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Adding Borders to Paragraphs

Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Word versions: 97, 2000, 2002, and 2003. If you are using a later version (Word 2007 or later), this tip may not work for you. For a version of this tip written specifically for later versions of Word, click here: Adding Borders to Paragraphs.

Unlike some word processors, Word allows you to quickly and easily add different types of borders to your paragraphs. You can add borders to any or all sides of a paragraph, or you can create a drop-shadow effect. (Drop shadows cause your boxed paragraphs to "stand off" the page, providing almost a three-dimensional appearance.) To add borders to your paragraph, follow these steps:

  1. Position the insertion point in the paragraph to which you want the border added.
  2. Select the Borders and Shading option from the Format menu. You will see the Borders and Shading dialog box.
  3. Make sure the Borders tab is selected. (See Figure 1.)
  4. Figure 1. The Borders tab of the Borders and Shading dialog box.

  5. For a regular boxed appearance around your paragraph, select the Box option from the Setting area.
  6. To use a drop-shadow box, select the Shadow option from the Setting area.
  7. Word includes a 3-D box that you can use by selecting the 3-D option from the Setting area.
  8. If you want a custom border, select the Custom option from the Setting area. Then, you can control the border by clicking on the line buttons located in the Preview box.
  9. Select a line type from the Style list.
  10. To adjust the distance the borders of the box will be from the paragraph text, click on the Options button to set the From Text options. (See Figure 2.)
  11. Figure 2. The Border and Shading Options dialog box.

  12. Change any of the From Text distances, clicking OK when done.
  13. Click on OK to close the Borders and Shading dialog box.

You can quickly remove a paragraph border by selecting None in the Borders and Shading dialog box.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (164) applies to Microsoft Word 97, 2000, 2002, and 2003. You can find a version of this tip for the ribbon interface of Word (Word 2007 and later) here: Adding Borders to Paragraphs.

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Comments for this tip:

Annoyed    16 Sep 2016, 15:26
Why hasn't anyone answered Dennison Berwick's question?

It's very rare that the section of text you wish to border is made up of a single Word paragraph, in my documents a single paragraph usually ends up with multiple Word paragraphs i.e. one for a title, one for a subtitle and another if there is a bullet point list or indentation
Judy     29 Aug 2016, 19:31
I have only one place in my document where the border is longer than any other place in the document. Is there a way to fix this?

Thank you for your help in advance.
Dennison Berwick    12 Feb 2016, 20:42
Thanks for the post, unfortunately it does not explain how to add "borders to paragraphs" - only one border to one paragraph.

As I'm sure you know, if you select multiple paragraphs and try to put a border around them, Word puts a border around each paragraph - essentially separating them instead of highlighting them together.

Please expalin how to put a single border around multiple paragraphs (ie. a border around paragraphs).
Allen    10 Dec 2015, 12:27
Stephen: This tip is for users of the older version of Word. For your version, see the link at the start and end of the tip.

Stephen Gray    10 Dec 2015, 11:04
In my Word 2016 the "Format" menu (not labeled as such) is available only if the cursor is inside a table. How do I get to a Format menu otherwise.
George Marione    10 Dec 2015, 04:25
This guy is mad. The borders are horrid! There is no real design to them, and it looks so bland. I expected more!
Andrew    06 Aug 2015, 02:24
Quite disapointing feature...I would expect the borders would be more fancy, there are just nasty simple lines around with few width presets. Shame on Bill !
Asad    07 May 2015, 09:59
LOL!! (i made a mistake)
** Don't consider 2nd Step (Paragraph command) **
Asad    07 May 2015, 09:56
That's so funny!!! LOL!!!
you r right! (but the admin is considering every user a pro. )
Click Format Menu (from top most menus under title bar)
Select Paragraph command
And then follow above given steps!!
Good luck!
Richard    13 Apr 2015, 19:13
It is on the home page in 2013.
Jeanne    06 Apr 2015, 14:38
I'm using 2013.
I am always amazed when someone writes: "Select the Borders and Shading option from the Format menu." but they never tell you where the Format menu is. amazing. no help at all.

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