How to Indent the Second Line of a Citation in Google Docs

If you’ve ever written an academic paper, you know how important it is to properly format your citations. One aspect of citation formatting that can be tricky to get right is indenting the second line of a citation in Google Docs. Fortunately, with the right know-how, it’s a quick and easy process.

Why Indenting the Second Line of a Citation is Important

Before we dive into the how-to, it’s worth taking a moment to understand why indenting the second line of a citation is important. The reason is simple: it makes your citations easier to read and follow. When you have a long citation that stretches across multiple lines, an indented second line helps the reader quickly identify where the citation begins and ends. It also makes your paper look more polished and professional.

How to Indent the Second Line of a Citation

Now that you know why it’s important, let’s get into how to do it. Follow these simple steps to indent the second line of a citation in Google Docs:

  1. First, highlight the entire citation that you want to format. You can do this by clicking and dragging your cursor over the text.
  2. With the citation highlighted, click on the “Format” menu at the top of the screen.
  3. In the Format menu, hover your cursor over “Align & indent.” This will bring up a submenu.
  4. From the submenu, select “Indentation options.”
  5. In the “Indentation options” menu, you’ll see a section called “Special indents.” Under this section, select “Hanging.”
  6. Once you’ve selected “Hanging,” you’ll see a preview of what your citation will look like with the hanging indent. If you’re happy with how it looks, click “Apply.”
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That’s it! Your citation should now have a properly indented second line.

Tips for Formatting Citations in Google Docs

Now that you know how to indent the second line of a citation, here are a few additional tips to help you format your citations like a pro in Google Docs:

  • Use the “Insert citation” feature: Google Docs has a built-in citation tool that can save you time and hassle. To access it, click on the “Tools” menu at the top of the screen and select “Explore.” From there, you can search for the source you want to cite and add it to your document with just a few clicks.
  • Use consistent formatting: Whether you’re using MLA, APA, or another citation style, it’s important to be consistent with your formatting. Make sure all of your citations follow the same guidelines for font size, spacing, and punctuation.
  • Double-check your citations: It’s always a good idea to double-check your citations before submitting your paper. Use an online citation checker like Citation Machine or EasyBib to make sure your citations are correct.


Indenting the second line of a citation might seem like a small detail, but it can make a big difference in the readability and professionalism of your paper. With the simple steps outlined in this article, you can easily format your citations in Google Docs like a pro. Happy writing!

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