How to do Hanging Indent on Word: A Step-by-Step Guide

Are you struggling with formatting your document in Word? Have no fear! Creating a hanging indent is easier than you might think. With a few simple steps, you can have your references or bibliography looking sharp and professional.

Step by Step Tutorial: How to Do Hanging Indent on Word

Before we jump into the nitty-gritty, let’s talk about what a hanging indent is. It’s a type of formatting where the first line of a paragraph is not indented, but the following lines are. This is commonly used in bibliographies and reference lists. Let’s get started with the steps to create a hanging indent in Word.

Step 1: Highlight the text you want to indent

Click and drag your cursor over the text to select it.

Selecting the text you want to format is the first step. Make sure you highlight the entire paragraph or all the paragraphs you want to apply the hanging indent to.

Step 2: Right-click and select ‘Paragraph’

Right-click on the highlighted text and a menu will pop up.

After right-clicking the selected text, a menu will appear. Look for the option that says ‘Paragraph.’ This will open up a new dialog box where you will make changes to create the hanging indent.

Step 3: Under ‘Indentation,’ select ‘Hanging’ from the ‘Special’ dropdown menu

Find the section labeled ‘Indentation’ and click on the box next to ‘Special.’

In the Paragraph dialog box, you’ll see different options for formatting. Look for the ‘Special’ dropdown menu and select ‘Hanging’ from the list. This tells Word you want to create a hanging indent.

Step 4: Set the size of the indent and click ‘OK’

Adjust the ‘By’ field to set the depth of the indent, usually set at 0.5 inches.

Next to where you selected ‘Hanging,’ you’ll see a box labeled ‘By.’ This is where you can set how deep the indent will be. The standard is usually 0.5 inches, but you can adjust it to your liking. Once you’ve set the size, click ‘OK’ to apply the changes.

After these steps, your text will have a professional hanging indent. The first line will remain flush with the margin, while the subsequent lines will be indented. This format is often used for bibliographies and references, making them easier to read and more visually appealing.

Tips for Hanging Indent on Word

  • To quickly create a hanging indent, use the shortcut Ctrl+T. This will automatically format the selected text.
  • If you’re working with a long document, consider setting the hanging indent format before you start typing. This way, every entry will have the same formatting.
  • Remember to check your document’s style guide, as different styles (like APA, MLA, or Chicago) may have specific requirements for hanging indents.
  • Keep in mind that the hanging indent size can be adjusted to your preference or the document’s requirements. The standard is 0.5 inches, but this can be changed.
  • If you need to remove a hanging indent, simply highlight the text, right-click, select ‘Paragraph,’ and choose ‘None’ under the ‘Special’ dropdown menu.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I apply a hanging indent to a bulleted or numbered list?

Yes, you can apply a hanging indent to any type of list. Just follow the same steps for regular text.

What’s the standard size for a hanging indent?

The standard size for a hanging indent is usually 0.5 inches, but it can vary depending on the document’s formatting requirements.

Can I use the ruler to create a hanging indent?

Yes, you can also use the ruler at the top of your Word document to create a hanging indent. Drag the bottom triangle indent marker to the right to create a hanging indent.

Will the hanging indent format be saved if I email the document?

Yes, the hanging indent formatting will be saved as long as the recipient opens the document in Word or a compatible word processor.

Can I create a hanging indent on Word for Mac?

Yes, the steps to create a hanging indent on Word are the same for both Windows and Mac users.


  1. Highlight the text you want to indent
  2. Right-click and select ‘Paragraph’
  3. Under ‘Indentation,’ select ‘Hanging’ from the ‘Special’ dropdown menu
  4. Set the size of the indent and click ‘OK’


Creating a hanging indent in Word is a skill that can take your document from amateur to professional in a snap. Whether you’re writing an academic paper, creating a bibliography, or just want to add some visual interest to your document, mastering the hanging indent is a must. By following the simple steps outlined in this article, you’ll have no trouble formatting your text with a hanging indent.

Remember to use these tips and answers to frequently asked questions as a guide if you run into any trouble. With a little practice, creating a hanging indent will become second nature. So go ahead, give it a try, and watch your documents transform!