How to Insert a Line in Word

Lines are a design element that can guide the flow of the text or separate words in a document. Making lines in Microsoft Word can help improve readability and convenience for readers. This article discusses how to make horizontal and vertical lines using various tools on MS Word.

Using the Shapes Menu

The Shapes menu contains several line options, including lines with arrow points on one or both ends. After you draw the line, you can customize the color and appearance.

  1. Navigate to the Insert tab.
  2. In the “Illustrations” group, select Shapes.

    Insert>shapes
    Click on the Insert tab and select Shapes
  3. A drop-down menu appears. In the lines group, choose a line type.

    Lines group
    Choose a line type in the Lines group
  4. The selected line will appear in your document. Drag it to the position where you want it to appear.

    Line in word
    Drag the line to the position you want it to appear
  5. To change the line’s appearance, double-click to select the line to enable the Shape Format tab. You can now customize the color and appearance of the line.

    Shape Format tab
    Use the Shape Format tab to customize the line.

Using the Autoformat feature (keyboard shortcut)

This is the quickest way to insert a horizontal line in MS Word. It works by typing specific characters three times and then pressing Enter to turn the characters into a horizontal line: You can get six variations of the standard horizontal line.

  • Plain single line with three hyphens (—)
  • The broken or dotted line with three asterisks (***)
  • Plain double line with three equal signs (===)
  • Bold single line with three underline symbols (___)
  • Triple line with a thick center with Three number signs (###)
  • Wavy line with three tildes (~~~)

The lines will appear as shown below:

Autoformatted lines in Word
Autoformatted lines in Word.

Using the Borders Button

The Borders button can also be used to insert a line in Microsoft Word. Follow these steps:

  1. Select or highlight the paragraph where you want the line to appear.

    Highlight the Paragraph
    Highlight the Paragraph where you want the line to appear.
  2. Click on the Borders icon on the Home tab. This places a line underneath your selected paragraph.
    Note: The default border is the bottom horizontal line.

    Click on the borders Icon
    Click on the borders Icon to insert a line at the bottom of the selected section.
  3. Select the arrow on the Borders button to access the drop-down menu and change the line to another position or orientation.

    Border line options
    Use the drop-down menu for more border line options.
  4. You can select Borders and Shading at the bottom of the menu to make a dialog box appear. This is where you can change the color, width, height, or style of the lines.

    Borders and Shading
    Select Borders and Shading to customize your border lines.

Creating columns separated by a line

This method is important when inserting columns to separate text in a document.

  1. Highlight the paragraph where you want the line to appear.
  2. Click on the  Layout tab at the top of the screen and select Columns from the Page Setup section.

    Click on the Layout tab then select Columns
    Click on the Layout tab, then select Columns from the Page Setup group.
  3. On the drop-down menu that appears, click on More Columns.

    Click on More columns
    On the drop-down menu, click on More Columns.
  4. The “Columns” window will appear. Select the number of columns you want to add and tick the Line between checkbox.

    Select the number of columns
    Select the number of columns, then tick on the Line between checkbox.
  5. Click OK to save your changes.
  6. The selected text will now be in the chosen number of columns with a line in between!

    Line between the columns
    Line between the columns.

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  1. You can also set a “bar” tab stop, either via the Tabs dialog or by clicking through the marker icons at the left side of the horizontal ruler to get the | symbol, then clicking where you want the vertical line. The line will display at that position in each line of all paragraphs with the bar tab set.

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