When indenting in Word, the margins move

Copper Contributor

I am writing a book in Word and when I highlight block text for long quotes and try to indent them .5", the margins for surrounding text move too. I want the margins to remain in place at 1". It appears that Word interprets the surrounding text as part of the highlighted block of text and moves everything so my margins become 1.5".  If I add a line before and after the highlighted block text, the margins remain in place and the highlighted text does indent .5" but then I'm stuck with blank lines before and after the highlighted quote text, which shouldn't be there and can't be submitted to a publisher without looking amateurish. If I delete the blank lines, the block of indented, highlighted text goes back to the margin.  At this point, I have no idea what to do.

10 Replies

@Blindy8 Is the block of text a separate paragraph?  It will need to be for you to be able to change the indents, unless you resort to inserting a tab space before the start of the text on each of the lines of the block.


Doug is right.

See Margins and Indents in Word.

Indents are paragraph formatting and is what you want to be adjusting, not margins.


If you want, save a sample document with the problem on OneDrive or DropBox and post a share or view link to it here.


Hi, Thanks for your imput. The problem was that Word was corrupted. Once it was reinstalled, it worked perfectly

I'm glad you got it sorted out.
Thanks. Still having issues with tab stops. I go to the paragraph group in the Home menu and open the dialogue box then the Tab button. I set the default tabs to .5" but when I get to an unedited section where the tabs were .81" they don't self-correct to .5" and the tab stops on the ruler change to reflect the unedited .81". I assume they don't self-correct even if I set the default tab stop to .5" and have to reset each one. I do notice that as I do that, the indents remain .5" for the sections edited, which is what I want. Is that how they work?
best response confirmed by Blindy8 (Copper Contributor)


Tab settings are paragraph formatting, not document formatting.


If you change them in one paragraph, they do NOT change elsewhere in the document. If you are inside a paragraph or at the end of a paragraph you've modified and press Enter, the change applies in the new paragraph.


Consider modifying the style applied to the paragraph instead of the paragraph.



When you modify a style, you can check the option to also have the change apply in NEW documents based on the template.

@Charles_KenyonI"m not sure if I'm doing this correctly because I see your name in my message box.

I was looking to thank you for your mention of styles. I wasn't aware of their value as i had never used them. I had assume that the tab feature was for the entire document.  I will read the articles you sent me and look to learn how to use styles to set up the tab stops for indents at .5" for paragraph indents that address the full document.

Unless you use the same style throughout the document, which defeats the purpose, you'll need to set multiple styles.

For some reason, my version of Office Professional Plus 2021 got corrupted twice. As a result, the normal tab functions didn't work. Microsoft support reinstalled it but the help menus stopped working and the tab problems I listed came up. I did a Microsoft repair on my own and now everything works fine. 


The articles you sent me on Styles were very helpful. I never had used styles before and usually set my titles and headings individually but now see the advantage of using styles for a global approach. Thank you.

You are welcome. Like you, I did not understand how styles could make a difference for a long time.