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 Gridlines.
by Allen Wyatt
(last updated June 23, 2018)
You may not realize it when you first insert a table, but most versions of Word include non-printing gridlines around the table. You can't normally see the gridlines because they are obscured by the border that Word formats tables with by default. The purpose of gridlines is to mark the boundaries of the table and each cell in the table when you have the table formatted for no border. (See Figure 1.)
Figure 1. Gridlines are normally obscured by the table borders.
The gridlines are turned on by default. You, of course, have complete control over whether gridlines are displayed or not. Turning gridlines on and off is easy: Choose Hide Gridlines from the Table menu. If a checkmark appears next to the option, then gridlines are turned on. Select the option a second time so that the checkmark disappears, and the gridlines are turned off.
The gridlines setting is not set on a per-table basis. In other words, if you turn the gridlines off anywhere in a document (in or out of a table), it is turned off throughout the entire document.
WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (3411) 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 Gridlines.
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