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Double Indenting

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: Double Indenting.

In many businesses (such as the legal profession) it is important to be able to indent paragraphs from both the left and right margins. This helps to offset information from the foregoing and following text so it stands out better. This type of paragraph formatting is often applied to quotations and other "verbatim" information included in a document.

Unfortunately, Word does not include a quick shortcut to create a double indent. You can press Ctrl+M, but that indents only the left side of a paragraph. You are still stuck using the Paragraph dialog box or the Ruler to indent the right side.

One way around this is to create a style in Word that has the necessary indents on both the left and right side. The style can then be assigned to a keyboard shortcut so you can apply it easily. This approach can be very powerful, especially if you think you may need to change the margins on double-indented paragraphs at a later time.

Another approach is to create a macro that does the indenting for you. You can then assign the macro to a keyboard shortcut (such as Alt+D) so it can be invoked easily. The following macro will increase both the left and right indent of a paragraph by a quarter-inch.

Sub DoubleIndent()
    Dim Lindt as Single
    Dim Rindt as Single

    Lindt = Selection.ParagraphFormat.LeftIndent
    Rindt = Selection.ParagraphFormat.RightIndent
    Lindt = Lindt + 18
    If Lindt > 180 Then Lindt = 0
    Rindt = Rindt + 18
    If Rindt > 180 Then Rindt = 0
    Selection.ParagraphFormat.LeftIndent = Lindt
    Selection.ParagraphFormat.RightIndent = Rindt
End Sub

The nifty thing about this macro is that you can repeatedly apply it, and continue to step the margins inward. When you try to increase the margins beyond 2.5 inches on each side, the indents are automatically set back to zero and the process can start again.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (1315) 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: Double Indenting.

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Comments for this tip:

Paul Romney    28 Apr 2014, 10:12
Having struggled to format a volume of essays for publication using Word 2010, I completely agree with Michelle. In my opinion, WordPerfect is way better.
Frank D    09 Jul 2013, 21:14
I believe that all editions of Word and the other Office programs that have the ribbon were specifically designed for, created for and aimed by MS at the less-capable and -sophisticated word processor users, i.e., beginners. In effect, MS needed "new blood." The ribbon is "eye-candy" for those newly introduced to and who are inexperienced at Office-type programs, to draw them into Microsoft's World and show them how "easy" and entertaining MS programs are to use. Getting work done? Not so much.
Michelle    03 May 2013, 09:51
Word 2007, Word 2010 and Word 2013 are a joke. Word which is supposed to be a "word processor" falls short as to what it is supposed to be. It does not have double indent preinstalled into the system, it does not have 'fit to page' automatically set up for a shortcut key, and when you go into another document that was created on a separate computer or created before you did your initial setup of what formats you want, it resets them to either the other users or the original styles that you did not want. There is no way to have your presets appear for all documents that are open. It only gives you the choice of changing your "normal" blank document or the current document. These programs are in essence a "point and click" program for pretty much everything, and no longer meets the office standards of a word processor. I recommended Word to my office because I had been trained on Word 2003 which was a great word processor. These new "ribboned" Word programs do not get the job done. News Flash Microsoft: Every second a person has to take a hand away from the keyboard to play with the mouse and find which "ribbon" the action is on slows the speed in which a document is prepared. The least you can do is offer a Word program for offices that focuses on work production, hence hotkeys and F-Stop keys and provide the basic functions that are truly necessary for offices.
Mohan G    15 Jul 2012, 04:19

It's great. it's very useful for me. Of course i want a coding find the indent level and fix a character in-front of corresponding indent level. please help me how to proceed that.

Mohan G.
Mike    04 Jun 2012, 10:07
Thank you. This was very helpful.

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