A hanging indent is when the second and subsequent lines of text on a page are indented to the right, so your first line stands out as the only line hitting the margin of the page. Typically, you’d use a hanging indent in a bibliography, Works Cited, or References page.
Here’s an example of a hanging indent on a Works Cited page:
See how the second line, beginning with “Journal”, is indented 0.5 to the right, compared to the line above it? That’s a hanging indent.
Hanging indents are a requirement of MLA (Modern Language Association), CMS (Chicago Manual of Style), and APA (American Psychological Association) styles. Whether you’re in school or work in the academic field, it’s likely you’ll eventually need to know how to create a hanging indent for academic writing or research reports.
Luckily, it’s easy to do. Here, we’ll show you how to create a hanging indent in a Google Doc in four simple steps.
How to Create a Hanging Indent in Google Docs
To create a hanging indent in Google Docs, you’ll need to first make sure your ruler is visible. A ruler is the measurement tool at the top of your Doc, used to help align text, graphics, tables, and other elements. To make your ruler visible, simply click “View” in your navigation bar, and make sure “Show Ruler” is checked.
Now that your ruler is visible, you’re ready to create a hanging indent.
1. First, select the text you want to indent. You can highlight one or multiple paragraphs.
2. Now, drag the left indent marker (the small light blue inverted triangle, which we’ve circled in red on the screen) to the right, stopping wherever you want your hanging indent to begin -- the rectangle will come along for the ride, which is okay.
3. Now, drag the First Line Indent marker (the light blue rectangle) back to the left margin.
4. And there you go! Your hanging indent is created.
Originally published Apr 27, 2018 8:00:00 AM, updated July 12 2019