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How to insert a horizontal or vertical line in Word

Author: Sun Last Modified: 2024-04-22

nserting lines in Microsoft Word can structure content, enhance readability, and improve the overall appearance of your documents. Whether you need a horizontal sweep or a vertical barrier, Word offers multiple methods to incorporate these lines effectively. This article guides you through various techniques to add both horizontal and vertical lines, explaining each method's specific benefits and applications.


Insert a Horizontal Line Across the Word

 

This guide will present four methods for inserting a horizontal line in Word. Choose the one that best suits your needs to accomplish the task.


Using Shortcuts: Quickly insert a line with keyboard commands

Inserting a horizontal line in Microsoft Word using shortcuts is a quick and efficient way to create visual separators in your documents. This method, part of Word's AutoFormat feature, allows for the instant addition of lines by using simple keyboard commands. Here’s how you can utilize this feature to enhance document readability and structure.

Step-by-Step Guide to Using Shortcuts for Horizontal Lines:

Step 1. Choose the Placement

Place your cursor where you want the horizontal line to appear. This could be between paragraphs, under headings, or anywhere you need a clear division.

Step 2. Use the AutoFormat Shortcut
    1. Type three consecutive hyphens ---

    2. And then press the Enter key. Instantly, Word will convert these hyphens into a solid horizontal line that spans the width of your page.

If you prefer different styles of lines, other character sequences can be used:

Three asterisks *** for a dotted line.

Three underscores ___ for a bold line.

Three equal signs === for a double line.

Three tildes ~~~ for a wavy line.

Tip: To cancel a horizontal line and keep the three characters, press Backspace immediately after creating the line.
Remove the line inserted by shortcut

The line inserted via shortcut becomes a border for the content above it and cannot be selected or removed directly. To remove such a line, place your cursor at the front of the content below the line and press the backspace key, then the line is removed.

Stop Automatically Creating Border Lines

If you want to stop automatically creating border lines while pressing the Enter key after typing three consecutive hyphens (asterisks, underscores…), click the Auto Format Options button beside the line, and choose Stop Automatically Creating Border Lines.

If you do not find the AutoFormat Options, go to File > Options, and select Proofing from the left pane, then click the AutoCorrect Options button. And under the AutoFormat As You Type tab, untick Border lines.


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Using Borders: Add editable lines through the Borders tool

This tutorial explains two methods to insert editable lines using the Borders tool, each suited for different formatting needs.

Method 1: Adding a Bottom Border

The Bottom Border is primarily used to underline text. To insert a bottom border:

Step 1. Select the paragraph you want to underline with a border
Step 2. Navigate to the Bottom Border

Click Home > Borders > Bottom Border.

Now a bottom border is added below the paragraph.

Format the Bottom Border

If you want to change the color or width of the border, go to Home > Borders > Borders and Shading, in the popping dialog, specify the Style, Color, and Width, and remember to select Bottom border in the Preview section.

Remove Bottom Border

Click the Border menu to remove it.

Tip: The bottom border cannot be inserted in an empty paragraph.

Method 2: Adding a Horizontal Line

Inserting a standalone horizontal line involves a slightly different approach:

Step 1. Place your cursor in the blank paragraph where you want the line

If you select a paragraph while inserting a horizontal line, the selected paragraph will be replaced with the line.

Step 2. Apply Horizontal Line

Go to Home > Borders > Horizontal Line.

Once inserted, the line behaves like a graphical object rather than a text decoration. It separates sections distinctly.

Format Horizontal Line

Double-click on the line to open the Format Horizontal Line dialog, and specify the settings.

Remove Horizontal Line

Click on the line and press Backspace or Delete key.


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Using Shapes: Insert flexible lines with the Shapes feature

Using shapes to insert horizontal lines in Microsoft Word allows for high customization and flexibility, making it an excellent choice for visually compelling documents. This guide will walk you through the process of using the Shapes tool to add horizontal lines that can be adjusted to fit any design requirement. Step-by-Step Guide to Inserting Lines Using Shapes:

Step 1. Access the Shapes Menu

Click on the Insert tab on the ribbon at the top of Word. In the Illustrations group, click on Shapes.

Step 2. Select a Line Shape

From the drop-down menu, choose a line shape under the Lines group. The simplest option is the straight line, but you can select any line style that fits your needs.

Step 3. Draw the Line

Click and drag across the point in your document where you want the line to appear. Holding down the Shift key while dragging will help you draw a perfectly horizontal line.

You can select the line and drag the handles at either end to make it longer or shorter.

Format the Line

Click on the line, go to the Shape Format tab, and select the format you need in the Shape Styles group.

Remove the Line

Select the line and press the Backspace or Delete key.


Using Tables: Automatically insert lines by manipulating table borders

Using tables in Microsoft Word is an innovative way to insert horizontal lines, providing a unique way to integrate seamlessly with structured document formats. This guide will explore how to use table borders to create horizontal lines, perfect for delineating sections in a document or enhancing your layout design. Step-by-Step Process to Insert Lines Using Table Borders:

Step 1. Insert a Table

Navigate to the Insert tab on the ribbon and click on Table. You can select the number of rows and columns based on your needs, but for a simple horizontal line, a one-row, one-column table will suffice.

Step 2. Remove Table Borders
  1. Click the cross button beside the table to select the whole table.

  2. Then click the Table Design tab.

  3. Click the Borders menu, and choose No Border.

Step 3. Add Inside Borders

Still, in the Borders drop-down menu, click Inside Borders.

Now when you enter contents and press the Tab key to move to the next row of the table, a line is automatically added at the bottom of the content.

Format the Table Borders

Select the cross button to select the table, then go to the Table Design tab, and navigate to the Borders group to format them.

Remove the Table Borders

Select the cross button to select the table, then go to the Table Design tab, and navigate to Borders > No Borders.


Insert a Vertical Line in Word

Vertical lines in Microsoft Word can serve a variety of purposes, from visually dividing sections of text to enhancing the overall layout of a document. This article will guide you through several methods to insert a vertical line in Word, ensuring you can choose the most appropriate one for your needs.


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Using Shapes: Draw precise lines with the Shapes tool

Adding vertical lines in Microsoft Word can enhance document structure and improve readability. Among various methods available, using the Shapes tool is one of the most effective ways to insert precise and customizable vertical lines.

Step 1. Access the Shapes Menu

Click on the Insert tab on the ribbon at the top of Word. In the Illustrations group, click on Shapes.

Step 2. Select a Line Shape

From the drop-down menu, choose a line shape under the Lines group. The simplest option is the straight line, but you can select any line style that fits your needs.

Step 3. Draw the Line

Click and drag across the point in your document where you want the line to appear. Holding down the Shift key while dragging will help you draw a perfectly vertical line.

You can select the line and drag the handles at either end to make it longer or shorter.

Format the Line

Click on the line, go to the Shape Format tab, and select the format you need in the Shape Styles group.

Remove the Line

Select the line and press the Backspace or Delete key.


Using Borders: Create vertical lines on the most-left or most-right side

If you want to insert a vertical line in the front or the end of a paragraph, the Borders feature will be a good helper.

Step-by-Step Guide to Using Borders for Vertical Lines:

Step 1. Select the paragraph you want to underline with a border
Step 2. Navigate to the Left Border or Right Border

Click Home > Borders > Left Border or Right Border.

Now a left border or right border is added below the paragraph.

Format the Bottom Border

If you want to change the color or width of the border, go to Home > Borders > Borders and Shading, in the popping dialog, specify the Style, Color, and Width, and remember to select Left border or Right border in the Preview section.

Remove Bottom Border

Click the Border menu to remove it.

Tip: The left border cannot be inserted in an empty paragraph.

Using Line between Option: Insert vertical lines to separate columns

If you want to add lines between columns in Word, there is an option that can quickly help you.

Step 1. Place the cursor on the columns that you want to add vertical lines
Step 2. Navigate to the Layout tab, click Columns > More Columns

Step 3. Tick the Line between option in the Columns dialog and click OK.

Now several vertical lines are inserted to separate the columns.

Remove the lines between columns

Place the cursor on the columns, go to the Columns dialog again, and untick the Line between option.


Using the Pipe Character: Employ the "|" character for simple line insertion

Sometimes, you may only want to insert a short vertical line like a separator between characters or words, you can use the pipe character.

Step 1. Place the cursor on where you want to insert a vertical line
Step 2. Hold the Shift key and type |

Then a pipe character is inserted.

Remove the pipe character
  • If you just want to remove one pipe character, select it and press the Delete key.

  • If you want to remove all pipe characters, select the range you want to remove pipe characters from, then press the Ctrl + H key to enable the Find and Replace dialog, then type a pipe character in the Find what textbox, leave empty in the Replace with textbox, click Replace All.


Each method offers different advantages, depending on the complexity of your document's layout and the level of precision you require. Whether you're creating newsletters, resumes, or detailed reports, adding vertical lines can significantly boost the readability and aesthetic appeal of your documents./p>

For additional transformative Word strategies that can significantly enhance your data management, explore further here.

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