I need to get columns of numbers aligned on a decimal point. Tabs aren't much use, because I have to put just the right amount of spaces after them to get the alignment right.
Use a decimal taba tab that aligns figures on a decimal point. You can set a decimal tab by using either the Tabs button on the ruler or the Tabs dialog box (Format » Tabs).
To lay out extra-wide tabular data, you can set tabs beyond the left and right margins of a page.
Convert Tabs and Spaces to Just Tabs
My boss creates complex tables that look beautiful but turn out to be painstakingly aligned with a mixture of tabs and spaces. I've tried showing her how to change the default tab stops, but she's got better things to worry about. So I need to remove the spaces, leaving the tabs; reduce each set of multiple tabs to a single tab; and then fix the tab stops. Madness beckons.
Find and Replace can knock out the spaces and extra tabs for you. Choose Edit » Replace, enter
^w (whitespace) in the "Find what" box and
^t in the "Replace with" box, and then click the Replace All button.
You'll then need to fix the tab stops manually, but that shouldn't take you long.