Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Word versions: 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, and Word in Office 365. 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 February 6, 2019)

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! Continue to press Ctrl+T to increase the distance of the 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 Word's predetermined tab stops, 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, 2016, 2019, and Word in Office 365. 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. ...

MORE FROM ALLEN

Attaching Macros to Documents

When you distribute documents to other people, you may want those documents to have associated macros that the reader can ...

Discover More

Graphics and Line Height

If the inline graphics in your document appear "chopped off," it could be directly related to the formatting within the ...

Discover More

Creating an Organization Chart

Graphics are often added to worksheets to make it easier to understand the data contained in the worksheet. Sometimes, ...

Discover More

Do More in Less Time! Are you ready to harness the full power of Word 2013 to create professional documents? In this comprehensive guide you'll learn the skills and techniques for efficiently building the documents you need for your professional and your personal life. Check out Word 2013 In Depth today!

More WordTips (ribbon)

Centering a Paragraph with the Keyboard

Need a quick shortcut that you can use to center your paragraph between the margins? The answer is here.

Discover More

Extending a Paragraph into the Left Margin

Word allows you to format a paragraph so that it extends into the left margin of the document. This is done by setting a ...

Discover More

Adjusting Spacing After a Paragraph

There is no need to press Enter a second time at the end of each paragraph. Let Word take care of the spacing ...

Discover More
Subscribe

FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in WordTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

View most recent newsletter.

Comments

If you would like to add an image to your comment (not an avatar, but an image to help in making the point of your comment), include the characters [{fig}] in your comment text. You’ll be prompted to upload your image when you submit the comment. Maximum image size is 6Mpixels. Images larger than 600px wide or 1000px tall will be reduced. Up to three images may be included in a comment. All images are subject to review. Commenting privileges may be curtailed if inappropriate images are posted.

What is 0 + 2?

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.


This Site

Got a version of Word that uses the ribbon interface (Word 2007 or later)? This site is for you! If you use an earlier version of Word, visit our WordTips site focusing on the menu interface.

Newest Tips
Subscribe

FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in WordTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

(Your e-mail address is not shared with anyone, ever.)

View the most recent newsletter.