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.

Creating a Hanging Indent

Written by Allen Wyatt (last updated August 20, 2022)
This tip applies to Word 97, 2000, 2002, and 2003


"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.

Author Bio

Allen Wyatt

With more than 50 non-fiction books and numerous magazine articles to his credit, Allen Wyatt is an internationally recognized author. He is president of Sharon Parq Associates, a computer and publishing services company. ...

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