Answered By: Kathryn Park Last Updated: Jul 31, 2019 Views: 2117376
It's easier done than said (works for Word on PC or MAC):
- Place your cursor at the beginning of your citation, and highlight it.
- Right click your mouse
- Select Paragraph from the resulting pop up menu
- Under Indentation, use the Special pull-down menu to select hanging
- Use the By menu to select 0.5"
For multiple Citations in a References, Works Cited or Bibliography Page
- Once you've applied the hanging indent using the technique above, hit enter after your citation.
- If you are typing your citation it should keep the same formatting. If you are pasting in your citation, right click when you paste and select the paste as text option (looks like a A on clipboard) and Word will automatically apply all the formatting you've already done, including hanging indent, spacing, font, etc. Alternatively you could wait until all your citations are on your bib, highlight them all at once, then use the 5 steps as listed above.
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- When I highlight the 2nd line and do paragraph , indent, hanging for some reason it is indenting several lines not just the second line that I am highlighting! Please help, what am I doing wrong?
- Hi-Don't highlight the second line; just put your cursor in front of it, before the text.
Right click and select paragraph in the drop down menu. From there, you will see a box labelled Special. Select Hanging from the drop down menu. Hope that helps!
- This was a life-saver. Apple (Mac) sure keeps this information nicely hidden. I have been manually doing the hanging indent, and of course it's a mess & has the artificial spaces. This was easy to follow & worked like a charm. Yay!
- Dear lord...Could've saved myself a semester of rage if I had only found you sooner.
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- Thanks !
- If you are using Mac, simply highlight paragraph and choose format > paragraph and enter .5 in the indention area. Note: The instructions COM Librarian found online state to highlight the text, access the paragraph menu using the Format menu at the top of the screen, select Indents and Spacing, click Special, select Hanging, make sure the indentation is .5, and hit OK. Just want to be sure our bases are covered.
- Thanks so much I forget how to do this every other paper now I have this saved to my toolbar to grab for a quick memory refresher.
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We didn't even bring this up in class. THANKS SO MUCH!
(Computer literacy made easy!!!) :)
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- You can also make life easier by highlighting the bibliography (as long as there is a line between each entry) and right clicking> paragraph> special (this is in the indentation section above line spacing)> hanging.
It will automatically format with the hanging indent!
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- I was lost on hanging indentation as well, and you made it SUPER EASY to do! Thanks a lot!!!!
- Thank you SO much! This was extremely helpful :) I've been trying to figure this out for months lol.
- the simplest is: 1. put your cursor anywhere in the paragraph 2. in the ruler (up) drag the lower corner (triangle) to 5 (or any number you like) 3. Presto, you are indented. Note: Notice your ruler has two triangle and one rectangle. Learn to play with those three bar. Edit by COM Librarian: This is certainly another option. If you can't see the ruler above your document: 1. Select the View tab 2. In the Show area, put a check mark next to the ruler option. 3. You will drag the bottom triangle and the little rectangle underneath it. 4. For instructions from Microsoft w/ an illustration, copy and paste this web address into your browser's address bar: http://bit.ly/1r8u1uk
- So you don't have to do that repeatedly on each new source, start your bibliography on a new page. Then after step 5, above, click "set as default" to automatically format the rest of your citations with a hanging indent! This was great help! I had to roam the web a while before finding this! :P
- Why can't teachers make it this easy? thanks a lot!!!
- it only worked for one, the other two had the first line moving with them
- Hi zdgsfi
It sounds to me like the other citations you tried to format were probably copied and pasted into your Word document, and it probably brought over some formatting with it. You can click the paragraph symbol in the Paragraph section in the Ribbon to reveal formatting. In 2010, it's the symbol on the top right of that area. Remove any unwanted breaks.
You can also try re-pasting, and choose to merge formatting or keep the text only, and one of those options should eliminate that formatting. If you keep the text only, be sure to change the font, add back any italics, etc.
- Wow~ Thank you very much. That really help. Bless you. ^_^
- I'm on a Mac and using Google Chrome. There is no "Special" drop down in the paragraph formatting box.
My options are indentation before text and after text. Both affect the entire paragraph.
There is also no ruler at the top of the screen to make any adjustments and there isn't one under the view menu to turn on. (11/16/14)
- If you're using the online version of MS Word, it can't be done.
According to Microsoft, "Word Online will preserve a hanging indent already in your document, but it doesn't yet provide a way to add one."
FYI: Google Drive/Docs can do this easily and allows downloading as MS .docx.
- mlitty, I am assuming you are in Google Docs/Google Drive?
No, you cannot create a hanging indent in Google Docs they way you would in Word, but there is a work around solution:
1. After entering you citation, hit enter after the first line.
2. At the beginning of the second line of your citation, us the increase indent option on the Google docs toolbar.
3. Your citation will now be both double spaced and have a hanging indent. If your citation has more than two lines, you'll need to hit enter after the second line as well, but the indent will already be there.
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- I'm at the going-mad, pulling-hair-out stage of the other Word users before they followed the simple instructions––and after I followed the instructions many times. I know it's all buttons and that I'm doing something wrong. Just don't know yet where I'm going astray. Thanking any help in advance.
- Hi Joe
There issue is probably that you brought over the formatting from the source from which you copied the text. To start fresh, highlight the text that needs the hanging indent, and then right click. You will get two dialog boxes. The top one is for changing the font. Look for the button (should be to the far right) that says Styles, with a capitalized A and a paint brush. Click that, and a new box will appear. Choose the Clear formatting option, towards the bottom of the list. Now, keep the text highlighted and then follow the instructions for hanging indent. You will probably need to change the font style and size and add back in italics and that kind of thing.
The next time you bring over text, use the Paste button at the top left in the clipboard section. Click on the arrow at the bottom of the clipboard Paste icon. You will see 3 options to paste. Choose the middle one, called merge formatting. This should pick up the correct formatting that you just applied so you don't have to take all of these steps again. Use the merge formatting paste option going forward.
If this does not work, feel free to contact us. You can either start a chat, if the library is open, using the chat box on the right hand side of our MLA LibGuide, or any other COM Library page, or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Hope this helps!
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- This is not correct
- Hi Word User
The directions do still work for Word 2013. If you are having issues, you might need to remove formatting that was brought over when you pasted your citation. The command for this is in the Font section of the Home tab. It's the icon with an "A" and a red eraser. For instructions, go to this link: http://www.howtogeek.com/166537/how-to-remove-all-formatting-from-selected-text-in-word-2013-documents/
After that, highlight your citation again and follow the steps to create a hanging indent.
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- Thank you Kathryn! I figured this was a bug and almost bought a software update. Thanks to you, I don't have to. I can't tell you how much I appreciate it!
- Still struggling: wiped the format but the hanging indent toggle still drags the whole paragraph. Same if I use the tools in the indent and spacing dialogue box under Paragraph. I think my problem is that I'm trying to indent the subsequent lines of a numbered paragraph which itself is already indented. Is this beyond MS Word or am I missing a trick?
- Hi NCTM
I'm not sure what you mean by Hanging Indent Toggle. Did you follow the directions in the original answer? When you paste your text, use the remove formatting button. To access the paragraph dialog box, put your cursor in front of the 1st line of text. Right click with your mouse. Select the Paragraph menu. Then in the Indentation section, select Hanging from the drop down menu. Change the spacing if necessary, then hit done.
It sounds like maybe you are using the Ruler tool. While I'm sure it's possible, that's harder to explain here briefly. I edited a paragraph formatted as you describe using this method, and it worked.
- Thank you so much! I have been going crazy for an hour! This information should be available to students writing in Word today. You are the best!!!
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- my right click cursor won't work now i am lost
- Hi John, Without the ability to right click with your mouse, alternatively, you can:
1. Highlight the citation
2. On the Word toolbar find Paragraph and click on the small arrow on the lower right side to open all paragraph options.
3. Select Paragraph from the resulting pop up menu
4. Under Indentation, use the Special pull-down menu to select hanging
5. Use the By menu to select 0.5"
- very helpful thank you!! my qt is when I indent second line do I need to indent the rest? or just the second line?
- Hi Pumpkin
Yes, every line AFTER the 1st line will have a hanging indent. Only the 1st line will begin at the left margin. Glad you found the instructions helpful!
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- OMG thank you so much. Wasn't sure if my teacher taught this or not but you're a life saver even in 2017 :)
- I been doing it manually though not getting it perfectly but with your guide I can now do it without stress. You made my day
- I'm trying to do my APA references in Word for Mac (version 15.32). I have tried every single suggestion on this page, yet about half of my references still refuse to indent no matter what I do. I am at a loss.
- I fixed it! I had to repaste my text without any formatting and then reformat it. Apparently there was some hidden formatting (invisible even though I had editing marks turned on) that somehow prevented some sections of text from being indented. The mysteries of Word run deep.
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- I've looked everywhere but I don't have a "paragraph" option on the drop down menu when I right click on the 2nd line. I am using windows 10. Any help is very much appreciated.
- Hi Brigitte
If the paragraph option isn't appearing when you right click, you can also use the Paragraph option in the top of the ribbon. Follow this link (you might have to copy and paste) to see instructions from Windows: http://www.word-2010.com/hanging-indent/
- I might be doing it wrong. I'm writing a paper, I started a new paragraph, where I want the whole thing indented. When I go to use the trick mentioned the paragraph I want indents, but also the paragraph above, that I don't want indented. What am I doing wrong? Thank you.
- Hi Rebecca. You can get around that by hitting enter after the end of the paragraph that you do not want indented before you start the indented portion. You are letting Word know that that the next paragraph is different from previous and different styles can be applied.
- Thanks!! Really helped!
- Bless your soul. You have made my day...nay, my year. I was nearly in tears trying to figure this out. I think it's ridiculous that Word doesn't give you the option to format an existing citation!!!
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- i was wondering for almost two hours searching how to do hanging citation in my Microsoft words. finally, this come out. how can I never know about this?thank you so much, it helps a lot!
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- This is very helpful! I would like to share it with our students, with attribution of course. Is that ok?
Yes, feel free to share with your students.
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- I did this but it indents everything on my paragraphs that I need it on in my bibliography. Am I missing something?
- No Namw, I'm not clear if this is indenting everything in your bibliography or your entire paper, but I will say that in the 1st step, above, it's import to start at the 2nd line of your bibliography so the formatting does not get applied to anything else. If you come to the library we can help you fix your paper.
- Wow 😲 I had no idea it was sooooo easy!
- Oh my goodness, THANK YOU SO MUCH!!
I have been trying to figure this out for so long. I finally gave up in my last class and lost points because I could not get the second line to indent without everything indenting. I thought I had tried everything but I never tried this.
- IT'S NOT WORKING!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I NEED HELP!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
- Sorry confusedturtle420! We just checked and it still works for us. The good news is you can come to the library and we can help you with it one on one.
- WHICH LIBRARY!!!!! I AM LOST WITH THIS HANGING INDENT!!! We need to have a numbered cited reference sheet, and when I put the numbers on it, the hanging indent disappears, if you know what I mean. HELP ME ASAP BEFORE I FAIL MY CLASS!!!!
- confusedturtle420, This is tricky because a numbered or bulleted list is already indented. In order to force the 2nd line to have indent more, place your cursor at the beginning of the second line of the reference & hit Ctri + Tab at the same time. You'll
need to repeat for each reference.
FYI, as indicated on the header of all our pages, the library is COM Library. Our location is on the footer of every page. This is a common convention on web pages.
- oh my oh my thank you thanks
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- Let me add my thanks, that was so easy. I'd try manually doing the h.i. with the space bar but it would affect some lines and not others. With this my reference page looked perfect in less than a minute :)
- …But how do I get all of my entries in my bibliography to have the correct hanging indent? In my hands, these instructions only work for the line this is performed on. I used to be able to pull the upper triangle in the ruler and make all entries comply, but this no longer works in Word 2016 in my hands.
- email@example.com, you can still apply to your whole bibliography:
Once you've applied the hanging indent using the technique above, hit enter after the citation. If you are typing your citation it should keep the same formatting. If you are pasting in your next citation as most people do, right click when you paste and select the paste as text option (looks like a A on clipboard) and Word will automatically apply all the formatting you've already done, including hanging indent, spacing, font, etc.
Alternatively you could wait until all your citation are on your bib, highlighting them all then use the same 5 steps as listed above.
I am going to amend the answer above to include this info on how to apply to more than one entry in case anyone else is having this dilemma.
- Thank you so much. This is a great help.
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- OMG THIS WAS DRIVING ME CRAZY!! I was typing out the citation and then putting huge spaces in order to get it to indent- you are literally a life saver!!
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- WOW! Good information. I copied/paste citation for APA but I could not get the indentation!!!
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- Thank you. It is helpful.it assisted me in arranging my research proposal references
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- Thanks for the tips on how to indent second line in the citation. you made it simple than I thought and you have saved my day. thanks and God bless.
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- Thank you so much, I was getting so incredibly frustrating trying to do it by hand and having Word indent the whole citation, not just the subsequent lines. I really appreciate your help!
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