Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Word versions: 2007, 2010, 2013, and 2016. 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: Adding Borders to Cell Contents.

Adding Borders to Cell Contents

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated July 2, 2016)


You may already know how to add a border to a cell in a Word table. You may not know that you can go beyond such a border and add a border to the contents of a cell. You can add such a border by following these steps:

  1. Position the insertion point within the cell that contains the text you want to border. (You don't need to select the text or the cell.)
  2. Display the Home tab of the ribbon.
  3. Click the down-arrow next to the Border tool in the Paragraph group, and then choose Borders and Shading from the resulting drop-down list. Word displays the Borders and Shading dialog box. (See Figure 1.)
  4. Figure 1. The Borders and Shading dialog box.

  5. Use the controls in the dialog box to add the borders you desire.
  6. Using the Apply To drop-down list, select Paragraph.
  7. 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 (11513) applies to Microsoft Word 2007, 2010, 2013, and 2016. You can find a version of this tip for the older menu interface of Word here: Adding Borders to Cell Contents.

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 3 - 2?

2016-09-08 04:00:29


Charles - try Alt j t b o in sequence (no combination presses). This works in Word 2007 while the Home tab is active.

2016-09-04 08:04:08

Charles Bewlay

Mac Word 2004 had keyboard shortcut Cmd-optB to bring up the Borders and Shading dialogue box. 2008 and 2011 versions deleted this (making it View>Notebook).

In Tools>Customize Keyboard there is no Borders and Shading command (as if it doesn't exist) so therefore no shortcut available.

I tried making a macro, but further problems: I cannot create a keyborad command for any macro that I make for this command, and also Stop Macro isn't available when the Borders and Shading dialogue box comes up – all one can choose is 'none' or 'box' etc.

I use dozens of tables in many documents I process, so am very tired of not having a keyboard command.

All ideas very welcome!

2016-07-04 04:24:05


Thanks - I never realised that before! I have used paragraph borders outside a table but never inside, until today.
By experimentation, it's possible to alter the width of the paragraph border using the Indent marks on the horizontal ruler, and to alter the height by changing the Font Size and the Line Spacing.
This would be ideal for highlighting text in a tabular structure. The table borders can even be turned off without affecting the paragraph border settings.

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