How to Create Hanging Indent in Google Docs: A Step-by-Step Guide

Creating a hanging indent in Google Docs might seem tricky at first, but it’s actually quite simple. A hanging indent is when the first line of a paragraph is not indented, but the following lines are. This style is commonly used in bibliographies or reference pages. Let’s dive into how you can quickly set up a hanging indent in your Google Docs.

Step by Step Tutorial: Creating a Hanging Indent in Google Docs

First things first, let’s understand what we’re about to do. By following these steps, you will be setting up a hanging indent which will automatically apply to the selected text in your Google Docs document.

Step 1: Highlight the text

Select the text you want to apply the hanging indent to.

When you highlight the text, make sure you only select the paragraph or paragraphs you want to format. If you accidentally highlight additional text, it will also be formatted with the hanging indent, which might not be what you want.

Step 2: Go to the ruler

Find the ruler at the top of the page. If you don’t see it, go to “View” and make sure “Show ruler” is checked.

The ruler is a great tool for quickly adjusting indents and margins. It’s located right above your document and it’s very intuitive to use once you get the hang of it.

Step 3: Adjust the left indent

Drag the left indent (the light blue rectangle) to the right for the desired indent length.

This step sets the indent for the first line of your paragraphs. If you accidentally move the first line indent (the blue triangle) instead, just undo the action and try again.

Step 4: Move the first line indent back to the start

Drag the first line indent (the blue triangle) back to the left margin.

Doing this will ensure that the first line of your paragraph aligns with the rest of your document, while the following lines are indented.

After you complete these steps, your selected text will have a hanging indent. Each time you hit “Enter” to start a new paragraph, the hanging indent formatting will automatically apply, making it super easy to create a consistent look throughout your document.

Tips for Creating a Hanging Indent in Google Docs

  • Always make sure you’re working in a Google Docs document. The steps might be different in other text-editing software.
  • If you don’t see the ruler, go to “View” and click “Show ruler.”
  • Be careful not to drag the wrong part of the ruler. Remember, the rectangle is for the overall indent, and the triangle is for the first line.
  • Use the “Undo” feature (Ctrl+Z or Command+Z) if you make a mistake.
  • Practice makes perfect. Try setting up a few practice hanging indents to get the hang of it.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I create a hanging indent in Google Docs on mobile?

Yes, you can create a hanging indent in the Google Docs app on your mobile device, though the method may differ slightly from the desktop version.

Does the hanging indent apply to new paragraphs automatically?

Once you’ve set up a hanging indent, it will apply to new paragraphs in the same text block when you press “Enter.”

Can I use a hanging indent in a bulleted or numbered list?

Yes, a hanging indent can be applied to lists, but the process may be slightly different as you’ll need to adjust the indent for the list format.

How do I remove a hanging indent?

To remove a hanging indent, select the text and drag the indents on the ruler back to their original positions.

What if I don’t see the ruler in my Google Docs?

If the ruler isn’t visible, go to “View” in the menu and check “Show ruler” to make it appear.


  1. Highlight the text.
  2. Go to the ruler.
  3. Adjust the left indent.
  4. Move the first line indent back to the start.


And there you have it! Creating a hanging indent in Google Docs is simple once you know the steps. Remember, these formatting tools are there to help you make your documents look sharp and professional. With a bit of practice, you’ll be able to set up hanging indents in no time.

If you’re working on a research paper or setting up a bibliography, knowing how to create a hanging indent will be particularly useful. It’s a small detail that can greatly improve the readability and organization of your references. Plus, it’s a style that’s often required for academic and professional documents.

Don’t hesitate to use the ‘Undo’ button if you make a mistake, and practice with a few sample paragraphs to get comfortable with the process. Once you’ve mastered it, you’ll find that a hanging indent can be a great addition to your formatting toolkit.

Remember, whether you’re a student, a professional, or just someone who likes to keep their documents neatly organized, understanding how to create a hanging indent in Google Docs is a valuable skill. Happy formatting!

Join Our Free Newsletter

Featured guides and deals

You may opt out at any time. Read our Privacy Policy