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How to do a hanging indent in Word

Depending on the nature of your work or projects, you may not use hanging indents often. A common use for them is in bibliography or works cited pages. If this is your first time using them (or if you just need a refresher), you may be wondering how to create one in Microsoft Word.




5 minutes

What You Need

  • A Windows PC or Mac

  • Microsoft Word

In this guide, we'll take a look at how to do a hanging indent on Word, on either a Windows PC or a Mac.

How to do a hanging indent in Microsoft Word on Windows

The following instructions can be applied to these versions of Microsoft Word for Windows: Word for Microsoft 365, Word 2021, Word 2019, Word 2016, and Word 2013.

Step 1: Open the Word document you want to edit. Then select the paragraphs you want to indent.

how to do hanging indent in word on ms screenshot paragraph selection

Step 2: Then select the Home tab, and within the Paragraph subsection, click on the dialog box launcher button, located in the bottom right corner of that subsection.

how to do hanging indent in word ms home tab paragraph button screenshot

Step 3: Once the Paragraph dialog box appears, the Indents and Spacing tab should already be selected. Under that tab, and within the section labeled Indentation, there is a drop-down menu under the word Special. Click on that drop-down menu and select Hanging from the options listed in the menu.

Click OK. Your selected paragraphs should now show hanging indents.

how to do hanging indent in word ms paragraph options dialog box screenshot

How to do a hanging indent in Microsoft Word on MacOS

Microsoft Word works a little differently if you have the MacOS version, but it's still possible to create hanging indents with the right steps. Here's what to do.

Step 1: Start by highlighting the specific paragraph or list that you want to start with a hanging indent.

Step 2: Now right-click on the highlighted text. In the menu that appears, choose the Paragraph... option.

how to do hanging indent in word choose paragraph the menu

Step 3: This will open the paragraph menu, which is quite similar to the menu used in the PC version. Look at the central Indentation section.

Step 4: Navigate to the Special dropdown menu, which by default is set to None. Select it, and choose Hanging.

how to do hanging indent in word menu macos

Step 5: Hanging indents will now be automatically enabled. The section to the left of Special shows how deep the hanging indent will be, starting with 0.5 inches. You can adjust this manually to a length that you prefer. When finished, select OK to make the changes.

Step 6: You can also choose Set as Default, which enables hanging indents for all your work. If you are working in a document where everything needs a hanging indent, you can choose this option. Otherwise, it's not necessary.

how to do hanging indent in word macos text

How to enable hanging indents in Chrome OS

We haven't forgotten about you Chromebook users! Chrome OS is designed to run fast and light, with a focus on web apps and cloud storage. That's why we recommend using the lightweight Microsoft Word web app, which you can access here by signing on with your Microsoft account. That will help save on space, but you'll need to know how the web app handles hanging indents.

Step 1: With a Word document open via Microsoft's online services, highlight the text that you want to change to a hanging indent.

how to do hanging indent in word web app indents

Step 2: Look at the right side of the upper menu options and find the three-dot icon for more settings. Select it.

Step 3: In the dropdown menu that appears, select Special Indent. Then select Hanging. The indent should now be applied.

Step 4: Note that documents created in this web app are saved to OneDrive and can be easily accessed from other computers.

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Anita George
Anita has been a technology reporter since 2013 and currently writes for the Computing section at Digital Trends. She began…
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