How to make a hanging indent in Google Docs, for works cited pages and other forms

student working on laptop with textbooks
You can make hanging indents in any Google Doc.

  • You can make a hanging indent in Google Docs using the ruler tool, which lets you change the margin size.
  • Hanging indents are great for works cited pages, block quotes, lists, and more.
  • You’ll need to be using a computer to get hanging indents in Google Docs – it’s not available in the mobile app.
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Hanging indents are rare, but useful. Unlike an ordinary indent – where only the first line of a paragraph is pushed a bit to the right – a hanging indent leaves the first line all the way to the left, and instead pushes all the lines under it to the right.

You usually find them in bibliographies and MLA format “works cited” pages, and sometimes for creating lists within documents.

It’s easy to do hanging indents in Google Docs. Here’s how.

How to make a hanging indent in Google Docs

1. If it’s not already visible at the top of your Google Docs document, turn on the ruler by clicking “View” and then clicking “Show ruler.”

Google Docs Show Ruler
In order to create a hanging indent, your ruler must be visible.

2. Highlight the text that you want to indent. This can be a single paragraph, multiple paragraphs, or the entire document.

3. On the ruler, find the left indent control (which looks like a blue triangle pointed down) and the left margin control (which is a small blue rectangle). They’re usually stacked together above the left margin.

4. Click and drag the left indent (the triangle) to the right, as far as you want the text to be indented. A common indent is about a half-inch. Notice that when you do this, the margin control will go with it, and all the text will be indented.

Google Docs Moving Indent Control
Drag the indent control to the right, and the margin control will go with it. We’ll correct that momentarily.

5. Click and drag the left margin control (the rectangle) back to the margin where it started.

google docs margin
Return the margin control to the left margin, and you’ve just created a hanging indent.

You’ve now made a hanging indent.

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