Answered By: Kathryn Park
Last Updated: Nov 21, 2023     Views: 2220799

It's easier done than said (works for Word on PC or MAC):

See instructions for your phone or smaller devices 

  1. Place your cursor at the beginning of your citation, and highlight it.
  2. Right click your mouse
  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"
  6. Select OK. 

For multiple Citations in a References, Works Cited or Bibliography Page

  1. Once you've applied the hanging indent using the technique above, hit enter after your citation.
  2. 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.

Paste the text

Create a Hanging indent on your phone

You might not see teh options on your phone. The key is to rotate the screen to landscape mode so you can see the available options (see images below to see the difference). Here are the steps:

  1. Once you have typed in the text you want for your block quote, tap enter/return before the first word of the quote and after the last word of the quote.
  2. Highlight the text that you want to indent.
  3. Rotate your device so that you're viewing it in landscape mode.
  4. Choose the indent option and you're good. If for some reason you can' do that, you'll have to tap the dot options that represent more menu options, bu that will take more steps.

View in Landscape Mode


View In Portrait Mode


Comments (145)

    by Oh yeah :) on Apr 09, 2013
  2. WOW! Thank you so much! This was driving me bananas!
    by greyandwednesday on May 28, 2013
  3. thank you
    by desperate student on Jun 05, 2013
  4. I checked out 3 other sites to find this info! Thank you for making it so simple. I felt embarrassed to ask in class because I felt like I was the only one who didn't know how to do it!
    by gloria on Jun 07, 2013
  5. Thank you so much!
    by Quest on Jul 14, 2013
  6. I also send thanks. I looked at many other sets of directions without success. You made it so easy!
    by KLR on Aug 01, 2013
  7. Thanks, was trying all types of things to get it to look like this.
    by Chris on Aug 06, 2013
  8. Thank you sooooo much!!!
    by Shay on Aug 31, 2013
  9. You have no idea how helpful this was. I was getting SO cranky. You are my hero.
    by m on Sep 27, 2013
  10. thanks a bunch! Made my life 1000 times more easier :)
    by Pavi on Sep 30, 2013
  11. Excellent job!
    by AB on Oct 09, 2013
  12. i love you!!
    by Sam on Oct 13, 2013
  13. 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?
    by Rob on Oct 18, 2013
  14. 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!
    by Erin McDaniel on Oct 18, 2013
  15. 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!
    by Jill on Oct 24, 2013
  16. Dear lord...Could've saved myself a semester of rage if I had only found you sooner.

    Thank you.
    by Dakota on Nov 06, 2013
  17. OMG!!! That was so simple! Thank you!!!!
    by Liz on Nov 07, 2013
  18. Thank you so much!! I had no idea it was that easy to do!
    by Greg on Nov 17, 2013
  19. Thanks!!
    by Amy on Nov 19, 2013
  20. Thanks !
    by Akshay on Dec 01, 2013
  21. 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.
    by D- on Dec 02, 2013
  22. 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.
    by Nikki on Jan 20, 2014
  23. Thanks. Why the hell is it hidden like that?
    by Brian on Jan 22, 2014
  24. thanks so much so easy thought it was gunna be complicated :)
    by chris on Jan 26, 2014
  25. Hey thanks haha
    by Skyler on Feb 18, 2014
  26. Yayyyy thank you SO much!! I had gone into rage mode, wish I had found this sooner, haha! Thanks again!!!!!!!!!!
    by YAYYY FINALLY :D on Mar 03, 2014
  27. Thank you. Was lost
    by Alex on Mar 16, 2014
  28. Thank you a ton! That was very very helpful. :)
    by Happy Student on Mar 27, 2014
  29. er-mur-gerd!!!
    We didn't even bring this up in class. THANKS SO MUCH!
    (Computer literacy made easy!!!) :)
    by katyah on Mar 30, 2014
  30. Thanks for the info!! Very helpful!
    by Happy user on Apr 07, 2014
  31. THANK YOU! I was having a heck of time trying to figure this out. Now I know and knowing is half the battle...
    by Becky on Apr 09, 2014
  32. I have been looking at my paper for an hr....thank you!
    by Tommy Rogers on Apr 09, 2014
  33. 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!
    by Ijaz on Apr 14, 2014
  34. thankyou!!!
    by liz on Apr 18, 2014
  35. Thank you so much! I was looking all over for this :)
    by Awesome guy on Apr 18, 2014
  36. Thank You!!!
    by Rob on Apr 21, 2014
  37. THANK YOU!!! This was making me crazy!
    by Chelsea on Apr 28, 2014
  38. I was lost on hanging indentation as well, and you made it SUPER EASY to do! Thanks a lot!!!!
    by Tianna on Apr 30, 2014
  39. Thank you SO much! This was extremely helpful :) I've been trying to figure this out for months lol.
    by Racheal on Jun 24, 2014
  40. 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:
    by mac on Jul 09, 2014
  41. 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
    by Jen on Aug 07, 2014
  42. Why can't teachers make it this easy? thanks a lot!!!
    by Caitlin on Sep 08, 2014
  43. it only worked for one, the other two had the first line moving with them
    by zdgsfi on Oct 12, 2014
  44. 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.
    by Erin McDaniel on Oct 15, 2014
  45. Wow~ Thank you very much. That really help. Bless you. ^_^
    by Aiman Halim on Oct 16, 2014
  46. 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)
    by mlitty on Nov 16, 2014
  47. 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.
    by mlitty on Nov 16, 2014
  48. 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.
    by Kathryn Park on Nov 17, 2014
    by Paco on Feb 18, 2015
  50. I have used this at least 20 times, so at least 20 thank yous to you!
    by Jeff on Mar 18, 2015
  51. Thank you! Finally a simple, straightforward answer :)
    by Chris on Mar 31, 2015
  52. Thanks
    by gabe on Apr 09, 2015
  53. You, sir, are both a gentleman and a scholar- this was driving me nuuuuttts!!! Bless you!
    by Missy on May 01, 2015
  54. Thanks so much.. Stay blessed
    by Jnr on May 17, 2015
    by Amanda on May 21, 2015
    by hi on May 26, 2015
  57. You are AWESOME!!!! Thank you so much!!!
    by Leota on Jun 14, 2015
  58. YEAH BABY!!! Thank you so much!
    by Jess on Jun 20, 2015
  59. 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.
    by Joe on Jul 19, 2015
  60. 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 Hope this helps!
    by Erin McDaniel on Jul 20, 2015
  61. You are a beautiful beautiful wonderful people you techies!
    by wordup! on Jul 22, 2015
  62. Thank you very much
    by Nikie on Aug 19, 2015
  63. That was extremely helpful, thank you so much!
    by Tommy 333 on Sep 27, 2015
  64. Thank you so much.
    by Saba on Sep 29, 2015
  65. Thank you so much for this! :)
    by Yomi on Oct 01, 2015
  66. Thank,s a lot a very technical example and now it is good to see
    by Muhammad Asim on Oct 28, 2015
  67. Thank you, wow.
    by Kevin on Nov 05, 2015
  68. This is not correct
    by Word User on Nov 07, 2015
  69. 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:

    After that, highlight your citation again and follow the steps to create a hanging indent.
    by Erin McDaniel on Nov 09, 2015
  70. Thank you!
    by Keira on Nov 18, 2015
  71. Thanks, it was so easy to do.
    by V.A. on Nov 18, 2015
  72. Bless your heart for helping out so many people, including myself. Helped tons.
    by Emily on Dec 06, 2015
  73. thx so much it helped a lot.
    by BOBBBY on Dec 15, 2015
  74. THANK YOU SO MUCH!!! you saved my research project!
    by kaylee on Jan 19, 2016
  75. Thank you, this was pissing me off to a point of no return.
    by No longer annoyed on Feb 12, 2016
  76. Thank you very much! This is helpful!
    by C.W on Mar 01, 2016
  77. TY
    by Pringles on Apr 05, 2016
  78. You just save my life. Thanks a lot!!!!
    by Glenda on May 03, 2016
  79. This was amazing advice sitting up all night trying to figure this out your such a doll thank you xx
    by poo on May 10, 2016
  80. 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!
    by loscorvette on May 21, 2016
  81. 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?
    by NCTM UK on Jun 01, 2016
  82. 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.
    by Erin McDaniel on Jun 01, 2016
  83. 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!!!
    by Cheryl Johnson on Jun 19, 2016
  84. This is so helpful, thank you!!
    by 12345 on Jul 22, 2016
  85. Thank you very much.. No other site gave me such an easy access.. thankyou again
    by Nayan Sharma on Aug 22, 2016
  86. Oh my goodness!! Thank you so much! I probably would be failing science if it wasn't for you!!
    by ANA on Sep 18, 2016
  87. my right click cursor won't work now i am lost
    by john on Oct 19, 2016
  88. 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"
    by Kathryn Park on Oct 20, 2016
  89. very helpful thank you!! my qt is when I indent second line do I need to indent the rest? or just the second line?
    by pumpkin on Dec 10, 2016
  90. 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!
    by Erin McDaniel on Dec 12, 2016
  91. Thanks so much!
    by d on Feb 14, 2017
  92. still saving lives in 2017 :)
    by aldkfjakdl on Feb 16, 2017
  93. Terrific. 2AM EST going nuts for hours. Fixed in seconds. Thanks.
    by Angel Lily on Feb 23, 2017
  94. Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!
    by Phillip Galicia on Feb 26, 2017
  95. OMG thank you so much. Wasn't sure if my teacher taught this or not but you're a life saver even in 2017 :)
    by Kiara H on Apr 11, 2017
  96. 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
    by Mudi Isechab on Apr 14, 2017
  97. 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.
    by Ray on Apr 18, 2017
  98. 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.
    by Ray on Apr 18, 2017
  99. This is was so helpful, much regards....,
    by Shadracknaz Nambuha on Apr 20, 2017
    by Haley on May 04, 2017
  101. stay blessed!
    by Eshetu.G on May 13, 2017
  102. helpful, thanks lot
    by g.sarange on Jun 05, 2017
  103. I never really comment on things online but this was SO HELPFUL and easy to follow. Kudos you just saved me a lot of time
    by Pete on Jun 29, 2017
  104. 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.
    by Brigitte on Jul 03, 2017
  105. 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:
    by Erin McDaniel on Jul 05, 2017
  106. 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.
    by Rebecca on Aug 12, 2017
  107. 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.
    by Kathryn Park on Aug 15, 2017
  108. Thanks!! Really helped!
    by John on Sep 06, 2017
  109. 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!!!
    by Erica on Oct 04, 2017
  110. God must exist because this helpful website does
    by OOOOOOOOO on Oct 08, 2017
  111. 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!
    by liya on Oct 09, 2017
    by SLEEPLESS STUDENT on Nov 01, 2017
  113. thank you, it was so helpful
    by Asma on Nov 05, 2017
  114. Thank you so much! it is really helpful!
    by Guanglei on Nov 14, 2017
  115. It works!! you save my life!! :)
    by hi there on Nov 19, 2017
  116. 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.
    by Roseanne on Jan 11, 2018
  117. thank you so much! that saved me :)
    by andrew on Jan 14, 2018
  118. you're a WONDERFUL human being, saving college students from being marked down points on structure. ily
    by shaka on Jan 19, 2018
  119. I did this but it indents everything on my paragraphs that I need it on in my bibliography. Am I missing something?
    by No Namw on Feb 21, 2018
  120. 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.
    by Kathryn Park on Feb 26, 2018
  121. Wow 😲 I had no idea it was sooooo easy!
    by Maddie on Mar 13, 2018
  122. 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.
    by Joy on Mar 25, 2018
  123. IT'S NOT WORKING!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I NEED HELP!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    by anonymous on Mar 29, 2018
  124. 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.
    by Kathryn Park on Apr 02, 2018
  125. 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!!!!
    by Anonyomous on Apr 19, 2018
  126. 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.
    by Kathryn Park on Apr 25, 2018
  127. oh my oh my thank you thanks
    by scott on May 03, 2018
  128. OMG thank you SO much!
    by Anon on May 20, 2018
  129. 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 :)
    by Redd on Jun 30, 2018
  130. …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.
    by Mark on Aug 06, 2018
  131., 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.
    by Kathryn Park on Aug 06, 2018
  132. Thank you so much. This is a great help.
    by John on Nov 03, 2018
  133. Bless your soul!
    by Elphie on Nov 05, 2018
    by Hussain on Jan 20, 2019
  135. thank you so much!
    by kualka on Feb 24, 2019
  136. 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!!
    by Julia Anthony on Mar 06, 2019
  137. <3 Thanks so much <3
    by Saba on May 02, 2019
  138. You’re awesome!! Thank you for tight-kitt explanation, I couldn’t figure it out !
    by CollegeChick on Sep 29, 2019
  139. WOW! Good information. I copied/paste citation for APA but I could not get the indentation!!!
    by Shanny on Oct 02, 2019
  140. Thank you very much, it worked! Simple and easy to follow!
    by Chris on Nov 06, 2019
  141. Thank you. It is assisted me in arranging my research proposal references
    by Abai on Nov 14, 2019
  142. Thank you so much for this...🙂
    by Abdul Rehman on Nov 24, 2019
  143. 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.
    by Mac on Mar 11, 2020
  144. Thank you so much. You just helped me earn a better grade in all my future classes!!
    by Cade Macdonald on Apr 17, 2020
  145. 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!
    by EP on Nov 29, 2020

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