How to Insert a Border in Open Office

By Kevin Lee

OpenOffice can add colorful border effects to photos you take.
i Thinkstock/Comstock/Getty Images

Borders do everything from enhancing pictures to making it easier to visualize cells in a data table. OpenOffice programs such as Impress, Draw and Writer enable you to add borders to different types of objects quickly. Add a border to a paragraph, for instance, and the paragraph stands out from the others on the page. The method you use to add a border varies depending on the application you use.

Add Border to Picture

Launch OpenOffice Impress, and open a document that has an image.

Click "View" followed by "Toolbars." Click "Drawing" if you do not see the Drawing toolbar.

Click the toolbar's "Rectangle" icon, and draw a rectangle that covers the image. Draw the rectangle so that it is slightly larger than the image.

Right-click the rectangle, click "Arrange" and then click "Send to Back." Because the program sends the rectangle behind the picture, only the rectangle edges peek out from behind the picture. This creates a border effect. Click one of the border's green handles and drag it to adjust the border's size if needed. Press your keyboard's arrow keys to position the border precisely.

Add Predefined Border to Table

Open an OpenOffice Writer document that has a table.

Select the cells you want to change to view the Table toolbar, and then click the toolbar's "Borders" icon. Several pre-defined border styles appear in a menu.

Click a border style to apply it to cells you selected.

Add Custom Border to Table

Launch OpenOffice Writer, and open a document that has a table.

Select cells that you want to have borders and click "Format." Click "Table" followed by "Border" to view the Table Format window's Borders tab. This tab contains sections such as Shadow Style, Line Arrangement and Line. You'll also see a User-Defined section that has four rectangles arranged in a square.

Click one of the square's edges, and Writer highlights that edge. For instance, if you click the top edge, which represents the top of a cell, Writer highlights that edge.

Click one of the line styles in the Line section to adjust the line width of the edge you selected. Click "Color," and then click the color you'd like the edge to have. Repeat this process for each cell edge you'd like to modify.

Review the default values in the Spacing to Contents section. That section has text boxes named Left, Right, Top and Bottom. Leave those values unchanged if you like, or change them if you want to change the distance between the border lines and the document page. Click "OK" to save your changes.

Add Predefined Border to Paragraph

Open an OpenOffice Writer document, and click inside a paragraph that needs a border.

Click "Format' followed by "Paragraph," and then select "Borders." The Paragraph window displays controls that enable you to alter the paragraph's appearance.

Click the line style you'd like to use, click the "Color" drop-down menu and select a color for the line. If you'd like to change the default distance between the paragraph's border and surrounding page contents, type new distance values -- in inches -- in the text boxes located in the Spacing to Contents section. Click "OK" to save your changes.

Add Custom Border to OpenOffice Paragraph

Launch OpenOffice Writer and open a document. Click "Format," click "Paragraph" and then click "Borders."

Move to the User Defined section, and review the rectangle that appears there. Click the rectangle's top edge, and click one of the line styles in the Line section. Click the "Color" drop-down menu, and then select the color you'd like Open Office to apply to the line.

Repeat this process for the rectangle's other three edges. When you're done, you will have selected a line style and color for each of the paragraph's four edges. Click "OK" to apply the border.


Change the way a picture's border looks by right-clicking a border that you add to Impress or Draw and then clicking "Edit Style" to view the Graphics Styles Default dialog window. This window contains many tabs that enable you to change the border's colors and other properties.

Apply a border to an OpenOffice Impress picture using the same steps you use to add one to an OpenOffice Draw picture.


This article describes steps that work in OpenOffice 4.0.0. Steps may differ depending on your version.