Creating Hanging Indents for MLA Works-Cited Pages

(Adapted from

  • Each entry in a works-cited page should begin on the left margin, with each subsequent line of an entry being indented. This is called a "hanging indent." First use your mouse to drag across the text to be indented and highlight the text:
    Select paragraphs.
    Warning! The sample entries in the pictures are in an old MLA style.  Do not use them to see what goes in a 2009 MLA works-cited entry.

    1. After you have highlighted all of your works-cited entries, click Format on the menu bar and then click Paragraph on the menu. When the Paragraph dialog box appears, click the button under Special, and then click the option titled Hanging.
      Set paragraph to hanging indent.

    2. Click the OK button. Click the OK button. Each paragraph you type will be indented one-half inch after the first line of the paragraph, as shown below:
      Paragraphs aligned with hanging indent

    Warning! You must use Times New Roman, size 12 font.  Do NOT use Garamond.

    Alphabetizing Your Works-Cited Page

    Note: If you did not type your entries in alphabetical order, Microsoft Word will automatically alphabetize your works-cited entries ONLY IF you have typed each of your works-cited entries as a separate paragraph. Before following the steps below, be sure you check each of your entries in this manner to make sure each is a single paragraph: Click the Show/Hide button—on the Standard toolbar. If you see the mark on any line that is not the end of a paragraph, then use your delete key to delete that mark. The result will be that the following line will be pulled back up into the same paragraph as the rest of the entry. When you have finished checking your entries, follow the steps below:

    1. Use your mouse to select the text in your works-cited page (all text except your title). Do this by clicking the first word in the works-cited page and then holding the mouse button down. Then drag the mouse down to the last word in the works-cited list of sources:
      Select text to be indented.
      1. Warning! This command will not work if you have pressed your Enter key after each line of an entry.
      2. Warning! This command will not work properly if you have used quotation marks at the beginning of an entry. If you have, delete the beginning quotation marks and then after the text has been sorted in alphabetical order, go back to the entry and add the quotation marks.
    2. Click Table on the menu bar. When Table menu appears, click Sort... near the bottom of the menu.
      Sort Text

    3. When the Sort dialog box appears, click Ascending. Then click the OK button at the bottom of the dialog box. Your works-cited page will be alphabetized by the first word in each entry (if each entry is a separate paragraph).
      Sort dialog box

    4. Click any white space in your document to remove the highlighting from your selected text.
    5. Note: If you earlier deleted any beginning quotation marks before the text was sorted into alphabetical order, go back to the entry and add the quotation marks.
    6. Click the Save button on your menu bar Save button to save the changes in your document.