Draw a border around table text in Word

In Word, disable table borders and print borders around specific cells for emphasis.

When you insert a table, Word draws a border around each cell as shown below. That's the default setting, but you're probably already familiar with most table defaults.

What you might not know is that you can draw a border around the text in an individual cell or cells. For a bit of emphasis, let's draw a border around the highest value in each year, as follows:

  1. Double-click the value for July 2009 (74). Then, hold down the [Ctrl] key and double-click the August 2008 and July 2007 values.
  2. From the Format menu, choose Borders and Shading. In Word 2007 and 2010, click the Home tab | Border in the Paragraph group, and choose Borders and Shading.
  3. On the Borders tab, choose a color, line style, and width.
  4. From the Apply To dropdown, choose Paragraph.
  5. Click OK.

Word displays a border around the content, but as is, the results aren't terribly appealing. Let's look at what happens when you disable the table borders, as follows:

  1. Select the table by clicking the Table Move handle (the four-arrow pointer at the table's top-left corner).
  2. Choose No Border from the border button on the Formatting toolbar. In Word 2007 and 2010, click the Home tab | Border in the Paragraph group and choose No Border from the dropdown list.

Word will dim the borders on screen. If you view the document in Print Preview, you'll see that the borders are gone, but the red border remains around the three cells.

Keep in mind that a busy table isn't better, it's distracting! This format has the potential to turn into a mess, but used properly, it could make a nice difference.