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How to Set Indents in Word 2008 for Mac

The margins you specify in Word 2008 for Mac pertain to the entire document. But, sometimes, you want certain paragraphs to have margins — indents — that are different from the rest of the document. You can use the Paragraph dialog or Word’s horizontal rulers to set indents.

Specify indents for selected text with the indent markers in the horizontal ruler:

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  • The left indent marker: Drag this marker to specify where the left edge of the paragraph(s) should appear.

  • The first line indent marker: Drag this marker to specify where the first line of the selected paragraph(s) should appear. If it’s set to the right of the left indent marker, you get a standard indent, as you’d see at the start of a paragraph; if it’s set to the left of the left indent marker, you get a hanging indent, with the first line of the paragraph extending into the left margin and all subsequent lines in the paragraph lined up with the left indent marker.

  • The right indent marker: Drag this marker to specify where the right edge of the paragraph(s) should appear.

The best way to learn to use these markers is to select some text in your document and drag each one around while watching its effect on the selected text.

Indent markers can be tricky to drag. Sometimes, you’ll accidentally click the left indent marker when you want to move the first line indent marker and vice versa. And, sometimes, you’ll accidentally drag the margin indicator (the blue areas at the left and right ends of the ruler) instead of an indent marker. You need to watch carefully whenever you move markers in the ruler to ensure that you’re getting the results you expected.

If you don’t want to mess with the indent markers, then choose Format→Paragraph. In the Paragraph dialog, click the Indents and Spacing tab and then change the values for the left and right indents.

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