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: Hanging Indent Shortcut.
by Allen Wyatt
(last updated July 28, 2018)
A hanging indent is created when the first line of the paragraph starts at the left margin but the second and subsequent lines are indented from the left margin. Hanging indents are a very common formatting tool in many documents.
If you like to use the keyboard to do your formatting, you may be interested in knowing how to format a paragraph to use a hanging indent just by using a keyboard shortcut. You do this in Word by pressing Ctrl+T. This "hangs" a paragraph to the next tab stop. If there are no explicit tab stops in the paragraph, then Word indents to the next default tab stop, typically one-half inch. Each press of the shortcut indents the hang one more tab stop. You can also use Shift+Ctrl+T to undo the indent by one tab stop.
You should note that this shortcut is rather generic in its effect. If you have different levels of hanging indent that you want to use in a document, or if you have quite a few such paragraphs to format, it is much more efficient to create one or more styles that define your hanging indents. You can then assign keyboard shortcuts to these styles and use them to apply the desired formatting.
WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (3424) 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: Hanging Indent Shortcut.
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