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: Aligning Borders with the Page Margins.

Aligning Borders with the Page Margins

Written by Allen Wyatt (last updated October 10, 2020)
This tip applies to Word 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, and Word in Microsoft 365


When you add borders to paragraphs, the left and right indentation on the paragraph is unchanged, and the border is drawn around the paragraph. This means that the border may extend into the text margins, if necessary. At times, this can look funny or even distracting in your page layout.

The solution is to adjust the paragraph margins so that when the border is drawn, it does not extend beyond the normal text margins. To do this, you will need to experiment with the margin settings for the paragraph. The following hints may help:

  • Try to position the bordered paragraph near the ruler. You can then see if your margin adjustments bring the left edge of the border even with the 0 mark on the ruler.
  • If you are using the thinnest (hairline) single rule for a border, try indenting the paragraph by 2 points more than the value in the From Text field of the Border and Shading Options dialog box. Thus, if you have indicated that the box should be 5 points from the text, then you would indent the paragraph 7 points.
  • Remember you will have to change the paragraph indents if you change the border type.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (9003) 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: Aligning Borders with the Page Margins.

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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