How to Create Borders in Word

By Katelyn Kelley

Updated May 06, 2020

Borders in Microsoft Word are straight vertical or horizontal lines you can add to your document. You can use them to insert a hard rule beneath text for decoration or emphasis, create an outline box around text or images or use them to frame the cells in a table. Word's border command gives you the flexibility to choose the position of the border, the thickness of the line and the line style. Line styles can be continuous, multiple lines together or dashed lines.

Open your Microsoft word application by selecting it from your Start menu or double-clicking the program icon. Type some text into the document window. Press the "Return/Enter" key to move to a new line.

Typing text in Word document.

Click the "Home" tab and locate the "Borders" command icon on the "Design" panel in the middle of the ribbon across the top of the screen. The icon looks like a faint crosshairs outlined with a thin, black square.

Navigating to Page Borders from the Design tab in Word.

Click the "Borders" icon to expand the drop-down menu of border options. Choose a horizontal line and it will appear across the width of your page.

Choosing page border options in Word.
Page border example in Word.

Click and drag to select a paragraph of text on your page, then click the "Borders" icon and choose a box-style border from the drop-down list. Now a box will appear around the text you selected. You can apply a box-style border to one word, several words, one paragraph or multiple paragraphs, depending on what you highlight before using the command.

Putting border around selected text in Word.
Border around selected text/paragraph in Word.

Click the "Borders" icon to access the drop-down menu once more, then select the last command in the menu, "Borders and Shading." This brings up a dialog box that allows you to customize your border further with line styles, line widths and color choices.

Shading options for borders in Word.
Shaded box around text in Word.


You can also add a border to your document using Microsoft Word's Auto Format As You Type feature. This feature allows you to type shortcut symbols that become borders when you press the "Return/Enter" key or the space bar after the symbols. For example, type "---" (without the quotes) for a solid single line border, type "===" for a double line border or type "###" for a triple line border.

In the Macintosh version of Microsoft Word and in versions of Word for Windows prior to 2007, use the "Format" menu to access the Border commands and features. For the 2014 version of Word and onwards, use the "Design" tab on the left to navigate to the Border commands, which will appear on the right.

The width of a horizontal border adheres to the indent guides on the ruler. To make the border longer or shorter, click and drag the triangular indent markers on the top ruler to the left or to the right.


If you accidentally add an auto-formatted border to your document and don't want it, press the "Undo" button on your Quick Access Toolbar in the upper left of the screen or press the "Ctrl"+"Z" keys on the keyboard to undo the formatting.