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Creating a Hanging Indent

Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Word versions: 97, 2000, 2002, and 2003. If you are using a later version (Word 2007 or later), this tip may not work for you. For a version of this tip written specifically for later versions of Word, click here: Creating a Hanging Indent.

"Hanging indent" is the typographical term for a paragraph in which the first line is not indented, but subsequent lines in the paragraph are. Typically, hanging indents are used for numbered and bulleted lists. To create a hanging indent in Word, use the following steps:

  1. Position the insertion point in the paragraph in which you want the hanging indent.
  2. Choose Paragraph from the Format menu. Word displays the Paragraph dialog box. (See Figure 1.)
  3. Figure 1. The Paragraph dialog box.

  4. In the Special drop-down list, choose Hanging. The By field changes to a value, most often one-half inch.
  5. Adjust the By field to indicate how much you want each line in the paragraph (except the first) indented.
  6. Click on OK.

Of course, Word provides shortcuts to create the most common application of hanging indents—numbered and bulleted lists. To apply these, you can simply use the appropriate Numbering or Bullets tools on the Formatting toolbar.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (267) applies to Microsoft Word 97, 2000, 2002, and 2003. You can find a version of this tip for the ribbon interface of Word (Word 2007 and later) here: Creating a Hanging Indent.

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Comments for this tip:

Ann    03 Jun 2015, 06:17
Dave, you are a lifesaver. Your info on creating a hanging indent saved me. I had been pushing buttons and messing up things for an hour. Thanks again!
Hlayisi Shivambu    27 May 2015, 06:00
Source so helpful indeed, wouldn't know where to start. Thank you
dave    07 May 2015, 12:33
ctrl-t creates a hanging indent in Word 2013. Much faster than your method.

shift-ctrl-t removes hanging indent in Word 2013.

hhiii    27 Apr 2015, 19:58
wow...idc
Liz    17 Mar 2015, 15:25
Thanks for this. My brother totally messed me up on my citing last year and that made me fail so I'm glad this was here to help.
james    03 Mar 2015, 21:25
This source really helped me thank you you all are truly excellent
Amber    04 Dec 2014, 03:19
Super helpful and easy to follow! Thank you

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