Learn how to do a hanging indent and more

A formatting technique known as hanging indents places the first line of a paragraph at the margin and all following lines half an inch away from the margin. Hanging indents let readers immediately recognize the author’s name or the title of the work, as well as distinguish between consecutive references, citations, and bibliographies. 


When writing a research paper for school or any type of work that follows a specific citation style, understanding how to do a hanging indent is helpful. In this post, we’ll define hanging indents and learn more about it.

What Is A Hanging Indent?

A hanging indent is a type of paragraph indentation where all lines of a text block are indented except the first. In a hanging indent, the very first sentence starts at the margin and the subsequent lines begin 1.27 cm (0.5 inches) away from the margin. 


For reference lists in different citation styles like American Psychological Association (APA), Chicago Manual of Style (CMS), and Modern Language Association (MLA), writers use hanging indents, also known as reverse indents or second line indents, to make it simple for the reader to distinguish between one entry and the next. Explore hanging indents and discover different approaches to using a hanging indent in Word. Keep reading to know how to do a hanging indent.

Benefits Of Using Hanging Indents

Now that we know how to do a hanging indent, let’s check out some of the benefits of it. The following are some advantages of using hanging indents in your word documents:

Enhances visual appeal

By making the text of word documents more organized, hanging indents improve their visual appeal. Readers find it simpler to distinguish between different parts of a page when there is a lot of similarly formatted text on the same page, as in a bibliography. Additionally, it contributes to the document’s visual appeal and balance by adding white space.

Fulfills style requirements

Hanging indents are mostly used to adhere to APA, MLA, and Chicago citation standards. Hanging indents are required for references, bibliographies, and citations in these formats. You may use hanging indents to separate portions of the article, depending on the formatting guidelines you follow for academic and professional writing.

Improves readability

Additionally, hanging indents can help to make the document easier to read. It makes it simpler for readers to understand the many elements of a section. Multiple citations or references listed consecutively can frequently come out as cluttered and awkward, which has a negative impact on readability.

How to Make a Hanging Indent in Word?

There are three ways of how to do a hanging indent. we’ll describe each method’s steps in this section:

Method 1

This process is quick and simple. If you’ve already typed or pasted all of your citations into your text, this method works best. For a hanging indent, use Cmd+T on a Mac or Ctrl+T on a Windows keyboard.


The next lines are indented by 0.5 inches by default. You can apply this technique if your style guide advises doing so.


  1. Select the text you want to use for the dangling indent by clicking and dragging the mouse.
  2. Press Ctrl+T (Windows) or Cmd+T (Mac). The highlighted paragraphs will have a hanging indent with a 0.5 inch spacing between each line (the default).

Method 2

Use this technique if you want to learn how to do a hanging indent and have better control over the hanging indent. This method functions best after you have entered or pasted the citations into your paper, just like the first one did. the following steps:


  1. Choose the text.
  2. Select Format > Paragraph. The window for paragraph settings appears.
  3. Open the drop-down menu next to Special and choose Hanging.
  4. Specify the depth of the indentation you need. then press OK. As We mentioned, the indentation is now barely 0.25 inches.

Method 3

Using paragraph styles in Microsoft Word is another approach to how to do a hanging indent. If you plan to add more citations to the text in the future, use this method.


  1. To add a hanging indent to a paragraph, adhere to Methods 1 or 2.
  2. Select Format > Style while the cursor is over the formatted text.
  3. To create a new style from the formatting box, click New.
  4. Name the new paragraph design. Review the indent settings in Microsoft Word and the paragraph preview to make sure they are what you want. Click OK if everything appears the way you want it to.
  5. Click Apply once more in the Styles window. All that’s left to do is format new citations using the Citation paragraph style.

How to Make a Hanging Indent in Google Docs

As you learn how to do a hanging indent, you must first ensure that your ruler is visible in Google Docs before you can insert one. Your Doc’s primary tool is a ruler, which may be used to align text, images, tables, and other objects. To make your ruler visible, just select “View” in the menu bar and make sure “Show Ruler” is checked.


Now that your ruler is in view, you may create a hanging indent. First, decide which text you want to indent. You can choose to highlight one or more sentences. To start your hanging indent, drag the small, light blue, inverted triangle that serves as the left indent marker to the right and stop where you want it to be (the rectangle will follow, but that’s okay). 


At this point, drag the light blue rectangle that serves as the First Line Indent marker back to the left margin. There you have it, then! You now understand how to do a hanging indent in Google Docs.

Tips For Improving Your Expertise In Word

Here are some tips alongside how to do a hanging indent to help you become more skilled in Word:


Study the software. To comprehend the different features and capabilities of the various word processing software packages, spend some time becoming familiar with them. You can finish a variety of activities more quickly if you know where to find the appropriate equipment.


Sign up for an online course. You might think about signing up for a webinar or online course that teaches you advanced Word techniques. These classes give you a theoretical understanding of Word while also assisting you in gaining hands-on practical experience with the program’s numerous capabilities.


Obtain a Word certification from a professional organization. A Word certification boosts the value of your resume and helps you develop your skills. On your CV, you can list the certification information to set your profile apart from those of other applicants.


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