How to Make a Block Quote in Google Docs

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When you create an essay, research paper, or article where you’re including a long quotation, it’s key to format it correctly. A block quote is a quotation in your document that is indented and begins on its own line to break it away from the rest of the text. This highlights the quote and makes stand out from the remaining parts of the document.

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Both MLA and APA writing styles are similar in their requirements for block quotes. However, Chicago style rules differ.

  • MLA: More than four lines of prose or three lines of verse, indented 0.5 inches from the left margin, no quotation marks, and maintain double-spacing
  • APA: 40 words or longer, indented 0.5 inches from the left margin, no quotation marks, maintain double-spacing, and no line spaces above or below the quote
  • Chicago: Five or more lines or 100 or more words, indented from the left margin, no quotations marks, and use single-spacing

If you’re required to use one of these writing styles, be sure to check other requirements for block quotes or your paper in general. Check with your professor or the Purdue Online Writing Lab (OWL).

Before using one of the below methods for creating your block quote, be sure to select the text. This quotation should start on its own line and subsequent text after the quote should also start on a new line.

Selected quotation text

  • Option 1: Do a Block Quote Using an Indent

Google Docs has a built-in tool for indenting paragraphs that you can use for your block quote. With the text selected, click the Increase Indent button in the toolbar or select Format > Align & Indent > Increase Indent from the menu.

Increase Indent in the menu and on the toolbar

  • Option 2: Create a Block Quote Using the Ruler

If you use the Ruler in Google Docs for things like adjusting margins, you can use this tool to indent your block quote as well. To display the Ruler, go to View > Show Ruler from the menu.

Show Ruler selected in the View menu

Select the Left Indent indicator on the left side of the ruler. This is the triangle below the rectangle. Drag the indicator to the right until you reach 0.5 inches. You’ll see this as you drag. When you reach that spot, release.

Indent using the Ruler

If you’re using the default tab stops in Google Docs or have one set up for 0.5 inches from the margin, you can use the Tab key to indent your quote.

Again, make sure the entire block of quote text is selected, then press Tab.

Block quote indented in Google Docs

Not every bit of formatting you do for your document is a major task. So, if you need to insert a block quote in Google Docs, be sure to format it the way it should be. It takes only a few seconds using these methods.

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