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How to Indent the First Line of a Paragraph in Word 2010

Do you suffer from the shame of manual paragraph indenting? Too many Word users — even those with the latest, Word 2010 — still begin a paragraph of text by pressing the Tab key. It's ugly, but it's a topic that must be covered. Have Word automatically indent the first line of every paragraph you type:

1

Click the Dialog Box Launcher button, found in the lower-right corner of the Paragraph group.

The Paragraph dialog box appears.

2

In the Indentation area's Special drop-down list, select First Line.

To remove the first-line indent from a paragraph, select (None) from the drop-down list.

3

(Optional) Enter an amount in the By text box.

Unless you’ve messed with the settings, the box should automatically say 0.5”, which means that Word automatically indents the first line of every paragraph a half-inch — one tab stop. Type another value if you want your indents to be more or less outrageous. (Items are measured here in inches, not in points.)

4

Click OK.

The selected block, or the current paragraph (and the remaining paragraphs you type), automatically has an indented first line.

Word's AutoCorrect feature can perform these steps for you, but it's tricky. First, you must type the paragraph. Then, go back to the start of the paragraph and press the Tab key. This action instantly fixes the paragraph indentation (if AutoCorrect is on), and you see the AutoCorrect icon on the screen. Here's the secret: Ignore the AutoCorrect icon, and your paragraph indenting is fixed. Ta-da!

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