indenting text on AO3 [tutorial]

I get asked this a lot because all my fics on AO3 are indented. Here is the information needed to create a workskin to do this yourself.

To create your Indentation Work Skin:

1) Go to your Skins page from the link in your Dashboard

2) Click the “Work Skins” button

3) Choose “Create Skin”

4) In the “Create New Archive Skin” form, change the popup menu beside “Type” to “Work Skin” (very important)

5) In the “Title” box, enter a title that is meaningful to you (for example, “Indentation”)

Optional: If you like, in the “Description” box you can enter a description of what the skin does

6a) In the large box labeled “CSS”, enter:     

#workskin #chapters div.userstuff p { text-indent: 2em; margin: 0 auto; }

Note: The above CSS will indent your paragraphs and remove the white spacing between paragraphs (as though you are reading the page of a book). It will also not affect your summary or notes.

6b) If you’d like to indent your paragraphs but still leave a single blank line between them (easier to read on devices), instead enter:   

#workskin #chapters div.userstuff p { text-indent: 2em; }

7) Click the “Submit” button at the bottom of the form.

Note: If you find the indent too small or too large, increase or decrease the number accordingly and save, for example: 1em, 3em, or 4em if you’re crazy.

To use your new Work Skin:

1) Select the fic your would like to apply your work skin too.

2) Select “Edit”

3) At the bottom, choose your new Work Skin from the drop-down menu next to “Select Work Skin”

4) Post your fic

If you enjoy my writing, please consider dropping me a comment here or, if applicable, on AO3 or by supporting my hot beverage habit on Ko-fi. Thank you!

—joanielspeak
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11 thoughts on “indenting text on AO3 [tutorial]

    1. Hi, hopefully my answer could still be useful after more than one year. If you want every paragraph to indent for lines other than the first line, you can assign negative value to text-indent and assign positive value with the same magnitude to margin-left.

      #workskin #chapters div.userstuff p {
      text-indent:-2em;
      margin-left: 2em;
      }

  1. Well damn! I was so hopeful, finding this, especially when I tried it and it worked! Unfortunately though, it doesn’t hold outside of AO3. At least not in PDF, and therefore I figure it’d be the same for Mobi, etc. I know most of my readers download it to their various devices, rather than read on site. Such a bummer!

    Why AO3 can’t add a tab/indent function is beyond me! Talk about frustrating!!!

  2. Indent your works at your own risk. You will lose readers over this because digital formatting dictates the use of paragraph spaces and not indentations due to the nature of the medium.

    1. Thanks for the input! I have no problem losing a few readers over formatting. Personally, I have only ever received gratitude and compliments over this style of indentation. Most of that gratitude has come from people who struggle with losing their place when reading digitally which was what prompted me to make this stylesheet in the first place. Maybe the medium could use an upgrade! Until then, to each their own.

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