How to Apply a Border to a Section of Your Word Doc

Add a professional touch by setting off a block of text

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When you design a document in Microsoft Word, you can apply a border to an entire page or to a smaller section of text. The software makes it possible for you to choose a simple or more complex border style, as well as a custom color and size. This capability can help you make certain sections of your document stand out.

This article applies to Word 2019, Word 2016, Word 2013, Word 2010, Word 2019 for Mac, Word 2016 for Mac, Word for Office 365, and Word for Office 365 for Mac. 

Apply a Border to a Section of Text

Here's how to apply a border to a section of a Word doc.

  1. Highlight the portion of the document you want to surround with a border, such as a block of text.

    Microsoft Word document with one paragraph of text highlighted
  2. On the ribbon, select Home. In the Paragraph group, select Borders.

    Microsoft Word with Borders menu selected
  3. In the drop-down menu, select Borders and Shading.

    Microsoft Word with Borders and Shading option selected on Borders menu
  4. In the Borders and Shading dialog box, select the Borders tab.

    Microsoft Word with Borders and Shading dialog box displayed
  5. In the Style box, scroll through and choose a style you like. In the Color box, use the drop-down menu to choose a color you like. In the Width box, select a width for your border.

    Microsoft Word with Borders and Shading dialog box displayed
  6. In the Preview area, select sides of the box to apply the border to those sides of the selected text. Alternatively, select from a preset in the Settings section. To fine-tune the border, select Options and make your selections in the Border and Shading Options dialog box. In the Preview section, from the drop-down menu select Paragraph (or Text if you've only highlighted part of a paragraph). Select OK.

    Microsoft Word with Borders and Shading dialog box displayed
  7. The border surrounds the text you initially selected.

    Microsoft Word with paragraph border applied

Apply a Border to a Whole Page of Text

Here are the steps for applying a border to a whole Word document page. The process is different from the one above in that there should be no existing text when you start. Instead, you'll create the border and insert the text later.

  1. Start with a new Word document. On the ribbon, select Insert.

    Microsoft Word with new document displayed
  2. In the Text group, select Text Box. From the drop-down menu, select Draw Text Box.

    Microsoft Word with Text Box drop-down menu displayed
  3. Your cursor becomes a drawing tool. Draw a text box the size you want on the page, leaving margins. The Shape Format tab appears on the ribbon. In the Shape Styles group, select Shape Outline.

    Microsoft Word with a text box drawn
  4. From the drop-down menu, select Shape > More Lines. The Format Shape dialog box appears.

    Microsoft Word with Shape Outline menu displayed
  5. Similar to the instructions above, use the controls to choose how you want your border to look. When you're satisfied with your border, in the upper-right corner of the dialog box, select X.

    Microsoft Word with border applied to a whole page
  6. Now you can place your cursor within the text box and write your text.

    Microsoft Word with text and border applied to one page

Apply a Border to a Table

You can also add a border to table cells or to an entire table.

  1. Within your table, highlight the cells you want to add a border to.

    Microsoft Word table with cells highlighted
  2. On the ribbon, select Table Design. In the Borders group, select Borders > Borders and Shading.

    Microsoft Word with Borders menu displayed
  3. As in the processes above, use the Borders and Shading dialog box to make your border selections. Select OK.

    Microsoft Word with Borders and Shading dialog box displayed
  4. The border appears around the cells you highlighted.

    Microsoft Word with table cell borders applied