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Using Text Boundaries

Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Word versions: 2007, 2010, and 2013. If you are using an earlier version (Word 2003 or earlier), this tip may not work for you. For a version of this tip written specifically for earlier versions of Word, click here: Using Text Boundaries.

If you work often in Print Layout view, you may find text boundaries helpful. These are dotted lines that appear in your document to mark the limits of text elements. For instance, when you use text boundaries, dotted lines appear around the margins of your text, as well as around headers, footers, footnotes, etc.

To control the display of text boundaries, follow these steps:

  1. Display the Word Options dialog box. (In Word 2007 click the Office button and then click Word Options. In Word 2010 or Word 2013 display the File tab of the ribbon and then click Options.)
  2. Click Advanced at the left side of the dialog box.
  3. Scroll through the options until you see the Show Document Content section. (You'll need to scroll down a ways.) (See Figure 1.)
  4. Figure 1. The advanced options of the Word Options dialog box.

  5. Use the Show Text Boundaries check box to control whether Word uses text boundaries or not. Click on the check box to turn the feature on and off; a check in the box means it is enabled.
  6. Click on OK.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (8840) applies to Microsoft Word 2007, 2010, and 2013. You can find a version of this tip for the older menu interface of Word here: Using Text Boundaries.

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Comments for this tip:

dailyangel50    28 Feb 2014, 00:12
I was just given Word 2013 at work and the text boundaries are not the same as they were in earlier versions of Word (2007 & 2010).

It has become a nightmare! Now EVERY LINE of text is underlined, instead of just the page border (unless you are in compatibility mode). You can't tell if you are looking at a table or standard text anymore, and you can no longer see your cursor along the margins edge, due to it being the same shade as the text boundary line.

These issues make it impossible to work with the text boundaries being left turned on. Since I do rely heavily on them, I have been using a macro (applied to my quick access toolbar)to toggle the text boundaries on and off, since it would have been too time consuming going in and out of the options to turn it on and off, again and again.

I wish Microsoft would fix this issue because the option is very useful when designing templates and I prefer to leave it on, but it just doesn't work well at all in 2013.

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