Software

Five Word borders you can apply as you type

Word offers a variety of border styles you can use to separate or set off areas in a document -- and you can apply them automatically with these keyboard tricks.

When you want to set off a paragraph with a horizontal line, you can switch from the keyboard to the mouse and click the appropriate border tool -- or you can simply type it in. For example, suppose you would like to separate the following sentence from the rest of Section One:

After you type the sentence, press Enter, type three hyphens, and then press Enter again, as shown below. (I've turned on the Show/Hide button to reveal the keystrokes.)

Word draws a single line above the second paragraph mark and positions the insertion point marker to begin  the next paragraph:

If you prefer a thicker line, substitute the underscore (_) character for the hyphen. Using an equal sign (=) will produce a double line. The tilde character (~) will produce a wavy line, while an asterisk (*) will produce a dotted line. Finally, typing the number sign (#) three times produces this border:

Note that Word's AutoCorrect border option must be set for these keys to work. Go to Tools | AutoCorrect. (In Word 2007, click the Office button, click the Word Options button, point to Proofing in the left column, and then click the AutoCorrect Options button.)

In the AutoCorrect Dialog box, under the Apply As You Type section, select the Border Lines check box:


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16 comments
Nebraska Jack
Nebraska Jack

This works in Office 2007 also. To clear the border simply select the text and apply a Normal or some other style from the Home ribbon.

kdavis
kdavis

Cool! I'll add these to my short cut list!

jonwia888
jonwia888

A wonderful and simple tool - thanks!

sandearl
sandearl

Not to be picky but I counted six: 1. --- 2. ___ 3. === 4. ~~~ 5. *** 6. ### Fun though. Thanks

gsteck
gsteck

I use this feature regularly, but I'd like to see a keyboard shortcut for framing out a paragraph. Is there one?

dcapecoral
dcapecoral

How do you remove the border? I ran into one in a document created by someone else that I needed to update and I still can't figure out how to remove it.

sterghe
sterghe

Having taught MS Office for quite some time, I've found that students very often encounter this feature accidentally. Getting the lines to appear is easy--getting them to go away again is not intuitive for the ordinary user, who typically approaches me very frustrated after watching their text move above and below an apparent object that just won't delete. (It won't delete because it's technically a bit of formatting, not really an object.) One sure way to get rid of a single or double line like this when you're already past the feasibility of the "undo" option is to highlight the text both above and below the line, then choose Format > Borders and Shading, borders tab > None > OK. Oddly, if you make the fancier ### or *** line, just hitting [backspace] or [delete] from the appropriate position makes it go away just fine.

JodyGilbert
JodyGilbert

Whooops, my bad. (The only number I seem to grasp anymore is 10.) Thanks for pointing out the "bonus" trick! Jody

mirossmac2
mirossmac2

I'd really like to know this, too

hal001
hal001

I found this feature by accident but had to fight hard to get rid of it. Thanks for the tips.

dcapecoral
dcapecoral

I really appreciate that. It's so frustrating to encounter problems like this and so rewarding to have a forum like this to relieve them.

gsteck
gsteck

for this tip! I've often encountered this problem, and even though I've been working with Word for many years, I always have a fight with it.

im_chaz
im_chaz

You can do this, at least in Word 2003. TOOLS | CUSTOMIZE... Click on COMMANDS TAB Click on KEYBOARD... button In CATEGORIES section, select BORDERS In COMMANDS section, select BORDEROUTSIDE (Or whatever border style you choose) In PRESS NEW SHORTCUT KEY box: Place cursor in the box and using the keyboard keys enter you shortcut keyboard sequence to fit your needs. i.e. ALT + B If it has already been assigned, look below the box and it will tell you if its been assigned as a keyboard shortcut or not. If it hasnt, it will state [UNASSIGNED] Once satisfied, click on the ASSIGN button, then CLOSE button (2x). Hope this helps.