Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Word versions: 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, Word in Microsoft 365, and 2021. 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: Changing Paragraph Borders.

Changing Paragraph Borders

Written by Allen Wyatt (last updated May 21, 2022)
This tip applies to Word 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, Word in Microsoft 365, and 2021


In other WordTips you learn how to add borders to your paragraphs using the presets built into Word. This results in a paragraph contained in a box in which all four sides matched each other. Word allows you to mix and match line types for your border, however. For example, you could have a paragraph that has different types of borders on all four sides. To change borders on your paragraph, follow these steps:

  1. Position the insertion point in the paragraph to which you want the border added.
  2. Display the Home tab of the ribbon.
  3. Click the down arrow at the right side of the Borders tool in the Paragraph group. Word displays a number of different borders you can apply.
  4. Choose Borders and Shading; it is the last option available. Word displays the Borders and Shading dialog box.
  5. Make sure the Borders tab is selected. (See Figure 1.)
  6. Figure 1. The Borders tab of the Borders and Shading dialog box.

  7. In the Preview area of the dialog box (the part that shows what your borders look like), click on the side of the paragraph to which you want to add a border. Whatever line style that was selected should be applied to that border.
  8. Select a line type from the Style list.
  9. Use the Color and Width controls, if desired, to specify the color and weight of the border.
  10. In the Preview area of the dialog box (the part that shows what your borders look like) click on the side of the paragraph to which you want to add a border. (This could be the same side you selected in step 6.) The side should now show the border just as you want it.
  11. Repeat steps 7 through 9 for each of the other paragraph sides.
  12. 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 (9723) applies to Microsoft Word 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, Word in Microsoft 365, and 2021. You can find a version of this tip for the older menu interface of Word here: Changing Paragraph Borders.

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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