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: Hiding Table Gridlines, by Default.

Hiding Table Gridlines, by Default

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated March 8, 2014)

2

Ben said that he was having a problem with gridlines. He wanted them to be turned off (invisible) by default, but could not get that to occur. Gridlines in tables are controlled by the Hide/Show Gridlines toggle on the Tables menu. If the option in the menu is Hide Gridlines, then that means gridlines are visible; they are turned on. If the option is Show Gridlines, then that means gridlines are invisible; they are turned off.

In doing some testing, we found that the setting of the gridlines option is persistent from one session of Word to another. In other words, if you click Table | Hide Gridlines, then that setting remains for future sessions with Word, unless you have a macro that resets the option. If you are sure that the gridlines option is, indeed, being reset, then this is the first thing to check.

One thing to check is whether you are possibly confusing gridlines with borders. When you insert a table into a document, Word adds borders to that table by default. Only if you remove the borders can you see the underlying gridlines, provided you didn't click Table | Hide Gridlines. Borders print, but gridlines do not print; they are only visible for reference purposes.

To turn off borders by default, follow these steps:

  1. Create a new, blank document.
  2. Choose Table AutoFormat from the Table menu. Word displays the Table AutoFormat dialog box.
  3. Scroll through the list of available formats and choose Table Normal. The borders on the table shown in the preview area should disappear.
  4. Click Default. Word displays the Default Table Format dialog box.
  5. Click an option in the dialog box, depending on whether you want the change to apply to the current document or to all documents based on the template used to create the document in step 1.
  6. Click OK. Word sets the default as you specified.
  7. Close all the open dialog 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 (293) 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: Hiding Table Gridlines, by Default.

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 a Worksheet's Number

When you add a new worksheet to a workbook, it receives a meaningful name such as "Sheet4" or "Sheet17." If you want to ...

Discover More

Calculating Elapsed Time with Excluded Periods

When using Excel to calculate elapsed time, there can be all sorts of criteria that affect the formulas you would otherwise ...

Discover More

Automatically Update Document Styles Setting

Templates and styles are a great way to apply formatting consistently within and across documents. A couple of the settings ...

Discover More

Do More in Less Time! Are you ready to harness the full power of Word 2013 to create professional documents? In this comprehensive guide you'll learn the skills and techniques for efficiently building the documents you need for your professional and your personal life. Check out Word 2013 In Depth today!

More WordTips (menu)

Formatting an ASCII Table with Spaces

When you get a text file from a program other than Word, tabular information may be formatted with nothing but spaces in ...

Discover More

Setting Consistent Column Widths in Multiple Tables

Tables are great for organizing and presenting information in a document. If you have a document containing multiple tables, ...

Discover More

Placing Text in Empty Table Cells

Tables are often used to organize information into an understandable format. If your company requires that tables in formal ...

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. 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 three more than 8?

2015-09-21 15:33:54

Elise

I couldn't recall how to show the gridlines on a table when the None (border lines) is selected. Now I know that option is in Table Tools - Design - Borders. thanks.


2015-08-11 16:16:11

George

I tried your "borders by default" and it works (Word 2003) Then instead of a new document, I tried it on a document I was working on and it removed the guidlines. Thanks


This Site

Got a version of Word that uses the menu interface (Word 97, Word 2000, Word 2002, or Word 2003)? This site is for you! If you use a later version of Word, visit our WordTips site focusing on the ribbon 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.