Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Can’t Hang with the Hanging Indent?

Formatting your paper in proper MLA or APA style may seem difficult at first, but there are really only a few key MS Word settings to remember. One-inch margins, twelve-point Times New Roman font, double-spaced, and page numbers inserted (more on all that at this link). But what about this “hanging indent” business? What the heck is that?

Think of a hanging indent as the reverse of a normal paragraph indentation. A paragraph starts with the first line indented, but the hanging indent means everything except the first line is indented. The hanging indent format is used on source citations in both MLA and APA format. So after you’ve assembled the citations for your Works Cited page at the end of your paper, you need to “hang” ‘em.

"How do I create a hanging indent?"

Highlight the individual citation and find the “paragraph” section of the “home” tab at the top of your MS Word screen. See that little arrow doo-dad in the corner of the paragraph section? Click on that.

When the paragraph dialog box opens, look for the indentation section and use the pull-down bar under “special” to select “hanging.” Then click OK at the bottom of the box. Repeat this action for each citation.

"That’s too much work!"

I agree. I’m getting tired just thinking about it. So here’s the easiest way.

Select the citation and hit ctrl + T on your keyboard. Boom! Indent hung!

As always, you can ask the friendly SCC Librarians for help with this and other MLA/APA matters. And you can also check out these helpful pages from the SCC Library website:

Handy tutorials:

Happy hanging!