Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Word versions: 2007, 2010, 2013, and 2016. 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: Adding Automatic Lines.

Adding Automatic Lines

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated June 17, 2017)


Word includes a sometimes-helpful little feature that allows you to add lines in your documents, without removing your fingers from the keyboard. All you need to do is start at the left margin of a new line, type at least three characters, and then press Enter. The result is a line based on the characters you typed. You can use the following characters:

  • Type three dashes and you get a single line.
  • Type thee underlines and you get a bold single line.
  • Type three equal signs and you get a double line.
  • Type three asterisks and you get a heavy dotted line.

You can actually type more than three of each character, if you desire. Word doesn't care that much—the only requirement is that there is at least three of them, and they begin at the left margin. What Word does is to add a border of the specified type to the bottom of the paragraph. If you want to later delete the line, the only way to do so is to remove the paragraph, or choose Borders and Shading from the Format menu.

If you can't automatically add lines on your system, 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 and later versions display the File tab of the ribbon and then click Options.)
  2. At the left of the dialog box click Proofing.
  3. Click AutoCorrect Options. Word displays the AutoCorrect dialog box.
  4. Make sure the AutoFormat As You Type tab is selected. (See Figure 1.)
  5. Figure 1. The AutoFormat As You Type tab of the AutoCorrect dialog box.

  6. Make sure the Border Lines check box is checked.
  7. Click on OK to close the AutoCorrect dialog box.
  8. Click on Cancel to close the Word Options dialog box.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (6095) applies to Microsoft Word 2007, 2010, 2013, and 2016. You can find a version of this tip for the older menu interface of Word here: Adding Automatic Lines.

Author Bio

Allen Wyatt

With more than 50 non-fiction books and numerous magazine articles to his credit, Allen Wyatt is an internationally recognized author. He  is president of Sharon Parq Associates, a computer and publishing services company. ...


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What is 1 + 8?

2018-01-17 14:59:55


This doesn't work. Tried it, is there another box that needs checking aside from border lines?

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