Cathy Aranda
Cathy Aranda

Hanging Indents: The Basics

7 min read

Published on: Jun 24, 2024

Last updated on: Jul 18, 2024

hanging indent

Hanging indents are a fundamental aspect of document formatting, particularly in academic and professional writing.

They refer to a style where the first line of a paragraph starts at the left margin, while subsequent lines are indented to the right.

This indentation creates a “hanging” appearance, where the text seems to be suspended from the first line. 

Our blog will show how you can create hanging indents in popular word processing software like MS Word and Google Docs. 

How To Create Hanging Indent in MS Word 

Creating hanging indents in Microsoft Word is a straightforward process. There are two ways to create them. We’ll discuss them both. 

Using Paragraph Dialog Box for Hanging Indents 

Follow these simple steps to use the paragraph settings method for creating hanging indentation: 

Step 1. Select Your Text: Highlight the paragraphs or lines for which you want to create hanging indents.

Highlight the Content

Step 2. Access the Paragraph Dialog Box: There are different ways to access the Paragraph dialog box:

  • Right-click on the selected text and choose “Paragraph” from the context menu.
  • On the Home tab, find the Paragraph group and click on the small arrow in the bottom right corner.

Access the Paragraph Dialog Box

Step 3. Set the Indentation: In the Paragraph dialog box, navigate to the “Indentation” section.

  • Under “Special,” select “Hanging” from the dropdown menu.
  • Specify the amount of indentation you desire. Typically, a hanging indent is around 0.5 inches.

Select Hanging Indent

Step 4. Apply Changes: Click “OK” to apply the changes.

Final Hanging Indentation Look

Using Ruler Feature for Hanging Indents 

In the second method, you can also use the ruler feature to create hanging indents. Here's how:

Step 1. Show the Ruler: If the ruler is not visible, go to the “View” tab and check the “Ruler” option.

Show The Ruler

Step 2. Set the Hanging Indent:

  • Click on the small rectangle marker on the ruler (it looks like an inverted triangle) for the top indent.
  • Then, drag it to the right to set the hanging indent.

Set the Hanging Indent

To create a hanging indent of 0.5 inches (1.27 cm), place the upper triangular marker at the document's edge, then move the lower triangular marker to the initial mark after 1 cm.

Using either the Paragraph dialog box or the ruler feature, you can easily create hanging indents in Microsoft Word to enhance the presentation of your documents.

Creating Hanging Indent: Google Docs

Google Docs also offers an easy way to create hanging indents. Follow these simple steps:

Step 1. Select Your Text: Highlight the paragraphs or lines for which you want to create hanging indents.

Select Your Text

Step 2. Access the Indentation Options:

  • Go to the “Format” menu at the top of the Google Docs window.
  • Choose “Align & indent” from the dropdown menu.
  • Then, select “Indentation options.”

Access Indentation Options

Step 3. Set the Indentation:

  • In the “Indentation options” dialog box, locate the “Special indent” section.
  • Choose “Hanging” from the dropdown menu.
  • Specify the amount of indentation you desire.

Set Indentation

Step 4. Apply Changes: Click “Apply” or “OK” to apply the hanging indents to your selected text.

Apply Changes for Hanging Indentation

By following these simple steps, you can easily create hanging indents in your Google Docs documents.Common Citation

Formats That Require Hanging Indents 

Hanging indents are used in the reference list entries of some popular and widely used citation styles, such as:

Let’s move on to some examples of using hanging indents in different citation formats.

MLA Work Cited Entries

In MLA work cited page, the references should be double-spaced, and if the reference takes two lines, use the hanging indent for the next line and onwards. 

Here are some examples of hanging indent in MLA references:

Patel, Aisha. Beyond Borders: Exploring of Cultural Identity in

Contemporary Literature.

HarperCollins, 2020.

Chang, Wei-Lin. “Environmental Conservation and Sustainable

Development: A Case Study of Urban Gardens.” Ecological

Perspectives, vol. 15, no. 3, 2019, pp. 87-102.


APA Reference Entries 

In the APA style reference page, the hanging indent is used in the same way as it is used in the MLA style.

Here are some examples:

Johnson, T. K. (2017). The Psychology of Decision Making.

Cambridge University Press.

https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jadohealth.2017.07.024

Kim, S., & Lee, H. (2020). The Impact of Virtual Reality on

Learning and Education. Educational Technology Research and

Development, 68(3), 1473-1485. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11423-020-09802-4

Chicago Bibliography Entries 

Just like APA and MLA format, after the first line of each bibliographic page, the subsequent line is indented 0.5 inches from the left.

Take a look at these hanging indent examples of Chicago references:

Adams, Sarah. “Analyzing the Effects of Climate Change on Wild

Life Animals.” Environmental Studies Quarterly 25, no. 3 (2018):

45-59.

Garcia, Maria. “Local Community Hosts Charity Event.” Chicago

Tribune, February 15, 2024, p. A4.

Effortless Citations: Try PerfectEssayWriter.ai's Citation Machines Today! 

Struggling with citations? PerfectEssayWriter.ai offers an easy-to-use citation generator designed to save you time and headaches. No more fretting over APA, MLA, or Chicago style – our tools handle it all. Simply input your sources, and voilà! Your citations are formatted correctly, leaving you more time to focus on your writing.

Frequently Asked Questions

How to Do Hanging Indent on Word on Mac?

To create a hanging indent in Word on a Mac:

  1. Select the text you want to format.
  2. Go to the "Format" menu.
  3. Choose "Paragraph" from the drop down menu.
  4. Under "Special," select "Hanging" from the drop down menu.
  5. Specify the amount of indentation you want.
  6. Click "OK" to apply the changes.

What is the Hanging Indent Shortcut Key?

In Microsoft Word, there isn't a universal shortcut key for creating a hanging indent. The hanging indent is typically created using the Paragraph settings dialog box, as described in the instructions for Word on Mac.

How to Do Hanging Indent on Google Slides?

Unfortunately, Google Slides doesn't have a direct hanging indent feature like Word. However, you can manually create a hanging indent by adjusting the indentation markers on the ruler at the top of the document. Click and drag the markers to the desired position for the first line and subsequent lines.

How to Do Hanging Indent on Canvas?

In Canvas, you typically don't format text directly within the platform itself. Instead, you would format your text in a word processing program like Microsoft Word or Google Docs, including hanging indents as needed, and then copy and paste the formatted text into Canvas.

Why Are Hanging Indents Important?

Hanging indents make text easier to read and organize by separating paragraphs or lists. They're crucial in bibliographies, indented paragraphs, and business documents for clarity and professionalism.

Cathy Aranda

WRITTEN BY

Cathy Aranda (Mass communication)

Cathy is a highly dedicated author who has been writing for the platform for over five years. With a Master's degree in Mass Communication, she is well-versed in various forms of writing such as articles, press releases, blog posts, and whitepapers. As an essay writing guide author at PerfectEssayWriter.ai, she has been helping students and professionals improve their writing skills by offering practical tips on research, citation, sentence structure, and style.

Cathy is a highly dedicated author who has been writing for the platform for over five years. With a Master's degree in Mass Communication, she is well-versed in various forms of writing such as articles, press releases, blog posts, and whitepapers. As an essay writing guide author at PerfectEssayWriter.ai, she has been helping students and professionals improve their writing skills by offering practical tips on research, citation, sentence structure, and style.

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