How to Indent Second Line in Word: A Step-by-Step Guide for Users

Indenting the second line in a Word document is pretty straightforward. You just need to adjust the paragraph settings to create a special hanging indent. This ensures that only the second line (and any subsequent lines) are indented, making your text look neat and organized. Follow the steps below to achieve it.

How to Indent Second Line in Word

This tutorial will walk you through the steps to create a hanging indent in a Word document. This method is particularly useful for formatting bibliographies, citations, and lists.

Step 1: Open Your Word Document

Open the Word document where you want to indent the second line.

Make sure the document you want to edit is open and accessible. Having it ready beforehand will save you time.

Step 2: Select the Text

Highlight the paragraph or text block where you want the second line to be indented.

Be precise in your selection. If you highlight the entire document, the changes will apply to all the text.

Step 3: Open the Paragraph Settings

Go to the "Home" tab and click on the small arrow in the bottom right corner of the "Paragraph" group to open the Paragraph dialog box.

This dialog box contains all the settings you need to adjust the indentation and spacing.

Step 4: Choose ‘Hanging’ Under Special Indentation

In the Paragraph dialog box, under the "Indents and Spacing" tab, find the "Special" dropdown menu and select "Hanging."

The "Hanging" option will create an indent for every line following the first line in the selected paragraph.

Step 5: Set the Indentation Amount

Next to the "Special" dropdown, input the amount of indent space you want, such as 0.5 inches.

This will precisely determine how much the second and subsequent lines are indented.

Step 6: Click OK

Click the OK button to apply the changes.

Your selected text will now have a hanging indent, with the second line indented at the specified amount.

After completing these steps, you’ll see the second line (and any other lines after it) indented according to your specifications. This small change can make a big difference in the readability and presentation of your document.

Tips for Second Line Indentation in Word

  • If you’re working with a bibliography or reference list, hanging indents are the standard format.
  • Use the ruler at the top of the Word window for a quick way to adjust the indent.
  • You can also use keyboard shortcuts for indentation: Ctrl+T for a hanging indent.
  • For consistent formatting, consider setting up a style that includes hanging indents.
  • Always double-check your document to ensure the indentations are applied correctly.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why should I indent the second line?

Indenting the second line, especially in bibliographies or citations, makes it easier for readers to distinguish between different entries.

Can I apply a hanging indent to an entire document?

Yes, you can apply a hanging indent to the entire document by selecting all text (Ctrl+A) and following the same steps.

Is there a shortcut for creating a hanging indent?

Yes, you can use Ctrl+T to create a hanging indent quickly.

Can I adjust the hanging indent using the ruler?

Absolutely. You can drag the bottom triangle on the ruler to adjust the hanging indent.

Do I have to adjust the hanging indent manually for each paragraph?

No, you can set up a style in Word to apply the hanging indent to multiple paragraphs at once.


  1. Open your Word document.
  2. Select the text.
  3. Open the Paragraph settings.
  4. Choose ‘Hanging’ under Special Indentation.
  5. Set the indentation amount.
  6. Click OK.


Indenting the second line in a Word document is a simple yet effective way to enhance the readability and professionalism of your text. Whether you’re formatting a bibliography, creating a list, or just want to add a bit of polish to your document, this technique is invaluable. With just a few clicks, you can make sure your document stands out for all the right reasons.

If you often find yourself needing to format documents, mastering this and other Word features can save you a lot of time and hassle. Don’t stop here; explore more advanced formatting options available in Word to take your documents to the next level. So go ahead, open that document, and try it out—you’ll see how easy and effective it can be.