Changing the Underline Color

Written by Allen Wyatt (last updated December 25, 2021)
This tip applies to Word 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, and Word in Microsoft 365


When Charles underlines words or uses an underline as a leader for tab stops, the underline is in black. He wonders if there is a way to make the underline in a different color, such as gray.

When I want to underline text, I typically just select that text and press Ctrl+U. I suspect that is what Charles is doing, as well, because doing so makes it easy to miss how you can underline the text and format the underline.

Notice on the Home tab of the ribbon there is an Underline tool, in the Font group. (It looks like an underlined U.) To the right side of this tool there is a down-arrow. If you click this after selecting the text you want to affect, you can choose a style for your underline. Notice, as well, that at the bottom of the options there is an Underline Color option. Click this, and you can choose the color for the underline.

If you cannot see an Underline Color option (perhaps you are using Word on a Mac), then you'll need to display the Font dialog box after selecting your text. (To display the Font dialog box, just press Ctrl+D on the PC or Cmd+D on the Mac.) (See Figure 1.)

Figure 1. The Font dialog box.

In the middle of the dialog box are two drop-down lists, one for Underline Style and the other for Underline Color.

Charles also asked about setting the color of the underline when it is a tab stop leader. When setting the tab stop, Word doesn't allow you to specify a color in the Tabs dialog box. However, once the tab stop is set, with the leader, you can select the actual tab character in your document and format it to be any color you want. This concept is covered more fully 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 (12720) applies to Microsoft Word 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, and Word in Microsoft 365.

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. ...


Hiding and Unhiding Columns

Want to hide a column so it doesn't appear in the worksheet? It's easy to do using the formatting capabilities of Excel.

Discover More

Changing Section Headers

Add subtotals to a worksheet and you can instruct Excel to start each new subtotal section on a new printed page. You may ...

Discover More

Navigating Your Document Using Outline View

When you need to get around a long document, a really helpful method is to use the Outline view built into Word. This tip ...

Discover More

Comprehensive VBA Guide Visual Basic for Applications (VBA) is the language used for writing macros in all Office programs. This complete guide shows both professionals and novices how to master VBA in order to customize the entire Office suite for their needs. Check out Mastering VBA for Office 2010 today!

More WordTips (ribbon)

Making Text Bold

Want a cool shortcut to make your text bold? Here's a method that fits in wonderfully with how things are done in the ...

Discover More

Resetting Default Character Formatting

If you need to remove any explicit character formatting from some text, you'll want to commit the shortcut in this tip to ...

Discover More

Underlining Quoted Text

Do you have a document in which you need to convert all the quoted text (text surrounded by quotes) to underlined text? ...

Discover More

FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in WordTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

View most recent newsletter.


If you would like to add an image to your comment (not an avatar, but an image to help in making the point of your comment), include the characters [{fig}] (all 7 characters, in the sequence shown) in your comment text. You’ll be prompted to upload your image when you submit the comment. Maximum image size is 6Mpixels. Images larger than 600px wide or 1000px tall will be reduced. Up to three images may be included in a comment. All images are subject to review. Commenting privileges may be curtailed if inappropriate images are posted.

What is three more than 1?

2021-12-26 09:39:25

Roger Severson

Speaking of color management, I have a related question. When I search and replace a single character such as a comma or a period, it is very difficult to see the gray highlight of the found character. Does Word 2019 offer a way to change the gray highlight to a more conspicuous color? Thanks. PS: Thanks for your great Christmas message Allen.

This Site

Got a version of Word that uses the ribbon interface (Word 2007 or later)? This site is for you! If you use an earlier version of Word, visit our WordTips site focusing on the menu interface.


FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in WordTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

(Your e-mail address is not shared with anyone, ever.)

View the most recent newsletter.