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How to add or change a hanging indent in Microsoft Word

What is a hanging indent and when do I use it?

A hanging indent is when you indent the second line in a paragraph, alongside all subsequent lines in this paragraph while leaving the first line without any ident, sitting in line with the margin of your document.

Also known as a second line indent.

Most commonly used in citations and biographies to allow a reader to easily scan a cited work or list of names. If your cited entry is more than two lines long, you should be using a hanging indent.

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Unlike the first line indent which can be created at the touch of a button [TAB], the hanging indent does require a few more steps. Simple, quick and easy but still something that can leave you wondering why you just can’t figure out how to make it work.

In this post, we will walk you through how to insert a hanging or second line indent into your document. These steps can also be used to change to size of your hanging indent or to remove it all together.

Continue reading below…

Inserting and editing a second line indent

  1. Open Word
  2. Place your cursor where you would like the insert or edit the first-line indeed
  3. Right Click
  4. Click Paragraph
  1. Select Hanging under ‘Special’
  1. Select the indent size, customising the indent to best suit your document
  1. Press OK

You have now added and or edited a hanging indent in your Microsoft Word Document.

You can customise the indent size on each paragraph, however it is recommended that you either work with the standard 1.27cm indent or the same size indent throughout your document.

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When working with a number of people in the same Word document you can quickly find yourself siphoning through old versions to compute who made what changes where and when.

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