Answered By: Kathryn Park
Last Updated: Mar 06, 2018     Views: 437700

I am assuming you are in Google Docs/Google Drive? No, you cannot create a hanging indent in Google Docs the way you would in Word, but there is a work around solution for PC or in the Google App on Mobile device. The steps are different for each, so make sure you look at the right set.


  1. After entering your citation, hit enter after the end of each line to make it double spaced.
  2. Highlight all but the first line in your citation and use the increase indent option on the Google docs toolbar. 
  3. Your citation will now be both double spaced and have a hanging indent.

click image to see full size

Google App on Mobile Device*

This was tested on an iPhone. If we find that steps are different on on Android devices we will update.

  1. After entering your citation, hit return at the beginning of each line to make it double spaced.
  2. Highlight all but the first line in your citation and use the increase indent option on the Google docs toolbar. Depending on the size of your device, you may need to hold it in landscape mode to see the indent option.
  3. Your citation will now be both double spaced and have a hanging indent.




Comments (27)

  1. works.
    by john smith on Mar 21, 2015
  2. Thank you so much!! This is so incredibly helpful. I only have a Chromebook, therefore can only use google docs, and was getting super frustrated trying to figure this out. Works like a charm.
    by D Reyes on May 09, 2015
  3. The more simple way is to use the ruler (you may have to make it visible through the view menu) and drag the upper left margin control over about 1/2 to 1/4 inches over.

    That should make a simple hanging indent paragraph that all you have to do is is hit enter to have a new paragraph indented automatically.
    by Arthur Hansen on Oct 31, 2015
  4. Thank you so much! Google Drive should have a hanging indent feature, but this works perfectly. It works in a pinch when you don't own Microsoft Office!
    by Katie on Nov 04, 2015
  5. It's a life saver especially when doing a research paper for my senior project. I have tired so many things and that is one thing I have not tired. Thank you so much!!!
    by Alexis on Nov 05, 2015
  6. this does not work and a hanging indent for my work cited please help
    by pat on Nov 12, 2015
  7. I double checked the steps, and they do work in Google Docs. Be sure that is the Word Processor you are using.
    by Erin McDaniel on Nov 13, 2015
  8. Tried all steps but not working.
    by Alex on Jan 12, 2016
  9. It appears you may now have to hit enter twice to have you lines double spaced in step #1. The answer will be updated to reflect this change in Google Docs.
    by Kathryn Park on Jan 13, 2016
  10. This works great for a Chromebook. I strongly agree with this method, and praise Kathryn Park for this suggestion.
    by Edward Jones on Jan 27, 2016
  11. Thank you so much!!! I love you guys!!!!!
    by This guy XD on Feb 01, 2016
  12. This is amazing stuff!
    by Bob on Mar 01, 2016
  13. Go to the end of the top line and press tab! Hit tab until the next line is indented properly.
    by Zac Stone on Apr 24, 2016
  14. It also works great if you go to the beginning of the second line, hit enter once to create a double space(doesn't APPEAR to do anything), and then press tab.

    by [why] on May 01, 2016
  15. Thank you!
    by Ct on May 05, 2016
  16. Thank you so much! It works!
    by Christina Armand on May 15, 2016
  17. In fact there is hanging indent functionality in google Docs, via drag and drop of indent and first-line-indent thingies on the "ruler". See e.g.!topic/docs/MfZ8xQFchDI

    The OP reported seeing no ruler, nor a menu item to enable one, so that was the more fundamental problem (but from the information given, I don't know the reason for it.)

    COM Library reply: This is correct. If the ruler isn't showing, use the View drop-down menu to select Show Ruler. Highlight the paragraph that needs the hanging indent. Drag the 2nd indent line stop in the ruler (the blue arrow) to the .5 marker. If it's hard to grab the arrow by itself, move the whole paragraph over to .5, then grab the both "stops" and move the 1st line stop (the blue rectangle) back to the left margin.
    by Colin Q Bang on Aug 21, 2016
  18. Hold down enter, shift and tab at the same time this works most of the time.
    by Maggie on Nov 15, 2016
  19. I cannot do this on iPad, any suggestions?
    by Pfelton on Jan 12, 2017
  20. Pfelton, you should download the Google Docs app for your iPad:
    by Kathryn Park on Jan 13, 2017
  21. thank you this was so helpful.
    by anthony on Feb 02, 2017
  22. thanks
    by Anon on Mar 03, 2017
  23. Hey guys I was having trouble too but just found out that for the "ruler" there is an arrow for the left indent that has a top and bottom part. The top part(rectangle) will adjust the 1st line (you need to highlight it, at least that's what I did and this method worked when nothing had) from how far away from the other half of the arrow you want it to be(half an inch) and let go and it automatically adjusted. [inserts thumbs up emoji]
    by Lily on Oct 18, 2017
  24. Thank you so much this helps me a lot!
    by Anh Tran on Nov 02, 2017
  25. Did NOT work. Had to go to word.
    by Nobody on Nov 17, 2017
  26. This did not help me at all. There was no increse indent button or whatever it is called. THIS DOES NOT WORK
    by Bob The Builder on Dec 12, 2017
  27. Bob The Builder & Nobody:

    The instructions do do still work if you are using a PC. If you are using a mobile device, the steps are different.

    On a mobile device you should download the Google Docs app and follow the instructions for the app now included in the answer above;
    by Kathryn Park on Dec 13, 2017

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