Written by Allen Wyatt (last updated May 29, 2021)
This tip applies to Word 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, and Word in Microsoft 365
Timothy apparently hit some control key that caused paragraphs in his document to appear in a box. The box enlarges with long sentences; pressing Enter begins a new box. The boxes do not print (thankfully), but they appear in new blank documents. It is as if there is a one-cell table, but there isn't. Selecting the paragraphs and formatting for "no border" does not make the boxes go away. If Timothy just knew what to call it, he's sure he could find the answer, but he's stumped as to why this is happening.
If this problem crops up and you are using Word 2013 or a later version, it is very possible that you've inadvertently turned on the display of text boundaries. In older versions of Word, turning on text boundaries displayed a border on the page corresponding to the margins. In Word 2013 or a later version, the text boundaries are displayed around each paragraph on the page. (See Figure 1.)
Figure 1. Text boundaries appear around individual paragraphs.
If this is your problem, you can turn off the display of text boundaries in this manner:
Figure 2. Advanced options in the Word Options dialog box.
If that does not fix your problem (or if you are not using Word 2013 or a later version), then check the style formatting for the Normal paragraph style. (How you modify styles has been discussed frequently in other WordTips.) In the universe of styles, the Normal style holds preeminence. It is the "root" style for almost all other built-in styles, and even for many custom styles.
The bottom line is that if the Normal style is formatted to have a box around it, then there is a good chance that all your paragraphs will have boxes around them. Check the style formatting and remove any boxes that may be associated with the style, and your problem may be immediately fixed.
In all honesty, though, the problem probably isn't related to the Normal paragraph style. If it were, then the boxes would also print, and Timothy specifically said that his boxes didn't print. There is, however, one final possibility—document or template corruption.
If the problem occurs in only a single document or a handful of documents, it could be that either the document or the template on which the document is based is corrupted in some way. Start by locating the Normal template (outside of Word) and renaming it to something else. Then, start Word and open the offending document. Create a new document and copy everything from the problem document (with the exception of the ending paragraph mark) to the new document. This process is detailed in this tip:
WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (10385) applies to Microsoft Word 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, and Word in Microsoft 365.
The First and Last Word on Word! Bestselling For Dummies author Dan Gookin puts his usual fun and friendly candor back to work to show you how to navigate Word 2013. Spend more time working and less time trying to figure it all out! Check out Word 2013 For Dummies today!
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