How to Get Rid of Dotted Lines in a Word Document

by Sonia Waring
Erik Snyder/Lifesize/Getty Images

To delete text or other items, such as graphics, in a word processor, all you have to do is select the item in question. Not so with the mysterious dotted lines, a Microsoft Word “autocorrect” function that sometimes appears in a document. It appears when you type a series of characters that Word interprets as a separator, such as a line of asterisks or dashes. However, unlike some other autocorrections, such as © for (c), Word’s substitution for the separator line is not a character, but a paragraph style. Remove the line by changing the paragraph style.

Step 1

Select both the paragraph above and the paragraph below the dotted line in question.

Step 2

Click on arrow next to the “Border” button in the "Paragraph" section of buttons. The button is labeled with an image of a four-square table with dotted lines delineating every section except for the bottom, which is a thin, solid line.

Click the option “No border.”


  • These steps are specific to Word 2007. The process is similar in Word 2003, though you’ll find paragraph formatting in the “Format” menu rather than the “Home” tab.
  • To alter the paragraph border instead of eliminating it, click the “Borders and Shading" option in the “Border” drop-down menu.


Photo Credits

  • Erik Snyder/Lifesize/Getty Images

About the Author

Sonia Waring has been a professional technology editor since 1998, focusing primarily on software reviews and how-to articles. She also edits copy for scientific journals, several websites, and an independent network security consultancy.

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