How to Indent on Google Docs: A Step-by-Step Guide


Matthew Burleigh

Indenting in Google Docs is a handy skill to have, whether for organizing your text or following specific formatting guidelines. It’s a simple process that can be accomplished in just a few clicks. By the end of this paragraph, you’ll know exactly how to indent paragraphs in your Google Docs with ease.

Step by Step Tutorial: Indenting on Google Docs

Before we dive into the steps, let’s clarify what we’re trying to achieve. Indenting text in Google Docs helps to create a visual separation of paragraphs or to highlight a new section of your document. Follow these steps, and you’ll be an indenting pro in no time.

Step 1: Open Your Google Doc

Open the Google Doc you want to work on.
Once you open your Google Doc, make sure you’re logged into your Google account so you can make edits.

Step 2: Place the Cursor

Place your cursor at the beginning of the paragraph you want to indent.
By placing the cursor at the start of the paragraph, you’re telling Google Docs exactly where you want the indentation to begin.

Step 3: Use the Toolbar

Click on the “Increase indent” icon in the toolbar.
This icon looks like a right-facing arrow pushing a line to the right. One click will move your paragraph one-half inch to the right.

Step 4: Adjust the Indent

Adjust the indent using the ruler if needed.
If you need a specific indent size, you can click and drag the small blue triangle on the ruler at the top of your document to your desired indent width.

After completing these steps, your paragraph will be indented according to your preferences. You can always adjust the indent again if needed.

Tips for Indenting on Google Docs

  • You can use keyboard shortcuts to indent quickly. For Windows, it’s “Ctrl + ]”, and for Mac, it’s “Cmd + ]”.
  • If you need to decrease an indent, you can use the “Decrease indent” icon in the toolbar or the keyboard shortcuts “Ctrl + [” for Windows and “Cmd + [” for Mac.
  • For block quotes or larger indents, consider using the ruler for more control over the indentation size.
  • Remember to use indents consistently throughout your document for a professional and cohesive look.
  • If you’re following APA or MLA formatting, check their guidelines for specific indenting rules.

Frequently Asked Questions

What’s the difference between an indent and a tab?

An indent moves the entire paragraph to the right, while a tab only moves the text to the next tab stop.

Can I indent the first line of a paragraph only?

Yes, to indent only the first line, use the “First line indent” marker on the ruler at the top of your document.

Is there a keyboard shortcut to indent?

Yes, for Windows, you can use “Ctrl + ]”, and for Mac, it’s “Cmd + ]” to indent.

How can I undo an indent?

You can click the “Decrease indent” icon in the toolbar or use the keyboard shortcut “Ctrl + [” (Windows) or “Cmd + [” (Mac).

Can I set a default indent for all my documents?

Google Docs doesn’t allow setting a default indent, but you can create a template with indents and use it for all your documents.


  1. Open your Google Doc.
  2. Place the cursor at the start of the paragraph.
  3. Click on the “Increase indent” icon or use the ruler.
  4. Adjust the indent as needed.


Indenting on Google Docs is a breeze once you know how to do it. Whether you’re drafting an essay, writing a report, or creating a presentation, mastering the art of indentation can greatly enhance the readability and professionalism of your documents. Remember that consistency is key. Use the same indentation style throughout your document to maintain a uniform look. Don’t forget to take advantage of the keyboard shortcuts – they’re real time-savers. With this guide in hand, you’re ready to tackle any formatting task that comes your way. So go ahead, open up Google Docs, and start indenting like a pro.

Matthew Burleigh

Matthew Burleigh has been writing tech content online for more than ten years. He enjoys writing about Google Docs in addition to many other applications and devices and has cumulatively covered Google’s word-processing application in hundreds of different articles.

He has been published on dozens of popular websites, and his works have accumulated millions of pageviews.
While focused primarily on tutorials and guides for popular electronics like the iPhone and iPad, as well as common applications like Microsoft Word, Powerpoint, and Excel, he covers topics across the entire technology spectrum.

You can read his bio here.

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