Using indents and tabs

I thought I would write a post on the different types of indenting and the tab stops. After working with the hanging indent for the annotated ¬†bibliography, I got the hang of that type of indent, yet I still wasn’t sure which section was considered the hanging indent. I decided to put this together to help anyone else that is still having a problem with it, or maybe hasn’t/haven’t(?) used it yet. It could be done a bit differently on other Word processor programs, I’m sure there are help menus that would explain it to the writers satisfaction.

First is the common first line indent. This is used by probably just about everyone that has written any type of paper. Most of us utilize the tab key to indent the first line of each paragraph. What if you’ve written a long paper and find that you were supposed to indent the beginning of each new paragraph? This shows an easier way to do it as one unit rather than having to go through and fix it little by little.

First Line Indent

Put your cursor at the left of the first word that needs to be indented. Hit the tab key. The first line is now indented. Look above at the ruler and you will find that the indent marker, which is the top triangle, has moved to the section on the ruler above where it is indented. If your paper was complete, it would stay there, but if you make any other changes it moves back to its original position.

This image shows the top triangle which is the first line indent on the right, and the lower triangle/rectangle which is the hanging indent/left indent (one unit) on the left. The next image will show the left indent back on the side of the ruler even after the indent has been made.

The left indent marker will move back if you add more text or want to make any further changes. In order to indent all the remaining paragraphs as one unit, highlight the text and then manually move the top triangle to line up over the indented area. It will move all the first lines over. Then it will stay where you put it, and it should indent the first line on its own without you having to remember to do so.

This image looks a bit odd and that is because it indented the bolded areas also, not just the first lines. It still gives you the general idea.

The hanging indent

The hanging indent marker is the bottom triangle, and the left indent marker is the rectangle below the lower triangle. Why these two have separate names doesn’t make a lot of sense to me as they do not separate. It’s probably because they do two different things, depending on what the need is. There is also a right indent marker which can be found at the top of the ruler, on the right side. That can be used to streamline the page.

Using the hanging indent is indenting every line except the first line in the document. You must drag the triangle section, not the rectangle under it, in order for it to work properly. When you drag the marker over, it says left indent in a little box, so don’t be confused.

You will probably have to manually move the hanging indent marker over for two paragraphs, then it should work for you automatically as you add additional paragraphs.

Tab Stops

We haven’t used tab stops for this semester, but I thought I’d include them briefly. At the top left of the screen is the tab selector. It may be left aligned, right aligned or center. You need to place your cursor on the tab selector and click on it to change it between selections.

Click on the bottom edge of the ruler on the right hand side to pick where you want the tab stop to be. More than one tab stop can be used on a document. If you change your mind about using them, they can be dragged off the page by pulling down.

I wasn’t able to show this properly as the screen wants to save on the left side, and the tab stop is on the right.

Any word processor program should contain a help program for its users to check out so they can utilize all the many features of the program.

Without the images 735wds.