How to do a hanging indent on Google Docs + 7 more useful tips

This post explains how to do a hanging indent on Google Docs step-by-step. For those who prefer a video guide, I included a video instruction to make sure everyone visiting this post can achieve this …

google docs hanging indents

This post explains how to do a hanging indent on Google Docs step-by-step. For those who prefer a video guide, I included a video instruction to make sure everyone visiting this post can achieve this task. Also, it gives you details about hanging indent in general and when you would want to use it. Let’s go straight into the guide first.

How to do a hanging indent on Google Docs

There are two main ways to create a hanging indent. The first way is drag-ang-go, which can be simpler and quicker. But you will have to release your drag at the exact spot you want to indent. The second way is by using a menu where you can input an exact width to indent. Let’s find out each method.

Hanging indent by drag-and-go

To create a hanging indent, you should make a ruler visible first.

  1. In your Google Docs document, go to “View” and check “Show ruler”.
  1. Now we have a ruler and we are ready to make an indent. Go to the paragraph you want to indent. Select a paragraph (or paragraphs) by either dragging the whole paragraph(s) or click any spot within a paragraph three times. Then drag the reverse triangle marked in the red rectangle below to the right until you want to stop. Once you release your click, the indentation will also stop.

3. After making the indent, drag the one above the reverse triangle back to the original spot. This will make the first line back to the left most location while the rest lines being indented.

  • Finish. that’s it. You have made a hanging indent on Google Docs document.

Hanging indent by menu

Using a menu can be a better way when you want to give an exact indent.

  1. Select a paragraph or paragraphs by dragging the whole paragraph(s). Go to “Format” -> “Indentation options”.
  1. Once you click the Indentation options, a pop-up window will appear. Under the “Special indent” section, change the left option to “Hanging” and put an indentation width you want to give in the right input box. By default, it is 1.27. Once done, click “Apply”
  2. Then you can see that the paragraph(s) you selected have a hanging indent as below.
Paragraphs having a hanging indent
  • Finish: That’s it!
Indentation input box

Hanging Indentation Video Guide

If you found the written guide difficult, try this video instructions. I believe that you will be able to finish it this time.

Google Docs Hanging Indent

About Hanging Indents

I believe that many of the visitors to this post would know what hanging indents do. But to make sure that you are using it correctly, let’s learn what they are and when to use them.

What is hanging indents?

According to this study website, a hanging indent is an indentation of subsequent lines after the non-indented first line. It’s also called as “negative indents”. They are always used in bibliographies, Works Cited, and References pages. They sometimes can be found in scripts, dictionary entries, and footnotes.

When to use hanging indents?

The study source explains that hanging indents are used as a format requirement in MLA (Modern Language Association), CMS (Chicago Manual of Style), and APA (American Psychological Association). If you are writing or planning to write a college paper with outside references, you should know how to use them. The goal is to visually separate entries without which can give readers confusion.

As I researched this topic, one of the most frequent use cases was for the reference section. It gave me a clear entry separation per each source.

7 More Useful Tips

Making a hanging indent is one tip that can be handy to format your Google Docs document. In this section, I will share 7 more useful tips that can help you to succeed in using Google Docs.

1. Suggest Mode

When you work with other teammates or colleagues, you might want to suggest changes to a document. You might know the similar feature in Microsoft Word’s Comments that allows you to edit a document without actually changing it. Google Docs has it too.

  1. Find the pencil icon that says “Editing” on the top right corner in a Google Docs document.
  2. Click it and change it to “Suggesting“.
  3. From now on, you can make changes. All of your editing works will be seen on the right side of the document.

2. Clear Formatting

You may have experienced this formatting issue like I had. When you copy some source outside your document and paste it into yours, it sometimes does not fit into your document format – font type, font size, indentation, and more. When this happens, you will want to clear formatting of the source.

  1. Select the section you want to clear formatting.
  2. Go to “Format” and click “Clear formatting”.
  3. This will change the format to fit into your document.

3. Table of contents

When you write a long document, it is hard to find a certain section. You will have to scroll down or up again and again until you find a part. Google Doc’s table of contents can be very handy to quickly find a spot.

  1. It is a add-on feature, go to “Add-ons” and click “Get add-ons“.
  2. On the pop-up window, enter “table of contents” in the search bar at the top.
  3. Select the first app and click “Install“.


When you want to discuss a certain part of your document, you can leave a comment that can be replied by someone else. You can edit or delete your comment or close your comments when it’s done. It is like a conversational thread.

  1. Highlight the part you want to comment on.
  2. Go to “Insert” and click “Comment“.
  3. You will see a blank input right to your document.

If you want to mention a specific person, type ‘@’ and select one of the contacts that Google suggests. Once you save your comment, that person will be notified by email.

5. Revision History

Do you want to go back to a previous version of your document? This feature can be useful when you want to recover your past work.

  1. Go to “File” -> “Version history” and click “See version history“.
  2. On the right side, you will see a list of revisions.
  3. Select the one you like and check the contents.
  4. To go back to that version, click “Restore this version“.

6. Conference Call

Did you know that you can arrange an audio conference call within Google Docs? It is not a native feature but an add-on you have to install. When you turn on the add-on function, you can invite your friends or teammates. As they accept your invitation, they can read and edit the document while being in a conference call.

  1. Go to “Add-ons” and select “Get add-ons“.
  2. Search “UberConference“.

7. Headers and Footers

Headers and footers can be helpful for readers to know the page number and the main title throughout your document.

Creating a header

  1. Double-click on the very top of any of your pages.
  2. Type your header text.


  1. Go to “Insert” -> “Headers & footers” and select “Header“.
  2. Type your text.

Creating a footer

  1. Double-click on the very bottom any of your pages.
  2. Type your footer text.


  1. Go to “Insert” -> “Headers & footers” and select “Footer“.
  2. Type your text.


We have learned how to do a hanging indent on Google Docs and why we would want to use it. After you read about the general points about hanging indents, you will have some further knowledge about them.

If you want to read my other post about Google Docs, check: