Indentation and Spacing for the Annotated Bibliography

Important: For technical reasons, model bibliographical entries shown online may not look exactly as they should look in an ordinary document. The examples below are image files because it is not possible to create a hanging indentation in HTML.*

Your annotated bibliography should be double-spaced all the way through, and each entry should be typed with a hanging indentation. The entire paper should have the normal 1 inch side, top, and bottom margins prescribed by MLA style. (If you are using Word 2007, the correct margins are probably your default setting, but if you are using Word 2003 or earlier, your default side margins are probably too wide.) The citations of the works should be typed with a hanging indentation, as they would be in an ordinary list of works cited.

You may type the annotations in either of two ways, but be sure to choose one of these methods and type all your annotations the same way:

  1. Simply begin the annotation when you finish typing the bibliographic information and continue as part of the same item with the same hanging indentation. The author's family name should begin at the normal margin (1 inch from the left edge of the page):

  1. Go to a new line and type the annotation in block form, using the indent icon ( ) to make the lines of the annotation even with the indented (second and following) lines of the citation:

Here's how to set a hanging indentation and double-spacing:

First, in Word 2007, click the arrow below "Paragraph" on the Home ribbon:

If you are using Word 2003 or an earlier version, click Format, Paragraph:

Next (in either version of Word), set a hanging indentation by clicking Hanging:

Finally, click Double under "Line spacing":

Click OK, and you're done! Each time you press "Enter," the text will go back to alignment with the left margin, but the rest of the lines will be indented. A hanging indentation is essentially the opposite of a normally indented paragraph in that all lines except the first are indented.

By the way, there shouldn't be any extra spaces between your entries. Using the hanging indentation makes it easy to tell where one entry ends and the next begins.

If your indentation looks too wide, check the box next to "Line spacing" (under "At"). It normally says .5 (for a half-inch indentation, which is what MLA style calls for here), but sometimes it needs to be reset.

*This sentence is true if I understand what I have read about HTML. If I am mistaken, I would appreciate being told how to create a hanging indentation in HTML!

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