I would like to change the indentation for all regular text in a large document, using MS Word 2010, so that the distance to the left border is increased. Indentation for all other types of text should remain unchanged (captions, text in tables, text in a text box, etc.)

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These documents will be frequently edited by several users without special training (managers), so I am trying to make this as easy as possible for them not to screw up the formating.

I have tried the following approaches:

  1. Change the indent of the standard style.
    This seems to change every other style that is based on that style, so almost everything. It also caused all text in tables etc. to be indented by default.
    Changing the standard style therefore seems to be inadvisable, but perhaps I did it wrong.

  2. Create a new style with the desired indentation, and change every caption style to use that style for the next paragraph.
    But the standard style still seems to occassionally pop up in weird places, and I have to keep reapplying the custom style for random paragraphs (I am still not sure why).
    Also, when someone copies text from another document, it uses the standard style without indentation. If the copied text contains custom formating such as numbering, then even manually applying the new style with the correct indentation destroys this custom formating. Users rejected this approach due to the required training and forcing them to mess around with styles.

How do I keep a consistent indent for only regular text and nothing else (ideally whithout retraining my users)?

Did I make a mistake while attempting my outlined approaches, or is there another way?

(the usage of word 2010 is dictated by corporate policy. Using another tool such as Latex is not possible)

1 Answer 1


First, make the left margin of the whole page wider, so that all text is aligned where you want regular text paragraphs to be. The left indent for those text paragraphs (and text in tables and text boxes) should be set to 0 (the padding on the inside of table cells and text boxes would be defined in the table and text box styles).

Then set the left indent for the heading/caption styles (and the styles for anything else that should be farther to the left of the regular text) to a negative number to place them inside the extra-wide left margin.

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