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Citing Your Sources

This guide will help you cite your sources properly to avoid plagiarism in your writing. It also introduces various tools for creating and managing citations, including library-supported RefWorks.

What is a hanging indent?

Hanging indents are used in the works cited or bibliography of MLA, APA, Chicago, and various other citation styles. They allow the reader to easily see the breaks between separate citations and quickly scan a works cited or bibliography for author names. A hanging indent is required to format your works cited or bibliography properly. See the image below for an example of what a hanging indent looks like.

example of indent formatting showing regular and hanging indent

Follow the instructions below to format a hanging indent in Microsoft Word or Google Docs. Also, keep in mind that if you use a citation manager tool like RefWorks, it will not only generate citations for you, but automatically format the hanging indent as well!

Hanging indents in Microsoft Word

Use the following steps to format a hanging indent in Microsoft Word. These steps work in both the full desktop version and the Office 365 online version of Word.

  1. Highlight the citation(s) you want to indent. If you have multiple citation entries, make sure there is a single line of space between each one.
    highlighted text in word

  2. Right click and select "Paragraph."
    selecting paragraph from the menu after right clicking on highlighted text

  3. Under "Indentation - Special" select "Hanging."
    selecting hanging from the paragraph menu

  4. Click "OK."
    citations with hanging indent

Hanging indents in Google Docs

Use the following steps to format a hanging indent in Google Docs.

  1. Highlight the citation(s) you want to indent. If you have multiple citation entries, make sure there is a single line of space between each one.
    text highlighted in google docs
  2. Along the top menu, click on "Format," then go down to "Align & indent," then click on "Indentation options."
    screenshot of format and align and indent menu opened in google docs
  3. In the Indentation options menu, under "Special," select "Hanging."
    screenshot of google docs with indentation options menu up and hanging selected
  4. Click "Apply."
    screenshot showing hanging indents

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