As you point out, [Writer] is a different product than MS/Google/Apple and commands/ergonomics have different behaviour.
The Tab key inserts a tabulation except in two circumstances:
- in a table, it is a request to jump to next cell
To get a tabulation you must press Ctl+Tab
- in a list item, at the very first position, it is used to increment the nesting level; otherwise it inserts a tabulation
Again, to get a tabulation you must press Ctl+Tab.
To decrement nesting level, use Shift+Tab.
Please note that a heading is a special kind of list item and these commands also work for them.
Note that I wrote nesting level above, not “indentation”.
Tab in Writer is absolutely not related to indentation. In a list, indentation is defined by the associated list style, the style controlling the appearance and “geometry” of the list number or bullet. The default list style is configured by
Bullets & Numbering.
In a usual paragraph (not a list item), indents are defined by the paragraph style.
In Writer, indents are not related to tab stops as this would not be reliable. Tab stops are explicitly defined in the paragraph style. After the last explicit stop, there are still implicit stops, evenly spaced by the distance set in
Preferences under MacOS),
General. If paragraph left indent would be allowed to be changed by Tab, where should it go? To some tab stop? Only to implicit tab stops which are the same all over the document? How would then tabulations behave?
Answer to your question:
- for lists, configure the indent for each level in the list style dialog
- for ordinary paragraphs, define ad hoc paragraph styles and assign the desired style to the paragraph
I am aware that my answer is not directly applicable for someone discovering Writer. I urge you to read the Writer Guide for an introduction to styles. But this is not enough. Practice a bit on expendable documents to become accustomed to the style approach which is fundamentally different from the competition work flow.