Word Processing

Unit 3: Advanced Word Processing Techniques

Lesson 7: Paragraph and Large Block Formatting

How do you set up and use hanging indents?

Hanging indents are a special use of paragraph indents. The paragraph indent section of the Format/Paragraph dialog box (see Figure 1) allows you to specify the indentation for the left and right margin, and the first line. Under the special pull-down menu, you can select hanging indent and specify the distance. 

Figures 1 and 2 show an example of using hanging indents to format a bibliography entry. Notice the values in the Format/Paragraph dialog box and the position of the handles on the ruler in Figure 2. This example shows the magnitude of the hanging indent to be 0.6. The result is that the first line starts at the left margin, and the next lines start at 0.6" to the right of the left margin. The first line doesn't always have to start at the left margin, however. If, for example, you wanted the list at the right to be indented from the left margin, you could:

  1. Highlight the three paragraphs in the numbered list
  2. Drag the left margin handle on the ruler to the right

This will increase the left margin for all three paragraphs, but not effect the value of the first line indent. 

Probably the easiest way to setup a hanging indent is with the handles on the ruler. While adjusting the handles you have a visual cue that indicates the location on the page of the margin, plus the ruler is marked to show the numerical distance of the new margin.

Figure 1. Paragraph
Indent Section of
Dialog Box

Figure 2. Bibliography Entry


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Copyright 1996 by the Curators of the University of Missouri