Hanging Indent – Everything You Need To Know About The Format

Read on to know how to use the hanging indent in Google Docs and Microsoft Word documents in just a few simple steps!

This Advice was Last Updated 2 years ago.

It is highly essential to maintain integrity either at your work or academically. You can do it by adapting the suitable tools and settings for your documents. One such important feature is giving the correct indentation to your paragraphs or citation.

One of the most preferred indentation styles for creating and managing citations in academics is the hanging indent. This format is specially used to create the bibliography, references, and citations. In this type of indent, the lines of a text get indented by five spaces.

Read on to know how to use the hanging indent in Google Docs and Microsoft Word documents in just a few simple steps!

What Is The Hanging Indent Format?

Hanging indent is also referred to as negative indent, second line indent, or reverse indent. This indent is mainly used for the bibliography or in the reference section. By using the hanging indent, you can quickly view all the entries emphasizing on author’s name.

It is a formatting style that indents all the text except the first line while conforming to the MLA ☍, APA ☍, and Chicago ☍ style guides. You can avail these settings in both the applications, be it MS Word or Google Docs. While creating or editing a document, you can quickly implement hanging indentation by giving an exact value in the paragraph settings.

If you are looking for a quicker option, use the special indentation feature created by Google Docs and MS Word. It is easily accessible on all your electronic devices such as laptops, tablets, and even your phone. To know how you can use this feature in the two applications, scroll ahead!

What Is The Hanging Indent In MS Word?

MS Word is probably the very first application you all would have started to work on. However, using the updated feature, you can turn your text into a hanging indent in just a few minutes. Read the steps to create a hanging indent Word:

  • Highlight the text which you want to format.
  • Right-click the highlighted text and select ‘Paragraph.’
Hanging Indent Paragraph Select
  • In the Paragraph dialog box, click on the ‘Indentation and Spacing’ tab.
  • Select ‘Hanging’ in the special box under the heading ‘Indentation.’
hanging indent ms word hanging
  • Press ‘OK.’

Another simpler way is you can click on the Home tab. Then click on the small arrow near ‘Paragraph.’ Next, in the pop-up window, click on the ‘Special’ section. Finally, select ‘Hanging’ and press ‘OK.’ 

hanging indent ms word arrow

How Do You Do A Hanging Indent In APA Formatting?

While you format your document in APA formatting, it is better to include a reference list instead of a bibliography section. In addition, arrange your reference list in alphabetical order in context with the authors. Finally, follow these simple steps to apply a hanging indent in APA style in your document:

  • Select the reference.
  • Click on the arrow to expand the ‘Paragraph’ box (in the ‘Home’ section).
  • Under ‘Indentation’ Special select ‘Hanging.’
  • Set ‘By’ to ‘0.5 in’ or ‘1.27 cm’ (depending on your region) (as per APA standards).
hanging indent apa standard
  • Click ‘OK.’

Your text should now have hanging indents. Moreover, it is suggested to use double spacing in APA style, but it is always better to check with your tutor.

How Do You Indent The Second Line Of A Citation In Google Docs?

Google Docs is well known for its remarkable qualities. Still, it does not have any specific features to intend the second line. Nevertheless, you can make Google create one hanging indent Google Docs. Read on to know how to do hanging indent on Google Docs.

  • Start a Google doc and write your text.
  • Place your cursor on the second line and press ‘Enter’ (It will separate the lines of the text).
  • Click on Tab to indent only the second line.

If you have to indent more than two lines, you will require to repeat the process several times for each subsequent line.

How Do You Cite A Hanging Indent In APA?

Be it MLA, Chicago, or APA, a citation is an essential part of your academic work. Hanging indent citation aids in making your document more authentic and reliable as you provide the source of information used. However, it is essential to follow the specific rules of each of the styles you used for citing.

If you use APA style throughout your document, it is essential to create your citation in the same style. When you use hanging indent in APA style, you must keep in few aspects in mind, namely:

  • The citation must be in Times New Roman font.
  • You must leave double lines in the reference list (selecting it from the horizontal ruler).

Once you get familiar with the above steps, it becomes super easy to format your text in hanging indent.

What Is Default Hanging Indent Format?

All the citation styles, such as APA, MLA, Chicago, Harvard, etc., have different specifications. Based on these requirements, you can change your Hanging indent in the respective application. However, if you do not have to follow any specific style, you can opt for the default Hanging format.

How does the default format look? The spacing of the second line of your text changes. Also, the text shifts 0.5 inches or five spaces or by 1.27 cm from the left margin. It helps in illustrating where one citation is ending, and the other is starting. Moreover, by using hanging indent, it becomes much easier to locate Authors in the first line.

How Many Spaces Is A Hanging Indent?

Irrespective of the style you are using, the space of the hanging indent remains the same in all. It is 0.5″ or five spaces from the left margin. Thus, all the other lines are indented, and the first line of your citation is in line with the left margin.

If you are not following any particular format, you can change the space as per your tutor’s instructions. However, it must not be larger than 4x the point size, or the first line will seem disjointed from the left-side margin.

Closing Thoughts on Hanging Indent

Currently, the hanging indent has been gaining a lot of limelight in the academic area. Every individual must follow this indent in formats like the APA, MLA, or Chicago for citations. In simpler words, the hanging indent is essential in all your citations, which you can implement in a few simple steps.

Now that you have learned all about hanging indent and how to use it on MS Word and Google Docs, why not get to work? Make your assignments using this great style and get excellent grades!

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