Skip to Main Content

Hanging Indents: How to Make Them

How to format hanging indents in Google Docs and in Word for use in your citation lists.

What is a Hanging Indent?

Whether you are creating citation lists in MLA or APA, you will be asked to format your Works Cited (MLA) or References (APA) using hanging indents. This format keeps the first line of the citation on the leftmost margin of the paper while all other lines are indented in half an inch. This format makes it easy to find citations in the list; the citations will be be alphabetized and the identifying word from the in-text citation (often the author's last name) is featured.

This is an example of what citations would look like after they have been formatted with hanging indents:









Note that this format is NOT created by pressing the Tab button on your keyboard. The citation is formatted using the special hanging indent option within your software. The process is similar, but not identical, depending on whether you are using Google Docs or Word. Use the menu on this page to select "Using Google Docs" or "Using Word" to get a step-by-step tutorial.