Software & Apps MS Office How to Create a Hanging Indent in Word Get the formatting right for references, works cited, and bibliographies By Aaron Peters Writer Aaron Peters is a writer with Lifewire who has 20+ years experience in technology. His work appears in Linux Journal, MakeUseOf, and others. our editorial process Twitter LinkedIn Aaron Peters Updated February 20, 2020 MS Office Word Excel Powerpoint Outlook Tweet Share Email The practice of indenting the first line of a paragraph is a common style for fiction and academic papers. The opposite, outdenting, is common with bibliographical references and other citations. It's also the default setting for bulleted or numbered lists. Here's how to create a hanging indent correctly. Instructions in this article apply to Word for Office 365, Word 2019, Word 2016, and Word 2013. Set Up a Hanging Indent Here are the basic steps for setting up a hanging indent. Open the document, select the paragraph you want to format as a hanging indent, then go to the Home tab. In the Paragraph group, select the dialog box launcher. In the Paragraph dialog box, select the Indents and Spacing tab. In the Indentation section, select the Special drop-down arrow and choose Hanging. In the By text box, enter a positive value using quarter-inch increments. The Preview section at the bottom of the dialog box shows how the text will look. Select OK. The paragraph you selected has a hanging indent. Place the cursor at the end of the paragraph and press Enter to create a new paragraph with a hanging indent. Alternatively, you can set a hanging indent using the ruler (located under the ribbon). If you don't see it, go to the View tab. In the Show group, select Ruler. Select the paragraph that will have the hanging indent. Move the bottom (up-arrow) slider on the ruler to shift the text in the second row and below. Use a Hanging Indent for References, Works Cited, or Bibliography List The correct formatting for references, works cited, and bibliographies involves the use of a hanging indent. Here's how to create it. Highlight one or more entries that you want to have a hanging indent. Right-click the highlighted text, then select Paragraph. In the Paragraph dialog box, go to the Indentation section, select the Special drop-down arrow, then choose Hanging. In the By text box, enter a positive number in quarter-inch increments. Select OK. The entries you selected reflect the hanging indentation. Apply Hanging Indent to a Style A style is a collection of formatting properties, such as bold, italics, double spacing, color, and size. You can add a hanging indent to a style, which you can later use instead of going through the process above each time you want to create a hanging indent. Here's how to do it: Open the document, then go to the ribbon and select Home. In the Styles group, right-click the Normal style. From the menu, choose Modify. In the Modify Style dialog box, go to the Name text box and enter a new name for the style. Select the Format drop-down arrow and choose Paragraph. In the Paragraph dialog box, select the Special drop-down arrow and choose Hanging. Then, set the distance for the indentation. Select OK in each open dialog box to save your changes and close the dialog boxes. The hanging indent is applied to all text that uses the selected style.