How to Create a Hanging Indent in Word and Google Docs

How to Create a Hanging Indent in Word and Google Docs

Professors and editors can be strict when assessing your assignments and writeups. Quality of the write-up aside, it is important to follow the declared format; especially in academics. Indentations are a major part of these formats and a rare type is hanging indent used generally for bibliographies, citations, references, lists within documents, etc. If you are someone looking for tips about the same, we bring to you a helpful guide that will teach you how to create a hanging indent in word, how to create a hanging indent in google docs and about hanging indent shortcut.

How to Create a Hanging Indent in Word and Google Docs

How to Create a Hanging Indent in Word and Google Docs

In this article, we have shown how to create a hanging indent in Microsoft Word and Google Docs. But before going through the steps, here are some points about hanging indent.

  • A hanging indent is also known as a negative/reverse indent or a second-line indent.
  • When applied, the first line is indented normally to the left margin, while the rest of the paragraph lines are indented farther to the right, usually by 0.5 inches.
  • It makes it easier for the reader to go through the content piece.
  • Hanging indents are a compulsion in CMS (Chicago Manual of Style), MLA (Modern Language Association), and APA (American Psychological Association) writing styles.

Since hanging indents are so rarely utilized, most users might not know how to create a hanging indent in word.

Option I: On Microsoft Word

To create a hanging indent in Microsoft Word a special hanging indent option is present in the program. Writers can also use the ruler to create a hanging indent. To learn how to create a hanging indent in word follow these steps.

1. Select a paragraph you want formatted with a hanging indent and switch to Home tab.

2A. Click on the small dialog box launcher icon present at the bottom-right corner of the Paragraph group.

click on HOME menu in microsoft word. How to Create a Hanging Indent in Word and Google Docs

2B. You can also right-click on a selected set of lines and choose Paragraph… from the options.

Options after right clicking a selected paragraph.

3. In the Indents & Spacing tab, open drop-down list by clicking on Special and select Hanging.

Paragraph window, Indents and Spacing tab. How to Create a Hanging Indent in Word and Google Docs

4. Default hang value is set to 0.5 inches. Adjust the indent value as per your requirement by clicking on the upward or downward-facing arrow. A preview box at the bottom of the dialog box will show you how the selected paragraph will appear once formatted.

Paragraph window, Indents and Spacing tab. Preview is highlighted.

5. Click on OK.

Also Read: How to Write Roman Numbers in Word

You can also create a hanging indent using the ruler. Follow the given steps to do so.

1. Firstly, make sure the ruler is visible by going View > Ruler

2. Select a paragraph and drag the up-arrow slider on the ruler towards the right. That is it, all the lines (except the first one or ones you didn’t select) will shift to the new mark created by you.

check the Ruler option in Print layout menu in microsoft word. How to Create a Hanging Indent in Word and Google Docs

If you want the next paragraph to follow the same formatting, place the typing cursor at the end of the already formatted paragraph and then press enter. Now, start typing out and it will automatically be formatted to have a hanging indent. If you are directly pasting the context, right-click on any empty section of your document and choose Paste Text Only option to apply the special indentation. And now you are done with the process of how to create a hanging indent in word.

Also Read: How to Convert Word to JPEG

Option II: On Google Docs

There are two separate ways to create a hanging indent in Google Docs. The first one is by using the native indentation options and the other, by manually dragging the ruler. Both of them are mentioned in the below steps.

Method 1: Use Indentation Options

Apart from the general indentation options (left, right, center, and justified), Google Docs also has special indentation options such as First Line and Hanging. The amount of hang for subsequent lines of a paragraph can be set to the desired value by following these steps.

1. Open the doc file and select the paragraph that you would like to have a hanging indent on.

2. With the paragraph selected, click on Format option in the toolbar.

Google Docs document view.

3. Select Align & Indent > Indentation Options from the sub-menu.

Format option in Google Docs. How to Create a Hanging Indent in Word and Google Docs

4. In the following dialog box, select Special Indent to open drop-down list and select Hanging.

Indentation options window.

By default, the indentation value is set to 0.5 inches, adjust the amount as required or until the desired look is achieved.

Indentation options window. How to Create a Hanging Indent in Word and Google Docs

5. Click on Apply or hit the enter key to bring the hanging indentation into effect.

Also Read: How to Add Table of Contents in Google Docs

Method 2: Use Ruler Option

You can also manually drag the ruler to adjust the position of your text and create a hanging indent. The ruler has two adjustable components i.e. Left Indent and First Line Indent. Using the left indent, you can increase the left indentation value and move the paragraph lines to the right and by moving the First Line Indent, you can align the first line of the paragraph to the left margin. Here is how to do it.

1. Firstly, make sure the ruler is visible at the top and the left side of your document. If it isn’t, click on View > Show ruler to enable it.

View option in Google Docs.

2. Go ahead and select a paragraph or a set of lines.

3. Click on the downward-facing blue-colored arrow (Left Indent) and drag it towards the right to create an indent. Values will appear on the ruler for precision. All the selected lines will move to the new mark.

Click on the downward facing blue colored arrow and drag it in google docs. How to Create a Hanging Indent in Word and Google Docs

4. Next, select the blue-colored dash (First Line Indent) above the Left Indent arrow and drag it back to where you would like the first line to begin from.

select the blue colored dash in google docs

Adjust both the positions until the desired look has been achieved.

Another method of creating a hanging indent in Google docs is to press Shift + Enter, hanging indent shortcut for a line break at the end of the first paragraph line and then Tab key. Repeat these actions for every line in the paragraph to indent all of them to the right. Apart from being time-consuming, this method is also prone to errors.

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We hope that this guide was helpful and you were able to understand how to create a hanging indent in Word or Google Docs. If you have any queries or, suggestions then feel free to drop them in the comments section. Let us know if you would like to read more topics covering features to help you polish your writings.

Posted by
Pete Mitchell

Pete is a Senior staff writer at TechCult. Pete loves all things technology and is also an avid DIYer at heart. He has a decade of experience writing how-tos, features, and technology guides on the internet.

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