Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Word versions: 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, and Word in Microsoft 365. 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.

Using Text Boundaries

Written by Allen Wyatt (last updated August 23, 2023)
This tip applies to Word 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, and Word in Microsoft 365


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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 a later version, 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.

The way that text boundaries are implemented in Word has changed over time. In Word 2007 and 2010, when you turn text boundaries on you will generally see the boundary of the body of the page—in other words, you can see where your page margins are.

Beginning with Word 2013, text boundaries were modified to include paragraphs as an element of the page. This means that text boundaries show around each paragraph on the page. This has been frustrating to many users, but there is no way to "go back" to the old way of indicating text boundaries, as far as we've been able to figure out.

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, 2013, 2016, 2019, and Word in Microsoft 365. You can find a version of this tip for the older menu interface of Word here: Using Text Boundaries.

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 seven minus 7?

2022-04-29 16:48:24

Mark

I clicked "Show text boundaries" but I also got lines under each paragraph of the text. How do I get rid of these lines?


2021-03-29 03:45:42

DP

I figured out the fix after spending time searching the web with attempts at trial and error.
Simply click on "Word" icon in upper left corner, then "Preferences", then "View" icon, then unclick the box "Text boundaries" under "Show In Document" area.
No one explained this and I kept searching for the answer. I run Office 365 Microsoft word on a Macbook. Hope this helps save you time in the future since I have learned on my own.


2020-08-29 22:50:41

Roger Scroce

Hi Allen,

It seems to me a quick and easy alternative is to do the following:
1. get page margins.
2. insert a shape on the page (rectangle, outline only, behind text, non printing) which matches the page margins.

Optionally, a macro could easily be created to automate this ...

Regards, Roger.


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