Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Word versions: 2007, 2010, and 2013. 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 Double Hanging Indent.
by Allen Wyatt
(last updated April 4, 2015)
Charles is looking for a way to create a "double hanging indent" for a paragraph. For instance, he needs a paragraph that allows him to type a date, press the Tab key, type multiple lines of information, press the Tab key on the last line, and type a dollar amount. Both the date and the dollar amount would be "hanging" to the left and the right of the main paragraph body, respectively.
Most WordTips subscribers suggested that the easiest way to handle this type of formatting is to use a table. All you need to do is create a single-row table that has three cells. In the left cell you can put your date, in the right cell put your dollar amount, and in the center cell type your paragraph.
While this approach can be used, it is also possible to do exactly what Charles is asking, using regular formatting tools. As an example, if your page has one-inch margins on both the left and right, you can follow these general steps:
The trick is that you can set a tab stop beyond the right paragraph margin. So you first set an ordinary hanging indent, then a right indent, then a right-aligned tab stop at the page margin. For example, if your page margins are 1 inch on both the left and right, that gives you a 6.5-inch line length. You could set a hanging indent at 0.5 inches (1.5 inches from the left side of the page), a 1-inch right indent (so that text stops 2 inches from the right side of the page), and a right-aligned tab stop at 6.5 inches (at the 1-inch right page margin).
To use this formatting, you do exactly what Charles says he wants to do—you type a date, press Tab, type your paragraph, press Tab again, and then type your dollar amount. If you want the dollar amount to be on the line just under the paragraph, just press Ctrl+Enter at the end of the paragraph and press Tab until you are at the place where you type your dollar amount.
This formatting approach results in the date and the dollar amount being on different lines on the printed page, provided that the paragraph uses multiple lines. If you want the date and dollar figure to be on the same line (in other words, for only the center paragraph to "hang down"), then you will need to use the table approach to formatting mentioned earlier.
WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (9919) applies to Microsoft Word 2007, 2010, and 2013. You can find a version of this tip for the older menu interface of Word here: Creating a Double Hanging Indent.
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