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For Seniors: How to Indent Text in Microsoft Word

By default, each paragraph in a Microsoft Word documents starts in relation to the right and left margins, depending on what alignment you choose. Sometimes you may want to indent text, or shift its position in relation to the left and/or right margins. For example, in some styles of correspondence, it’s customary to indent the first line of each paragraph by one-half inch (or five spaces).

Here are the possible types of indents in Word.

  • First-line indent: The starting position of the first line of the paragraph is shifted (usually inward) in relation to the left margin.

  • Left indent: All lines of the paragraph are shifted in relation to the left margin.

  • Right indent: All lines of the paragraph are shifted in relation to the right margin.

For a simple left indent, use buttons on the Home tab (Paragraph group): Increase Indent and Decrease Indent. Each time you click one of those buttons, it changes the left indent for the selected paragraph(s) by 0.5”.

If you want to specify the amount of indent or if you want to apply an indent to the right side, use the Indent controls on the Page Layout tab. You can increment the amount of indent up or down in the Left and Right text boxes.

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