How to Indent the First Line of a Paragraph in Word: A Simple Guide


Michael Collins

How to Indent the First Line of a Paragraph in Word

Indenting the first line of a paragraph in Word is straightforward. You can either use the "Tab" key or adjust the paragraph settings. In the ribbon, go to the "Home" tab and click on the paragraph settings dialog box. Under the "Indents and Spacing" tab, specify the first-line indent size. This will apply the indent to your selected paragraphs or the entire document.

Step-by-Step Tutorial on How to Indent the First Line of a Paragraph in Word

Below, we’ll break down the process for indenting the first line of a paragraph in Microsoft Word. Follow these steps for a clean, professional look in your documents.

Step 1: Open Your Document

First, open the Word document where you want to make the changes.

Make sure the document is open and visible on your screen. If you haven’t created one yet, start a new document.

Step 2: Select the Paragraphs

Click and drag to highlight the paragraphs that need indents.

Doing this ensures that any changes you make will only apply to the selected text. If you want to indent every paragraph, select the entire document.

Step 3: Open the Paragraph Dialog Box

Go to the "Home" tab on the ribbon and find the "Paragraph" group. Click on the small arrow at the bottom-right corner.

The "Paragraph" dialog box provides various settings for customizing your text, including indentation and spacing.

Step 4: Adjust the First Line Indent

In the "Paragraph" dialog box, go to the "Indents and Spacing" tab. Under "Indentation," find the "Special" dropdown menu and select "First line."

This setting allows you to specify exactly how much you want to indent the first line. The standard indent size is 0.5 inches, but you can adjust it based on your preference.

Step 5: Click "OK"

After setting the first-line indent size, click "OK" to apply the changes.

Your selected text will now have the first line indented, making it easier to read and more visually appealing.

Once you’ve completed these steps, your selected paragraphs will have an indented first line, giving your document a polished and professional look.

Tips for How to Indent the First Line of a Paragraph in Word

  • Use Styles: Create a paragraph style with a first-line indent for consistency across your document.
  • Shortcut Key: Simply pressing the "Tab" key at the beginning of a paragraph will also indent the first line.
  • Adjust Indents for Multiple Paragraphs: Hold down the "Ctrl" key while selecting multiple paragraphs, then adjust the indent settings.
  • Use Ruler: You can also use the ruler at the top of the Word window to drag and set the first-line indent.
  • Save Settings: For longer documents, save your indent settings as part of a template.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I use the "Tab" key to indent the first line?

Yes, pressing the "Tab" key at the beginning of a paragraph will indent the first line.

How do I remove an indent?

Go back to the "Paragraph" dialog box and set the "Special" dropdown to "None."

Can I set different indents for different paragraphs?

Yes, select each paragraph individually and adjust the indent settings as needed.

How do I set a default indent for all new documents?

Modify the Normal.dotm template to include your indent settings.

Can I use keyboard shortcuts to open the Paragraph dialog box?

Yes, press "Alt+H," then "PG" to quickly open the Paragraph dialog box.


  1. Open your document.
  2. Select the paragraphs.
  3. Open the Paragraph dialog box.
  4. Adjust the first line indent.
  5. Click "OK."


Indenting the first line of a paragraph in Word may seem like a small detail, but it can significantly enhance the readability and professionalism of your document. Whether you’re drafting a school essay, preparing a business report, or crafting a novel, knowing how to indent properly ensures your work looks polished.

Remember, you can always use the "Tab" key for quick indents or dive into the "Paragraph" dialog box for more customization. By following these steps and tips, you’ll master the art of indentation in no time!

Feel free to experiment with different indent sizes and see what works best for your document. If you’re working on multiple documents, consider creating a template to save time. Happy writing!