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 February 9, 2021)

3

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

Copying a Worksheet

Need to make a copy of one of your worksheets? Excel provides a few different ways you can accomplish the task.

Discover More

Creating a Calendar Tool

Word has no way to add a calendar to your document that can be used for inserting dates, but you can add a calendar tool ...

Discover More

Consolidating Changes under a Single User

When using Track Changes, you may want to have your edits appear to be those of a different user. Here's how to fool Word ...

Discover More

Create Custom Apps with VBA! Discover how to extend the capabilities of Office 2013 (Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, and Access) with VBA programming, using it for writing macros, automating Office applications, and creating custom applications. Check out Mastering VBA for Office 2013 today!

More WordTips (menu)

Cannot Set Heading Rows in a Table

Word allows you to specify which rows in a table should be considered headings. What if setting the headings doesn't work ...

Discover More

Erroneous Table Math

Depending on the type of data you have in your table, the SUM(ABOVE) function might return incorrect results. Here's an ...

Discover More

Jumping to Tables

If your document contains quite a few tables, you may find it helpful to jump quickly from one table to another. There ...

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. Maximum image size is 6Mpixels. 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 five less than 9?

2020-05-15 20:21:35

julius

Hello,

it´s posible to SHOW Table Gridlines by Default - by group policy and/or registry key??
We want to provide this setting to a big customer who is requesting this option.

Thanks in advance!

KR Julius


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.