined on the style while from the third one (provided there is still space) they will follow the general configuration.

General advice 1: never use tab stops for indents, they are handled a lot better within the Space & Indenting section for the paragraph style.

General advice 2: if you need more than one, maybe two, tab stop to get your desired formatting, consider using a table instead.

The best thing to do when you have an overflow of tab stops is... to delete them! With the full Search&Replace tool (Ctrl H) check the use of regular expressions and then search for \t to find all tab stops. You can also clean (almost) any manual formatting including manual indents with the Ctrl M shortcut, or Format → Clean direct formatting.

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