Hanging indent Word: How to do hanging indent on Word
Make your documents more aesthetically pleasing by making use of hanging indents. Find out all you need to know about how to do hanging indent on Word.
Used widely for citations and making the page look more aesthetically pleasing, hanging indents can be quite tricky to get right if you’ve never done it before. If done wrongly, it can lead to your entire document looking like a mess. However, there is a simple solution when it comes to how to do hanging indent on Word.
A hanging indent implies that every line in a given paragraph is indented, except for the first line, which begins at the margin of the document.
When it comes to Microsoft Word, you can make use of the hanging indent in a number of ways based on your needs. For instance, you can apply the hanging indent to a given paragraph, a group of paragraphs, a list, or even to a given style in Microsoft Word.
In this article, we’ve explained how to do hanging indent on Word for all three of the above use-cases. Note that these steps also work on Word 2013, Word 2016, Word 2019 as well as Word for Microsoft 365. If you want to know how to create a hanging indent in Google Docs, read our article on it here.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
- Hanging indent Word for a single paragraph
- Hanging indent on Word for a list
- Hanging indent on Word for a given style
For a single paragraph
There are two simple ways of applying a hanging indent on Word to a single paragraph. One is through the ‘Home’ tab in the menu bar and the second is by making use of the Ruler tool.
Using the Home tab
- To do a hanging indent on Word using the Home tab, open the doc and select the paragraph you want to apply the hanging indent to.
- Now, go to the ‘Home’ tab, and next to the ‘Paragraph’ group.
- Select the dialog box launcher by clicking on the arrow at the bottom right corner. You can also access this by right-clicking and selecting ‘Paragraph’.
- Here, you will see the ‘Indents and spacing’ and ‘Line and page breaks’ tabs. Go to the ‘Indents and Spacing’ tab.
- In the ‘Indentation’ section, click on the arrow under ‘Special’, to show the drop-down options ‘(none)’, ‘First line’, ‘Hanging’. Select ‘Hanging’.
- Now, in the ‘By’ field, you have to enter how many units you want the indent to be hanging by.
- You can see in the ‘Preview’ section how the end result will look like. Enter the desired value and select ‘OK’ to confirm the indentation.
Using the Ruler
- To make use of the ruler, you need to make it visible. You can do so by going to the ‘View’ tab and checking the box beside ‘Ruler’.
- Now, select the paragraph you wish to apply the indent to, and place your cursor over the slider next to the ruler.
- The bottom slider (upward facing arrow) is the ‘Hanging indent’ and the top slider (downward facing arrow) is ‘First Line Indent’.
- You can move the bottom slider as required to indent all the content below the first line of the para.
Note: To apply a hanging indent to the next paragraph as well, you can place the cursor at the end of the paragraph with the indent and press ‘Enter’ to create a new paragraph with a hanging indent.
How to do hanging indent on Word for a group of paragraphs, references, citations, and bibliography lists
A common way of marking citations is by applying a hanging indent to every item in the list. For this, follow the below steps (note that these steps can be applied to multiple paragraphs that you wish to indent).
- Select the paragraphs or entries you want to apply the hanging indent to, then go to the ‘Home’ tab, then the ‘Paragraph’ group, and select the dialog box launcher.
- Or, you can also select the paragraphs and then right-click and select ‘Paragraph’.
- Under the ‘Indents and Spacing’ tab, in the ‘Indentation’ section, click on the arrow under ‘Special’. Select ‘Hanging’.
- In the ‘By’ field, you have to enter how many units you want the indent to be hanging by. Check how it will look in the ‘Preview’ section.
- Select ‘OK’ to confirm the indentation.
Hanging indent for a particular style
A collection of formatting properties, like bold/ italics/ a particular size, etc., is called a ‘style’. You can add the hanging indent to the style itself instead of repeating the above process each and every time you wish to apply a hanging indent. Follow the below steps to learn how to how to do hanging indent on Word for a particular style:
- Open the document and go to the ‘Home’ tab.
- Here, go to the ‘Styles’ group and select ‘Normal’ style
- Now, right-click on this and choose ‘Modify’.
- You will be taken to the ‘Modify style’ popup box. Here, under the ‘Properties’ section, go to the ‘Name’ field and enter a name for the style.
- Now, click on ‘Format’ at the bottom left of the dialog box and select ‘Paragraph’.
- In the popup box sown, go to the ‘Indents and Spacing’ tab.
- Under the ‘Indentation’ section, click on the arrow under ‘Special’ and select ‘Hanging’.
- In the ‘By’ text field, enter how many units you want the indent to be hanging by. Select ‘OK’ to confirm the indentation.
- Select ‘OK in the ‘Modify style’ dialog box to save your changes.
- Now, you can apply this new style to all paragraphs you wish to add a hanging indent to, thus avoiding the hassle of going through the process each time you wish to add one.