Hanging Indentation in Microsoft Word

One of the most difficult items in citation for many students is getting the indentation to work correctly. As you know, all lines in a citation after the first line have to be indented. This is called "hanging indentation" because the first line "hangs out" over the rest of the citation.

Many students try to do hanging indentation by hitting "enter" at the end of a line and then simply tabbing the next line in. That works, but it's tedious, and it doesn't always look as nicely as it should because of the way the word processor uses hard returns caused by the "enter" key. And if you make any changes to the citation, you have to re-do everything.

It's much better to take advantage of most word processor's own hanging indentation option. I'm going to explain here how to do it using Microsoft Word, because that's the word processor that is available to students on CCC computers. Most other word processors are going to work in a similar fashion, though.

1. First, type in your citations without worrying about indents. Then, highlight what you want indented.


2. Then, go to the menu at the top of the page and select "Format"


3. From the "Format" menu, select "Paragraph"


4. The box that pops up gives you the formatting options for paragraphs.


5. Go to the selection box marked "Special" underneath the label "Indentation" and click on the arrow. Choose "hanging" as your option.


6. Click on the "OK" button at the bottom of the popup box, and you are done.


7. Everything that you've selected should now be properly formatted as hanging indentation.


Any further changes you make to the citation will not change the indentation, as it will now wrap around the end of the line just like any other text that you type in.