Indenting Paragraphs

You can indent paragraphs so that they start or end at a certain distance from the left or right side of the window or page frame, whether that means the entire paragraph or just the first line (like a traditional "tab"). This can be done through styles or by using local formatting. Using styles is usually recommended because the setting is automatically applied to any content using that style throughout the project, whereas local formatting affects only the particular content that you are working on.

How to Use a Style to Indent a Paragraph

  1. From the Content Explorer, open the stylesheet that you want to modify.
  2. Complete one of the following sets of steps, depending on whether you want to use the Simplified view or Advanced view in the Stylesheet Editor.

    • Simplified The Simplified view displays styles in a grid view and is often best for brand new users.

      This view provides an easy way to apply properties to styles, with format options available from a toolbar and dialogs (similar to the way one would use an interface such as Microsoft Word). In some cases, only the most common property options are available in the Simplified view (e.g., font, letter/word spacing, paragraph alignment/indentation, autonumbering format, borders, background). One advantage of the Simplified view is that you can apply a property to multiple styles at the same time. You can also click a check box to hide the properties in the editor, allowing you to see only the styles.

    • Advanced The Advanced view displays styles in a tree structure, and despite the name, is user friendly for authors of all levels.

      For the properties, you can toggle between a grouped display and an alphabetical display. The Advanced view of the Stylesheet Editor lets you edit more settings than are available in the Simplified view. In addition, the Advanced view lets you see and apply settings to multiple mediums and media queries at the same time.

    Warning Mediums can be used if you want to use one group of settings for online output types and another group of settings for print-based output types. For example, you might use the default medium for your online outputs and the print medium for your print outputs.  From the Medium drop-down in the Stylesheet Editor, make sure the proper medium is selected before you begin. In the Advanced view, you can open multiple mediums at once; you just need to look at the title at the top of the medium pane and make sure you are working in the correct one. If you are not using stylesheet mediums for your different outputs or if you want all mediums to have the same settings, just leave the medium set to default and continue. Please note that Flare remembers the last medium that you used when working in the stylesheet, so it may or may not be the one that you want to use the next time around. See Mediums and Media Queries.

    If Using Simplified View

    1. In the local toolbar, make sure the first button displays (which means that the Simplified view is currently shown in the editor). If the button displays instead, then click it.
    2. In the upper-left corner of the Stylesheet Editor, click in the drop-down field and select .
    3. Select the appropriate paragraph style. For example, you can select the parent p tag, or you can select a class that you may have created for that tag (e.g., p.Tip, p.Note).
    4. In the local toolbar of the editor, click . The Properties dialog opens.
    5. Select the Paragraph tab.
    6. Use the tab to specify the indentation settings.
      • Left Specify the amount that you want to indent a paragraph from the left margin. Select Length in the top drop-down list and enter a number value. You can then choose from several different units of measurement (points, pixels, centimeters, etc.). See Units of Measurement.
      • Right Specify the amount that you want to indent a paragraph from the right margin. Select Length in the top drop-down list and enter a number value. You can then choose from several different units of measurement (points, pixels, centimeters, etc.). See Units of Measurement.
      • First line indent Specify the amount that you want to indent the first line of a paragraph. Select Length in the top drop-down list and enter a number value. You can then choose from several different units of measurement (points, pixels, centimeters, etc.). See Units of Measurement.
    7. In the Properties dialog, click OK.

    If Using Advanced View

    1. In the local toolbar, make sure the first button displays . If the button displays instead, then click it.
    2. In the upper-left corner of the Stylesheet Editor, click in the drop-down field and select .
    3. Select the appropriate paragraph style. For example, you can select the parent p tag, or you can select a class that you may have created for that tag (e.g., p.Tip, p.Note).
    4. From the Show drop-down list on the upper-right side of the editor, select .
    5. (Optional) You can use the toggle button in the local toolbar to show properties below in a group view or an alphabetical view .
    6. Do the following, depending on whether you want to indent the entire paragraph or just the first line:

      Indent Entire Paragraph

      1. If you are using the group view, expand the Box group. 
      2. To the right of margin-left or padding-left, click , and select the distance that the paragraph will be indented in the popup. Click OK.

        Note Both margins and padding can affect the space around elements. The margin controls the amount of space from the edge of the page or viewing device to the edge of the "container" holding the element. Padding controls the amount of space from the edge of the element itself and the container holding it. Therefore, if you seem to be experiencing more space than you expected, you might check to see if you have values entered for both the margin and padding.

      3. To the right of margin-right, click , and select the distance that the paragraph will be indented from the right side of the page in the popup. When you are finished, click OK.

      Indent First Line of a Paragraph

      1. If you are using the grouped view, expand the Block group. 
      2. To the right of text-indent, click , and select the distance that the first line of the paragraph will be indented in the popup. Click OK.
  3. Click to save your work.

How to Use Local Formatting to Indent a Paragraph

The easiest way to indent a paragraph using local formatting is to simply click at the very beginning of a paragraph and press your Tab key. This indents the first line of the paragraph by 0.5 inch. See Creating Indentation With the Tab Key.

However, if you want to use a different value than 0.5 inch, or if you want to indent the entire paragraph, use the following steps.

  1. Open the content file.
  2. Click on the paragraph that you want to modify.
  1. Do one of the following, depending on the part of the user interface you are using:
    • Ribbon Select Home > (at the bottom of the Paragraph section).

    • Keyboard Shortcut Press CTRL+ALT+B.
    • Right-Click Right-click on the paragraph and from the context menu choose Paragraph.

    The Paragraph Properties dialog opens.

  2. Select the Paragraph tab.
  3. Use the tab to specify the indentation settings.
    • Left Specify the amount that you want to indent a paragraph from the left margin. Select Length in the top drop-down list and enter a number value. You can then choose from several different units of measurement (points, pixels, centimeters, etc.). See Units of Measurement.
    • Right Specify the amount that you want to indent a paragraph from the right margin. Select Length in the top drop-down list and enter a number value. You can then choose from several different units of measurement (points, pixels, centimeters, etc.). See Units of Measurement.
    • First line indent Specify the amount that you want to indent the first line of a paragraph. Select Length in the top drop-down list and enter a number value. You can then choose from several different units of measurement (points, pixels, centimeters, etc.). See Units of Measurement.
  4. In the Paragraph Properties dialog, click OK.
  5. Click to save your work.

A hanging indent keeps the first line of a paragraph to the left, while indenting subsequent lines so that they are all aligned. This format is often used in bibliographies.

How to Create a Hanging Indent

A hanging indent keeps the first line of a paragraph to the left, while indenting subsequent lines so that they are all aligned. This format is often used in bibliographies.

  1. Copy the following.

    Copy
    .hangingindent 
    {
      padding-left: 30px ;
      text-indent: -30px ;
    }
  2. In the Content Explorer, find your stylesheet. Then right-click it, and from the context menu select Open with > Internal Text Editor.

  3. Scroll to the bottom of the editor and paste the style and its properties.

  4. You can replace the name of the generic style (i.e., .hangingindent) with another name if you want. You can also change the amount of indentation. You might need to preview the topic or build the output and make adjustments afterward.
  5. Click to save your work.
  6. Apply the style (in the above example, .handingindentation) to any content where you want to use the hanging indent.

What’s Noteworthy?

Note If you click inside a paragraph (rather than at the very beginning) and press Tab or click in the Home ribbon or Text Format toolabar, you will notice that the paragraph is not indented, but rather the Create Group dialog opens, allowing you to select different types of block styles. These styles let you create block-level content in a unique "container" for different purposes. See Creating Divs and Other Tag Groups.

Note Different browsers may treat margin and padding settings differently. For example, Internet Explorer 8 and Firefox honor padding settings more than they honor margin settings. If you were to set a left margin at, say, 1 inch, Internet Explorer 7 would show it that way. However, in order to get the same results in Internet Explorer 8 or Firefox, you would also need to set the left padding at 1 inch.

What’s Next?

After editing a style, you can apply it to content in a topic or snippet. See Applying Styles to Content.