What Is a Hanging Indent?

When writing scientific articles, you must follow certain guidelines. A research journal mandates writing styles, formats, and guidelines. 

The author must follow these when they submit an article for publication. This ensures the article conforms to the presentation quality characteristics of that journal. There are three general formatting guidelines — MLA, APA, and Chicago.

According to the APA formatting guidelines, authors must use a hanging indent. The first line of the reference citation paragraph must line up with the left margin. All other lines in the paragraph must have an indent of one-half inch from the left margin. This is the opposite of how we normally indent paragraphs.

In this presentation, we will attempt to answer the following questions:

  • What does a hanging indent look like?
  • When to use a hanging indent?
  • How many spaces is needed for a hanging indent?
  • What is the difference between First Line Indent and Hanging Indent?

Let us begin.

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What Are Tab Stops? And How to Add and Remove Them

While working in an MS Word document, you can press the Tab key on your keyboard to see how it works. It causes the cursor to advance to a position marked by what is called a ‘tab stop’. Word processors use tab stops to allow the user to align text the way they prefer.

In MS Word, the horizontal ruler which usually shows above your document will indicate where these tab stops are. On the ruler, a bold L marks the left tab stops that you may have defined. If you have defined right tab stops, the L would be in the backward direction.

A button on the extreme left side of the horizontal ruler in MS Word is called the Tab Selector. By clicking on this button repeatedly, the user can choose the type of tab stop they want to use.

With each click, you will cycle through the five options. 

When aligning or positioning text, it is never a good practice to use the spacebar. This will cause formatting problems. Rather, you must use one of the alignment settings to position text. Alternatively, you can also use tab stops and the tab key.

Types of Tab Stops

MS Word positions a default tab stop at every 0.5 inches. Apart from this, it offers five options for introducing custom tab stops. These are:

  • Left — Aligns the left-side of the text with the tab stop;
  • Center — Aligns the text to center it under the tab stop;
  • Right — Aligns the right-side of the text with the tab stop;
  • Decimal — Aligns text and numbers by decimal points;
  • Bar — Inserts a vertical line character at the tab stop.

Creating a Tab Stop

You can create a custom tab stop in one of two methods:

  • Using the Tab Selector key and the Horizontal Ruler;
  • Using the Paragraphs menu.

Note that you must first select the text on which you want to apply the tab stops.

Below we will explain step-by-step how to apply these two methods, and will also share two methods you can use to remove tab stops.

Let us begin.

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