How to Indent in PowerPoint? [A Beginner’s Guide!]


There are times when you perhaps want to add indent to text in PowerPoint. While adding, increasing, and decreasing the indent of text in PowerPoint might seem difficult at first, but it is actually quite simple to do!

To indent in PowerPoint, place the cursor at the beginning of the paragraph or bullet point that you want to indent. Then, from the home tab, click on “increase list level” under the paragraph section. You can also press the “tab” key on your keyboard to increase the list level.

There are actually multiple ways in which you can indent text in PowerPoint. In this article, we shall take a look at indenting in PowerPoint, how it needs to be done, and also learn a little bit about hanging indent!

So, let’s get started!

A Quick Note Before We Begin – If you want to make your presentations stand out, I highly recommend using presentation templates from Envato. With Envato, you get access to thousands of presentation designs so you never run out of options again. Not only is Envato Elements very affordable, but also the best in the business when it comes to templates!

1. What is Indent in PowerPoint? 

First, let’s start with the basics. What does an “Indent” mean in PowerPoint?

Indents are spaces added usually to the first line of text in a paragraph. Occasionally, indenting of text is also done to a bullet point within a list to indicate that the indented bullet point actually is a sub-class of the previous point.

The indenting text allows you to visually set one paragraph apart from the other. The indents make paragraphs more pleasing to read.

In Microsoft PowerPoint, by increasing the indent level, the paragraph or the starting line of the paragraph will move a few spaces away from the margin and by decreasing the indent level, the paragraph or line will move a few spaces towards the margin.

Often people use the “Spacebar” key on the keyboard to add space at the beginning of a line. However, that is not a correct way to indent text in PowerPoint.

In the following sections of the article, we will take a look at the detailed steps on how to add indent to text in PowerPoint.

2. How to Indent in PowerPoint? 

To indent in Microsoft PowerPoint, you have to use the “Ruler” in the “Show” section of the “View” Tab. The whole process is described in easy steps below.

Step-1: Place your cursor in the preferred position

The first step of the process is to place your cursor right before the word where you want to insert an indent (as shown in the image in the next step)

Step-2: Select the “Ruler” check box

The next step is to go to the “View” tab in the ribbon and then click on the check box right beside “Ruler” which is located in the “Show” section. This will make the ruler of the PowerPoint presentation appear above the slide.

Step-3: Move the slider of the “Ruler”

To adjust the position of the paragraph, move the slider on the “Ruler” to the point where you want the paragraph to be placed and the indent will be added accordingly.

Step-4: Adjust the starting point of the paragraph

Finally, to adjust the starting point of the paragraph, you have to move the upper part of the slider on the ruler to the position where you want the paragraph to start, and the indent will be inserted accordingly.

3. How to Increase or Decrease Indent by one Level in PowerPoint? 

Another way to add indent to text in PowerPoint is to use the increase or decrease indent functions in PowerPoint.

To increase or decrease indent by one level in your PowerPoint presentation, you can use the “Indent Command Keys” in the “Paragraph” section of the “Home” tab. Simply follow the steps below.

To Increase Indent by One Level

Put the blinking cursor right before the word where you want to indent in your PowerPoint presentation and then click on the “Increase List Level” button which has an icon that looks like an arrow pointing towards the left going through a box of horizontal lines.

It is located in the “Paragraph” section of the “Home” tab. This will increase the indent by one level. It is important to point out that the “Increase List Level” command key will affect the entire paragraph.

Alternatively, you can hit the “Tab” key on your computer’s keyboard when the blinking cursor is placed in the preferred position. An indent will be added at the beginning of the paragraph where you placed your cursor.

To Decrease Indent by One Level

Similar to increasing indent by one level, place the blinking cursor where the indent has been added.

Now, instead of clicking on the “Increase List Level” button, click on the “Decrease List Level” button, which has the same icon, but the arrow is pointing towards the left.

This will decrease the indent by one level.

Similarly, you can also use the “Shift+Tab” keys on your keyboard to decrease the indent of the text if you want to save some time.

4. How to Indent Bullet Points in PowerPoint? 

Adding an indent to bullet points in your PowerPoint presentation is the same as adding an indent to a paragraph.

Simply put your cursor at the beginning of the line and click on the “Increase List Level” button in the “Paragraph” section in the “Home” tab or hit the “Tab” key on the keyboard of your computer.

4a. How to Add List Level in PowerPoint? 

To add another level to a list in your PowerPoint presentation, you can use the “Increase List Level” command to a selected section of the list. The two-step process is described below.

Step-1: Select the section of the list

To create another level in the list of your PowerPoint presentation, at first you have to select the part of the list that you want to indent and transform into a section of the initial list.

Step-2: Click on the “Increase List Level” command

Next, all you have to do is click on the “Increase List Level” command and the selected part of the list will move a few spaces away from the margin. This makes the indented list organized under the preceding bullet point, adding a new level to the list.

5. What is Hanging Indent? 

A hanging indent inserts an indent to all the text in a certain paragraph except for the first line. Hanging indents are mostly used to organize information in a text in such a way that it is easily digestible.

The most common use of hanging indents can be found in the citations and bibliography of presentations, reports, and research papers.

5a. How to Add Hanging Indent in PowerPoint? 

To add a hanging indent in your PowerPoint presentation, follow the 3 simple steps described below.

Step-1: Click on the “Paragraph” option

The first step of the process is to select all the text in the paragraph and then “Right-click” on it using your computer’s mouse. A drop-down menu will appear on your screen. From the drop-down menu, select the “Paragraph” option.

Step-2: Select “Hanging” from the “Special” drop-down menu

After selecting the “Paragraph” option, a pop-up window will appear on the screen. From that pop-up window, select the “Hanging” option which is located in the “Special” drop-down menu of the “Indentation” section.

Step-3: Input “0.5” in the “Before Text” box

After selecting the “Hanging” option, input ‘0.5’ in the “Before Text” box located in the “Indentation” section of the pop-up window.

After that, hit the “Ok” button at the bottom right corner of the pop-up window and the hanging indent will be added to the paragraph in your PowerPoint presentation.

5b. How to Add Hanging Indent in PowerPoint on Mac? 

The process of adding a hanging indent in Microsoft PowerPoint is the same for both Windows and Mac. Thus, to add a hanging indent in your PowerPoint presentation using a Mac computer, follow the 3 steps described in the section above.

6. Indent Not Working in PowerPoint? Here’s What You Need to Do!

There are more than a few reasons why you are unable to add indent in your PowerPoint presentation. However, the most common issue relating to users not being able to indent in PowerPoint is a corrupted template.

Sometimes, when a template has been used by too many users and has been transitioned through too many operating systems, a template can become corrupted or any of the template users may have edited the layout of the template, which is hindering your use of indents in that template.

A few possible solutions to this problem are given below.

  1. Open a fresh new template and paste your presentation on the new template. Be sure to select the “Use Destination Theme” option in the “Paste Options” to make sure the issues of the previous template do not incorporate in the new PowerPoint presentation.
  2. If the previous solution seems too tedious, you can edit the layout of the slide you are trying to insert an indent to. Simply go to the “Slide Master” view and delete the text box in the layout that you are unable to insert an indent to. Then add a new textbox with indentations.
  3. In the layout of a PowerPoint presentation, the sub-points in a text box have to be defined in order to add them in the slide. In this fix, you have to go to the “Slide Master” view and define the subpoints in the layouts of the slides where you cannot insert an indent. 

Credit to diana.grytsku (on Freepik) for the featured image (further edited) of this article.

More Related Articles

  1. How to Change Bullet Style in PowerPoint? [Complete Guide!]
  2. How to Format Text in PowerPoint the Right Way? [Everything You Need to Know!]
  3. Best Way to Change Fonts on All Slides in PowerPoint!
  4. Clear Formatting in PowerPoint [This Tool is a Must Have!]
  5. How to Save Time in PowerPoint? [Hint – Use Format Painter!]

Recent Posts