Run-in headings appear in line with the text rather than above the text. This tutorial shows how to create run-in headings in Microsoft Word. Specifically, we will create run-in headings that will appear correctly in the table of contents.
First, we will use Word’s default styles to create run-in headings that are aligned with the left margin. Then, we will customize a default style to create indented run-in headings, such as those needed for the fourth and fifth heading levels in APA Style.[i]
Table of Contents:
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The images below are from Word for Microsoft 365. These steps also apply to Word 2021, Word 2019, Word 2016, and Word 2013. These steps don’t apply to Word for Mac or Word for the web.
How to Create Left-Aligned Run-In Headings
Important Note: This method assumes that your default heading styles have not been customized.
- Select the Home tab in the ribbon.
- (Optional) Select the Show/Hide button to show your formatting marks.
- Type the heading text on its own line above the text it represents, and then select it.
- Select the heading level you want to use in the Styles menu.
- Place your cursor at the end of the heading.
- Type Ctrl + Alt + Enter to create a Style Separator, which is a hidden (non-printing) formatting mark that allows you to have more than one style in the same paragraph. The Style Separator mark is the paragraph mark with a dotted, rectangular border.
The paragraph below should now move in line with your new run-in heading.
- If you selected the Show/Hide button early, reselect it to hide your formatting marks (see figure 2).
When you create or update your table of contents, the run-in heading should appear with the other headings.
How to Create Indented Run-In Headings
The fastest way to create an indented run-in heading is to customize one of the default heading styles, as shown in steps 1 through 13, below.
If you don’t want to customize a default style, you can create your own custom heading style separate from the default styles and then continue with steps 14 through 17, below.
- Select the Home tab (see figure 1).
- Right-click the heading level in the Styles group, and then select Modify from the shortcut menu.
- Select the Format button in the Modify Style dialog box.
- Select Paragraph from the drop-down menu.
- Select First Line in the Special menu in the Paragraph dialog box.
- Enter the length of the indent in the By text box.
- (Optional) Adjust the space before and after and the line spacing.
- (Optional) Select Don’t add space between paragraphs of the same style to prevent extra spaces in the body of the text.
- Select the OK button.
- (Optional) Make any additional formatting changes in the Modify Style dialog box such as font, size, emphasis (i.e., underlining, boldness, or italics), and color.
- Ensure that Only in this document is selected if you want to limit your customized style to your current document.
- Ensure that Automatically Update is not selected. (If Automatically Update is selected, you won’t be able to edit the styles of individual same-level headings.)
- Select the OK button.
- Type the heading text on its own line above the text it represents, and then select it (see figure 3).
- Select the heading level you just customized in the Styles group.
- Place your cursor at the end of the heading (see figure 4).
- Type Ctrl + Alt + Enter to create a Style Separator.
The paragraph below the heading should now appear in line with the indented heading.
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