Before tabs and tables, there was chaos. Well, perhaps not chaos, but it was difficult to line columns of text in an orderly fashion.
The word “tab” comes from the tabulator key on a typewriter. (Does anyone still use a typewriter?) The tabulator key moved the carriage return a certain number of spaces.
The tabulator key was named because it allowed typists to create tabular data. Tabular data is information arranged in systematic rows and columns — otherwise known as a table.
However, mathematical information isn’t the only thing arranged in tables. Resumes, menus, train schedules, calendars, and even classified ads are all arranged in some form of table.
Anytime you need to keep text or graphics aligned in either columns ...