Written by Allen Wyatt (last updated July 25, 2020)
This tip applies to Word 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, and Word in Microsoft 365
Loriann underlines a fair amount of text in some of her documents. She wonders if there is a way to move the stroke of the underline down, vertically, so the underline doesn't touch the bottoms of any character descenders.
Word allows you to choose a style of underlining (single, double, dotted, wavy, etc.), but the position of the underline is hard coded into the program, as far as I can tell. You can, however, "trick" Word into changing the underline position. Try these steps:
Figure 1. The Advanced tab of the Font dialog box.
That's it; the underline should now completely clear the descenders on the text. This works because the underline is "keyed" to the leading space, which did not get raised. All you did was to raise the other text higher, away from the baseline. If you had selected the anchoring space in step 4, then this approach would not have worked.
What to do about the leading space, then? You can make it virtually disappear if you follow these steps:
Your leading space should now "disappear," though it is still really there. (You just can't see it because it is too small.)
Obviously, the acceptability of this approach will depend on how your text appears in your document. It works great if the text you are underlining is the only text in the paragraph. If, however, there is text before or after it, then it will look strange. (Like I said, it won't work for all uses.)
If you have a need to add underlines like this a lot, you might consider just adding a graphic line under your text. That way you could change not only the position of the line, but also its weight and other characteristics. It wouldn't be satisfactory to add the underline while you are still editing (adding and deleting) text, but it could be a final touch you add to your document.
WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (7457) applies to Microsoft Word 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, and Word in Microsoft 365.
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