Setting Indents Using the Word Ruler

Have you ever wondered what all the little triangle looking things are on the Word ruler?

If you haven’t noticed them, take a quick look. See them now? They must be there for a good reason. Want to know what it is?

Yes? Good, you’re in the right place, because that’s what we’re going to cover today.

The “triangles” are actually markers for different paragraph indents. This means you can make changes to specific paragraph margins right in the Page / Print Layout or Normal views without ever bothering with the Format menu and Paragraph window.

Cool, huh?

So, let’s get right to it.

On the left side of the ruler, you’ll find an hourglass type marker. This is actually three settings all in the same place; at least they are right now, but as you’ll learn, they can be separated.

The top triangle is the location for the First-line Indent. The first line of text in a paragraph will start at whatever location you put this on the ruler.

The bottom triangle sets the location for Hanging Indents. This is where all lines of text, except the first, begin in a paragraph.

The little rectangle below the hourglass is the Left Indent. This one will move both of them simultaneously, allowing you to set them at the same place without having to do it twice.

On the far right side of the ruler, you’ll find one more marker.

This is the location of the Right Indent. By moving this one left, you can choose to change the right margin for a particular paragraph.

To move a marker, simply put your mouse pointer over it, left click, hold and drag it across the ruler to its new location. Release the mouse button when you’ve found the right place.

You’ll also probably notice that a vertical dotted line will appear below the marker, helping you to align items if necessary.

So, now that you know what they’re all for and how to move them, maybe we should quickly discuss what they’ll affect.

  • If you make changes to these indent markers before a paragraph is typed, the setting will work on the current paragraph and all other paragraphs you create after it.
  • If you’d like to change just one paragraph that’s already typed, simply place the cursor anywhere in the paragraph and move the markers as needed. The changes will only affect the current paragraph.
  • If you’d like to make changes for several paragraphs that are already typed, highlight them before moving the markers. The change will only affect the highlighted paragraphs.

And there you have it.

Use the ruler to make paragraph changes on the slide!

~ April