Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Word versions: 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, and Word in Microsoft 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: Decreasing a Paragraph's Indent.

Decreasing a Paragraph's Indent

Written by Allen Wyatt (last updated March 8, 2024)
This tip applies to Word 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, and Word in Microsoft 365


2

One of the common tasks done to "break up" text and make it more interesting to the reader is to indent some paragraphs. For instance, you may have several paragraphs indented to set them off from the left margin of the document. If you want to undo an indented paragraph, or reduce the indent, you can quickly do so in one of two ways:

  • Click on the Decrease Indent tool in the Paragraph group of the Home tab of the ribbon.
  • Press Shift+Ctrl+M.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (12052) applies to Microsoft Word 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, and Word in Microsoft 365. You can find a version of this tip for the older menu interface of Word here: Decreasing a Paragraph's 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

Managing Comments

If you frequently add comments to cells in a worksheet, Excel provides a variety of tools you can use to manage those ...

Discover More

Calculating Only the Active Workbook

When you enter information into a workbook, Excel automatically recalculates every worksheet in every open workbook on ...

Discover More

Keyboard Shortcut for Comments

Adding comments or notes to the cells in your worksheets can help to document different aspects of that worksheet. Adding ...

Discover More

Create Custom Apps with VBA! Discover how to extend the capabilities of Office 2013 (Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, and Access) with VBA programming, using it for writing macros, automating Office applications, and creating custom applications. Check out Mastering VBA for Office 2013 today!

More WordTips (ribbon)

Indenting a Paragraph to the Next Tab Stop

Need to indent an entire paragraph from the left margin? It's easy to do using the tool described in this tip, easily ...

Discover More

Understanding Justification

Paragraphs can be aligned in four different ways. This tip examines those alignment methods.

Discover More

Eliminating "Before Spacing" at the Top of a Page

When formatting paragraphs in Word, you have several options to adjust the spacing before, within, and at the end of each ...

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}] (all 7 characters, in the sequence shown) 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 two more than 2?

2024-03-11 16:49:58

Paul Stregevsky

The indentation toolbar buttons are confusingly named. When you apply them to a numbered list or an outlined numbered list, the results can be unpredicable:

Decrease Indent and Increase Indent change the paragraph's level in the numbering hierarchy:

- If your paragraph number is Level 2, it will be promoted to Level 1 (Decrease Indent) or demoted to Level 3 (Increase Indent), as illustrated below by paragraph "a".

- If you've used outline numbers--say, for your headings--the Decrease Indent button will change a Heading 2 (e.g., 2.4) to a Heading 1 (3.0), while Increase Indent will change it to Heading 3 (2.4.1).

Decrease Indent Position and Increase Indent Position will merely change the paragraph's horizontal placement, as illustrated below by paragraph "4."

I keep both pairs of buttons on my toolbar. But I keep one pair separately from the other so I don't confuse them. (see Figure 1 below)

Figure 1. Decrease/Increase Indent buttons vs. Decrease/Increase Indent Position


2024-03-08 13:41:54

Malcolm Patterson

Like all forms of direct formatting, (a) this works, (b) it's quick, and (c) it's much better than the manual formatting that typists were trained to do (i.e., embedding tabs and spaces in the middle of the text to make the document "look right"). On the other hand, a more practical solution in the long run is to define a paragraph style with the text positioning you want. That way, when you decide to change the margin for such paragraphs, you can change them all at once.


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.

Videos
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.