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.
Question #1: What does the hanging indent look like?
A regular paragraph has all its lines aligned to the left margin.
For a paragraph with a hanging indent, only the first line aligns with the left margin. Subsequent lines of the paragraph have an indent of one-half inch to the right of the left margin.
Question #2: When to use a hanging indent?
A hanging indent is necessary when you are writing a document using the APA guidelines. You use hanging indents when presenting a reference citation paragraph, that is when listing all the sources that you have cited in your presentation document. The first line of each citation should be further to the left than the lines below.
You can also use the hanging indent to give your document a different look. For this, you can adjust the size of the hanging indent from 0” to any other length.
Question #3: How many spaces is needed for a hanging indent?
A hanging indent is not counted in spaces. Rather, the hanging indent is measured in inches. According to the APA formatting guidelines, the hanging indent is 0.5 inches from the left margin.
Question #4: What is the difference between first line indent and hanging indent?
The First Line Indent will move the first line of the paragraph to the right by half of an inch by default. The rest of the lines in the paragraph remain aligned to the left margin. You can change the size of the indent from the default value.
This is what it will look like:
On the other hand, applying a Hanging Indent to a paragraph will align the first line with the left margin, while moving the rest of the lines in the paragraph to the right, by default, by half an inch. You can change the size of the indent from the default value.
This is what it will look like:
The hanging indent paragraph makes the first line look like it is hanging to the left in relation to the rest of the paragraph, hence the name.
In reality, the first line aligns with the left margin, while the rest of the lines in the paragraph have an indent of 0.5 inches to the right.
Knowing the difference and when to use it is important. To find out exactly how to create it, read these articles: