How to Create Tabs in Microsoft Word 2003

By Carl Hose

Tablature, more commonly referred to as tab, is a system of notation used by guitar and bass players. Tab notation consists of six lines representing the strings of the guitar, with the top line representing the highest string on the guitar. Circled numbers are placed on the graph to indicate the frets to be played. Microsoft Word doesn't include a template for guitar tabs, but with the table feature and the "Insert Symbols" command, you can use Microsoft Word to create your own custom tabs.

Step 1

Open Microsoft Word and on the "File" menu choose "New" to open a blank document. Go to the "Insert" menu and create a table. The table should be one column wide and five rows high. This will give you the six strings of a guitar. If you're doing bass tab, make your table one column wide and three rows high.

Step 2

Type the fret numbers of your tablature under the string you want play the note on. You can download a free font that has the numbers 1-6 in circles, as well as other musical symbols, to add authenticity to your tab.

Step 3

Go to your "Insert" menu and choose "Symbols." Make sure to choose the Times New Roman symbols. From this dialogue box, you can select the appropriate symbols for guitar bends, tied notes, slides and string vibration. The Times New Roman font contains symbols that represent these elements closely. Ensure that your cursor is in the correct place when you insert one of the symbols.

Step 4

Add columns as needed to create music bars in your tab. Do this by right clicking your mouse or using the "Insert" menu. Add a column to the right of the current column to create a new bar of music. You can add additional tab graphs by hitting "Enter" and dropping down two spaces, then repeating Step 1.