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 Automatic Lines.

Adding Automatic Lines

Written by Allen Wyatt (last updated April 16, 2022)
This tip applies to Word 97, 2000, 2002, and 2003


Word includes a sometimes-helpful little feature that allows you to add lines in your documents, without removing your fingers from the keyboard. All you need to do is start at the left margin of a new line, type at least three characters, and then press Enter. The result is a line based on the characters you typed. You can use the following characters:

  • Type three dashes and you get a single line.
  • Type thee underlines and you get a bold single line.
  • Type three equal signs and you get a double line.
  • Type three asterisks and you get a heavy dotted line.

You can actually type more than three of each character, if you desire. Word doesn't care that much—the only requirement is that there is at least three of them, and they begin at the left margin. What Word does is to add a border of the specified type to the bottom of the paragraph. If you want to later delete the line, the only way to do so is to remove the paragraph, or choose Borders and Shading from the Format menu.

If you can't automatically add lines on your system, follow these steps:

  1. Choose AutoCorrect (or AutoCorrect Options) from the Tools menu. Word displays the AutoCorrect Options dialog box.
  2. Make sure the AutoFormat As You Type tab is selected. (See Figure 1.)
  3. Figure 1. The AutoFormat As You Type tab of the AutoCorrect Options dialog box.

  4. Make sure the Border Lines (or Borders) check box is checked.
  5. Click on OK.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (622) 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 Automatic Lines.

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. ...

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