Create a first line indent

With a first line indent, the first line of a paragraph is indented more than the other lines in the paragraph.

Tip:  To quickly add a first line indent to just one paragraph, place your cursor at the beginning of the first line of the paragraph and press the tab key.

Indent the first line of a paragraph

The fastest way to do this is with Paragraph settings.

  1. Select the text where you want to add the first line indent.

  2. Click Home and then, in the Paragraph group, click the dialog box launcher to open the Paragraph dialog box.

  3. On the Indents and Spacing tab, under Indentation, select First line.

    The First Line Indent option is highlighted in the Paragraph dialog box

When you press enter at the end of a paragraph that has a first line indent, Word automatically formats the following paragraph the same way. To remove the indent, place your cursor at the beginning of the first line and press the backspace key.

Use the ruler to indent the first line

If you prefer, you can use the ruler instead of the Paragraph dialog box to adjust indentations.

  1. Click View and then select the Ruler check box to show rulers.

  2. Drag the first line indent marker (shown below) to the right. It’s the upper triangle on the ruler.

    The first line indent marker is highlighed on the ruler.


  • If you’d like to create a hanging indent where the second line and all the following lines of a paragraph are indented more than the first, see Create a hanging indent.

  • For more precise control when creating indents, along with other indent and spacing options, see Adjust indents and spacing.

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