Adding a Border around Multiple Paragraphs

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated October 17, 2015)

3

Marc is trying to put a border around some text in his document. The text consists of multiple paragraphs, including a lead-in paragraph followed by a bulleted list. Marc doesn't get a nice, simple border around the text, though. It appears that the border is "broken" whenever he changes the indent on the bulleted list paragraphs. Marc wonders if there is a way to simply border all the paragraphs in the text selection.

The reason that this happens is that the borders you add to a paragraph are always added relative to the paragraph margins. (You can see this if you select a paragraph, display the Borders and Shading dialog box, and then click on Options.) When you change the margins for a paragraph—as is done if you have a bulleted or numbered list—then the position of the border on those paragraphs will be different than it is for the surrounding paragraphs.

The best way to handle this situation is to create some sort of object that can possess a border (such as a single-cell table, a text box, a frame, or a shape) and then place the text inside that object. You can easily adjust the position of the object so that the text aligns properly relative to other text in the document. Then you can format the object so that it has the type of border you desire.

The only drawback to this approach is that the text within the object is limited in some respects. For instance, you can't add footnotes or endnotes to the text, nor can the text be referenced by comments. As you are deciding upon the type of object to use, you'll want to pay attention to your page layout, as not all objects flow smoothly when it comes to spanning page breaks. If you think your text might span a page break, you'll want to consider using either the single-cell table approach or use two linked text boxes.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (13404) applies to Microsoft Word 2007, 2010, and 2013.

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 5 + 2?

2015-10-19 09:40:16

Philip Ulanowsky

It is possible to create a paragraph style that includes a border, so that one can create a regular paragraph style and a bulleted one with eh same border, which will not break. Custom indents are required to align with non0bordered text above and below.
Some extra steps, however, are required for a second level of bulleting.


2015-10-19 09:38:08

Jennifer Thomas

In many cases, you can use a line break (a.k.a. soft return) to keep on paragraph border around multiple lines.

If not, I use @Nick Shears' text box trick, but the addition of sending the text box to back and locking the anchor.

Anchor lock takes a few clicks to get to, natively, but this macro is handy if you use shapes/objects a lot -- add it to your toolbar/ribbon to toggle locks on & off:

Sub ToggleShapeAnchor()
If Selection.Type = wdSelectionShape Then
For Each Shape In Selection.ShapeRange
Shape.LockAnchor = Not Shape.LockAnchor
Next
End If
End Sub


2015-10-18 20:29:36

Nick Shears

Here's what I usually do:
1. Add a text box, sized to surround the text neatly.
2. Set its transparency to 100%.
3. Anchor it to the first line it's bordering.

If the amount or size of text before the "border" increases or decreases, the border moves with its text.

But of course if I edit the bordered text text itself, I may need to adjust the size of the text box accordingly.


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