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How to Indent a Citation


All works quoted within your text must be fully cited in a reference list or works cited page at the end of your essay. Both the Modern Language Association (MLA) and the American Psychological Association (APA) set guidelines for the proper formatting of full bibliographical citations contained in a reference list, including proper indentation. The exact formatting rules will depend on which style guidelines you are following.

Begin your citation so that the first line of your citation starts flush with the left margin. It should not be indented at all.

Indent the second and subsequent lines of your citation one half-inch from the left margin if you are using APA style. When you begin your next citation, the first line should again begin flush with the left margin, and subsequent lines should be indented one half-inch.

Indent the second and subsequent lines of your citation five spaces from the left margin if you are using MLA style. When you begin your next citation, the first line should again begin flush with the left margin, and subsequent lines should be indented five spaces.

Tips
  • Citations in which second and subsequent lines are indented are referred to as "hanging indents." Both APA and MLA styles call for the use of hanging indents.
  • Both APA and MLA styles require that you double-space all pages of your reference list or works cited page.