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Borders on Multiple Paragraphs with Differing Indents

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: Borders on Multiple Paragraphs with Differing Indents.

Dirk knows how to add borders around paragraphs, but when paragraphs contain indents (such as with a bulleted list), then the border is also indented which is not good looking at all. Dirk wonders how he can avoid this border indenting and keep his bulleted lists indented.

There are a few ways you can go about solving this problem. Unfortunately, none of those methods include adjusting paragraph or border formatting. (That would be too simple.) If you adjust the paragraph indent of the problem paragraphs—which does cause the border to be correct—it ends up moving your bullets all the way to the left margin. If you adjust the border formatting so that the left-border distance from the text is set to a larger or smaller value, it adjusts for all the paragraphs that are bordered, not just the paragraphs with the bulleted lists.

The only satisfactory method we've been able to come up with involves placing the paragraphs that you wanted bordered within a table cell, a text box, or a frame. Of the three, the frame approach is perhaps the best because the borders on the four sides of the frame can be independently formatted and (more importantly) the frame is treated as part of the actual text, not placed on separate layers as is a table and a text box. One drawback to using a frame is that it can't break across pages, but this may not be that big of a deal for short selections of text.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (12034) 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: Borders on Multiple Paragraphs with Differing Indents.

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