Only the leading digit should be indented (space between lines within a paragraph). Indent no more than a 15-pt indentation, or 0.21 inch, with a 15-pt lead, for example. The default indentation in Microsoft Word is 0.5 inch. An indent of 1 inch would put two lines at the top of a page.
To indent text, set the cursor at the beginning of a paragraph and press the tab key on your keyboard. This adds a 0.5" (1.27cm) indent to the left margin in Microsoft Word. It also formats the content automatically such that succeeding paragraphs have a first-line indent.
Depending on the style guide, standard paragraph indentation is roughly five spaces, or one-quarter to one-half of an inch. A format known as "hanging indentation" is the inverse of first-line indentation. Except for the initial line, all lines of a paragraph or entry are indented in a hanging indent. The initial line of a paragraph is not indented.
Standard paragraph formatting is used by most publications and is required by some standards such as ANSI/NISO Z39.48 (SDF). Some formats, such as Microsoft Word's default setting, do not use standard indentation. Instead, they rely on manual indentations made with the Indent button in the Paragraph group on the Home tab. These may or may not be consistent from document to document.
Even if you do not change the default settings, it is important to understand how standard paragraph formatting works because there are times when text requires special treatment. For example, if you want to start each new paragraph on a separate line but still have it look like part of the original text, you will need to use styles to achieve this effect. We will discuss styles in more detail in Chapter 4 but for now, know that you can use them to modify any aspect of the text's appearance, including indentation.
The importance of understanding standard indentation cannot be overstated.
Line, indent, and paragraph In MS-Word, a paragraph is a discrete part that expresses a certain concept or topic. The paragraph has one or more lines that include a mix of words, numbers, or other characters. In the paragraph group of the Layout tab, you have two options: indent and spacing. Indent makes paragraphs appear separated from each other while keeping their content aligned. Spacing allows you to specify the amount of space between different parts of a paragraph.
Line spacing determines the distance in inches between lines of text. It can be set for all paragraphs (Auto) or selected paragraphs (One Paragraph). If you change the Line Spacing value, all other elements on the Home tab are updated accordingly.
Indentation refers to the amount of space between the beginning of one paragraph and the beginning of the next. If you change the Indentation value, all other elements on the Home tab are updated accordingly.
Paragraph spacing specifies the width of the space between individual words on a line. If you change the Paragraph Spacing value, all other elements on the Home tab are updated accordingly.
The Line and Indent settings on the Home tab control the appearance of single paragraphs.
Indent all paragraphs by.5 inch, and don't indent with a tab or space. This is probably every editor's pet peeve. Setting tabs and hitting tabs are not synonymous. Select all of your text in Word, then establish indentation using Format > Paragraph if you're a tab-hitter or a space-space-spacer.
The width of the column in which the text is located is the key determinant of how far you should indent the first line of a paragraph. The writer must change the indent in proportion to the column width because a fixed indent quantity might be half the column width. For example, if the column width is eight points and the writer chooses an indent of two points, the first line of text would be indented four points from the left margin.
When you use rules or guidelines to structure your writing, it's important that you follow them consistently. In English-language publications, there is often a set amount of space between lines of text: one double space after another single space or a full page break. However, this isn't always the case; sometimes authors will choose to leave more space between lines of text to make their writing feel less like reading text-only pages.
In American magazines, if you want two-inch margins all around your article, you should leave two inches between the top of the first line of text and the top edge of the paper. If you leave less space, the first sentence of your article will fall on a line by itself. If you leave more space, then the first sentence will stay within the margins provided.