Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Word versions: 2007, 2010, 2013, and 2016. If you are using an earlier version (Word 2003 or earlier), this tip may not work for you. For a version of this tip written specifically for earlier versions of Word, click here: Creating a Hanging Indent.

Creating a Hanging Indent

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated August 4, 2018)

3

"Hanging indent" is the typographical term for a paragraph in which the first line is not indented, but subsequent lines in the paragraph are. Typically, hanging indents are used for numbered and bulleted lists. To create a hanging indent in Word, use the following steps:

  1. Position the insertion point in the paragraph in which you want the hanging indent.
  2. Display the Home tab of the ribbon.
  3. Click the small icon at the bottom-right of the Paragraph group. Word displays the Paragraph dialog box.
  4. Make sure the Indents and Spacing tab is displayed. (See Figure 1.)
  5. Figure 1. The Indents and Spacing tab of the Paragraph dialog box.

  6. In the Special drop-down list, choose Hanging. The By field changes to a value, most often one-half inch.
  7. Adjust the By field to indicate how much you want each line in the paragraph (except the first) indented.
  8. Click on OK.

Of course, Word provides shortcuts to create the most common application of hanging indents—numbered and bulleted lists. To apply these, you can simply use the appropriate Numbering or Bullets tools on the Home tab of the ribbon.

Word also provides a handy shortcut for creating a hanging indent: Just put the insertion point within the paragraph you want to "hang" and then press Ctrl+T. Word indents the paragraph to the first tab stop, but leaves the first line at the left margin—a hanging indent! You can undo the hanging indent by pressing Ctrl+Shift+T. If you want your hanging indent to be to some distance that doesn't match up to the first tab stop, then you'll need to use the steps described earlier in this tip.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (7358) applies to Microsoft Word 2007, 2010, 2013, and 2016. You can find a version of this tip for the older menu interface of Word here: Creating a Hanging Indent.

Author Bio

Allen Wyatt

With more than 50 non-fiction books and numerous magazine articles to his credit, Allen Wyatt is an internationally recognized author. He is president of Sharon Parq Associates, a computer and publishing services company. ...

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What is 2 + 0?

2018-11-30 08:43:19

Bob

Ben: Of course. Just move the hanging indent on the ruler as far to the left as you like and the first line indent further to the right. Works the same as any paragraph unless I'm misunderstanding your question.


2018-11-29 19:09:59

Ben

Dear Allen

Is it possible to indent the first line only of numbered paragraphs?

Warm regards
Ben


2013-09-09 10:56:26

rpurosky

Not sure why using the ruler isn't even mentioned. Though sometimes trickier, certainly more convenient if you know how to use it.


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