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How to do a hanging indent on Google Docs

Don't leave me hanging!
By

Published onJanuary 18, 2023

Bibliographies are required for just about any research paper ever written, but they can be quite difficult to format. The worst part is trying to create a hanging indent for each source. Luckily, adding them becomes easy and natural once you get the hang of it. Here’s how to do a hanging indent in Google Docs.

Read more: How to add borders in Google Docs

QUICK ANSWER 

To do a hanging indent on Google Docs, click View > Show ruler. Highlight the body of text you wish to do a hanging indent for, then drag the Left Indent button as far right as you want the indent. Drag the First Line Indent button back to the gray line indicating the page margin.


JUMP TO KEY SECTIONS 

How to do a hanging indent on Google Docs (Ruler)

Before you start, make sure your ruler is visible. We’ve shown you how to do this before with changing margins, and it’s a good setting to default. To make the ruler bar visible, click View and make sure there’s a checkmark next to Show ruler.

show ruler option location

Highlight the text you wish to indent, then click and drag the Left Indent button; this is the small blue arrow on the ruler. In our example, we’re moving it 0.5 inches to the right to make the total margin 1.5 inches.

indent the body of text selected

Once you’re happy with the indent, click the First Line Indent button; this is the small blue rectangle above the blue arrow. Drag it back to the gray line indicating the page margin.

first line indent button drag it back

Repeat the process for everything you need a hanging indent for. It works especially well for things like cited pages in papers. This also works if you need to indent a large quote within a paragraph.

How to do a hanging indent on Google Docs (Indentation options)

There is another way to do a hanging indent in Google Docs. It takes a bit longer, but it is still relatively simple.

Highlight the text you wish to do a hanging indent for, then click Format. Hover your cursor over Align & indent, then click Indentation options.

location of the indentation options in the menu

Open the Special indent dropdown menu.

special indent location

From the options that appear, select Hanging. In the field to the right, enter the value for how far right you want the hanging indent to be. In this instance, we are setting it to 0.5 inches. Click Apply at the bottom when finished.

finalize the kind of indent you want

When finished, your hanging indent will be formatted perfectly on the page.

what the hanging indent looks like

FAQs

You can either use the ruler bar at the top of Google Docs, or you can go into Indentation options and do it that way.

To do a hanging indent on the Google Docs mobile app, press and drag over the text you want to indent. This will select it. Tap the Format button; this looks like a capital ‘A’ with four horizontal lines to its right. Press the Paragraph tab along the top of the pop-up, then choose the indent type.

Note that this only works for normal kinds of indents, and you will need to play with the lines of your text if you want to do a hanging indent.