4 Creative Ways to Insert Horizontal Lines in Microsoft Word

by | Jul 24, 2014

One of my tricks with quite the “wow factor” is inserting artistic lines into my documents. To insert a horizontal line (also called a “horizontal rule”), here are four creative ways to do it.

The “normal” way is to go up to the Borders button in the Paragraph group and choose “Horizontal Line.” If you want fancier lines, try these tricks:


1. Use Auto Format

On a blank line, type these 3 characters in a row and press ENTER. A line appears across the page.

Use Auto Format for Horizontal Lines in Microsoft Word

If you need to remove one, simply Backspace or Delete as normal.


2. Use the Clip Art Gallery

Word’s built-in Clip Art Gallery contains dozens of images that act as lines. Open up INSERT > CLIP ART, and search for LINES. For more choices, when you have an Internet connection, INCLUDE OFFICE.COM CONTENT. (Note: these commands may be different depending on what version of Word you’re using).

Insert any of the images. If it doesn’t extend across the page, use any of the RESIZE HANDLES to make it larger — but keep in mind that these are images, so if your line image is extended longer than its original dimension, it may become fuzzy.

Use any of the features on the PICTURE TOOLS > FORMAT Tab to change the color, shadow, style, and effects of the line image.

To remove a Shape, click on it, then press DELETE on your keyboard.

3. Add Bottom Borders

This technique works best on Headings.

Bottom Borders in Microsoft WordClick in the paragraph of text you want a line under. Click on the HOME Tab > BORDERS button — Bottom Border is usually the default. This places a line across the page, underlining not just the text but the rest of the row, too.

Click on BORDERS AND SHADING, the last option on the drop-down list, to refine the weight and color of this line.

When you press Enter at the end of the paragraph, this border may extend down to the next row, an effect you probably don’t want.

To remove a bottom border, use the CLEAR FORMATTING button on the HOME ribbon, and the border returns to the desired text.

4. Use Shapes

Click on the INSERT RIBBON > SHAPES button. On the drop-down gallery, the second section has a series of lines. Some have arrowheads; others have bends and angles. Pick one.

Click where the line begins, and drag to where the line ends.

To keep the line straight, hold down the SHIFT key while dragging.

Upon letting go, each line has a resize handle at the beginning and end to change the dimension. Lines that have curves and bends also have adjustment diamonds to refine the angles.

Using Shapes to Make Lines in WordUse the DRAWING TOOLS > FORMAT ribbon to stylize the line’s color and special effects.

To remove a Shape, click on it, then press DELETE on your keyboard.


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