What is a Hanging Indent?

A hanging indent is a formatting style where the first line of a paragraph is flush left, and all subsequent lines are indented. This style is commonly used in academic writing, bibliographies, and reference lists to create a visually appealing and organized layout.

Step-by-Step Guide to Create a Hanging Indent in Word

Step 1: Open Microsoft Word

Launch Microsoft Word on your computer and open the document in which you want to create a hanging indent.

Step 2: Select the Text

Highlight the text or paragraph that you want to format with a hanging indent.

Step 3: Access the Paragraph Dialog Box

To access the Paragraph dialog box, you have two options:

  • Option 1: Right-click on the selected text and choose “Paragraph” from the context menu.
  • Option 2: Go to the “Home” tab in the Word ribbon, click on the small arrow in the bottom right corner of the “Paragraph” group.

Step 4: Set the Hanging Indent

In the Paragraph dialog box, navigate to the “Indentation” section.

Under “Special,” select “Hanging” from the drop-down menu.

Specify the desired measurement for the hanging indent in the “By” field. This measurement determines how far the subsequent lines will be indented.

Click “OK” to apply the hanging indent to the selected text.

Step 5: Review and Adjust

Review the applied hanging indent by checking the formatting of the selected text. If necessary, you can adjust the indent measurement by repeating Step 3 and Step 4.

Additional Tips

Here are a few additional tips to keep in mind when working with hanging indents in Word:

  • Use hanging indents for reference lists, bibliographies, and citations to create a professional and organized appearance.
  • Apply hanging indents consistently throughout your document for a cohesive and polished look.
  • If you have multiple paragraphs that require a hanging indent, select all the paragraphs and follow the same steps outlined above.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Can I create a hanging indent for a single line of text?

A: No, a hanging indent is typically used for paragraphs or multiple lines of text. If you only have a single line of text, you can manually adjust the indentation using the ruler at the top of the Word document.

Q: How do I remove a hanging indent in Word?

A: To remove a hanging indent in Word, select the text with the hanging indent, access the Paragraph dialog box, and change the “Special” option to “None.” Click “OK” to remove the hanging indent.

Q: Can I customize the measurement of the hanging indent?

A: Yes, you can specify the desired measurement for the hanging indent in the “By” field of the Paragraph dialog box. Experiment with different measurements to achieve the desired indentation.


Creating a hanging indent in Microsoft Word is a simple process that can greatly enhance the readability and organization of your documents. By following the step-by-step instructions outlined in this tutorial, you can easily format your text with a hanging indent and achieve a professional-looking result.

Remember to apply hanging indents consistently throughout your document for a cohesive and polished appearance.

Now that you know how to create a hanging indent in Word, you can confidently format your academic papers, bibliographies, and reference lists with ease.


For more information on creating a hanging indent in Word, you can refer to the official Microsoft Word documentation: Create a hanging indent.