Mysterious Blue Line between Paragraphs

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated April 18, 2020)

1

In the middle of a document, Word started inserting a blue line across the page between some (but not all) of Fred's paragraphs. He can grab the line with the mouse, like a line in a table, but he can't really move it. The line, however, prints. Fred wonders what causes the line and how to get rid of it.

It sounds like this blue line is actually a paragraph border. With the default formatting configuration in Word, these can be automatically (and, often, mistakenly) added to a document in many different ways. To get rid of the borders, follow these general steps:

  1. Put the insertion point within the paragraph that seems to have the extraneous blue line above it.
  2. Display the Home tab of the ribbon.
  3. Click the down-arrow at the right of the Borders tool. Word displays a long list of options.
  4. Click the last option: Borders and Shading. Word displays the Borders and Shading dialog box.
  5. Make sure the Borders tab is selected. (See Figure 1.)
  6. Figure 1. The Borders and Shading dialog box.

  7. Note the preview area at the right side of the dialog box; it will show if a border is turned on for the paragraph in which the insertion pointer is located.
  8. To remove the paragraph border, click the None setting at the left of the dialog box.
  9. Click OK.

That should get rid of the border. If it doesn't, then you may want to move the insertion point into the paragraph immediately above the blue line and repeat steps 2 through 8. The reason you should do this is that the blue line, appearing between paragraphs could be either below or above the paragraphs above and below it.

Of course, getting rid of the border on one paragraph may have the effect of causing the blue line to "jump" to another paragraph. The reason that this may happen is that Word can suppress borders for some paragraphs when the surrounding paragraphs have the same border turned on. If this happens, just keep playing "whack a mole" with the borders on each paragraph, following the above steps.

If you tire of playing "whack a mole," you could try selecting all the paragraphs in your document (press Ctrl+A) and then pressing Ctrl+Q. This removes any paragraph formatting from the selected paragraphs—including borders—and reverts the formatting to whatever is specified in the underlying styles. This approach is typically most satisfying when you are using styles for your formatting and none of those styles use paragraph borders. If you used explicit formatting for the paragraphs in your document, then pressing Ctrl+Q removes that explicit formatting, which could be quite frustrating.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (12846) applies to Microsoft Word 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, and Word in Office 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. ...

MORE FROM ALLEN

Determining the Template Attached to a Document

If you've opened a document in Word, that document has a template attached to it. This tip looks at what those templates ...

Discover More

Controlling Chart Gridlines

Gridlines are often added to charts to help improve the readability of the chart itself. Here's how you can control ...

Discover More

Finding Positions of Formatted Characters in a Cell

With a little bit of work, Excel allows you to format individual characters of the text you place in a cell. If you want ...

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)

Eliminating "Before Spacing" at the Top of a Page

When formatting paragraphs in Word, you have several options to adjust the spacing before, within, and at the end of each ...

Discover More

Indenting a Paragraph to the Next Tab Stop

Need to indent an entire paragraph from the left margin? It's easy to do using the tool described in this tip, easily ...

Discover More

Getting Rid of Choppiness in Justified Text

Justified text doesn't always produce the best-looking results. Here's how to avoid some of the choppiness that can occur.

Discover More
Subscribe

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

View most recent newsletter.

Comments

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}] 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 four less than 5?

2020-07-09 12:15:04

Eduardo Diaz

Hi, in my computer I see the text like in Tables, but I didn´t insert any table and all the time I select mode Printing Design to see.

When I send to others, they see without this table lines.

I don´t know how to unselect this mode.

The picture shows how I see. (see Figure 1 below)

Figure 1. 


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.

Newest Tips
Subscribe

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.