Applying a Border to Part of Your Document in Microsoft Word

Add a professional touch with a border around a block of text

Empty white picture frame hanging on red wall

 Aliyev Alexei Sergeevich/Getty Images

When you design a document in Microsoft Word, you can apply a border to an entire page or to only a section of it. The software makes it possible for you to choose a simple border style, color, and size, or a border with a drop shadow or 3D effect. This capability is particularly handy if you're working on newsletters or marketing documents. The procedure is quite simple:

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

  2. Click the Format tab on the menu bar, and select Borders and Shading.

  3. On the Borders tab, select a line style in the Style section. Scroll through the options and select one of the line styles.

  4. Use the Color drop-down box to specify the border line color. Click the More Colors button at the bottom of the list for a greater range of options. You can also create a custom color in this section.

  5. After you've selected a color and closed the Color dialog box, select a line weight in the Width drop-down box.

  6. Click in the Preview area to apply the border to specific sides of the selected text or paragraph, or select from a preset in the Settings section.

  7. To specify the distance between the text and border, click the Options button. In the Borders and Shading Options dialog box, you can set a spacing option for each side of the border.

  8. Apply the border at the paragraph level by selecting Paragraph in the Preview section of the Borders and Shading Options dialog. The border will enclose the entire selected area with one clean rectangle. If you are adding a border to only some text within a paragraph, choose Text in the Preview section. View the results in the Preview area, and click OK to apply them to the document.

You can also access the Borders and Shading dialog box by clicking Home on the ribbon and selecting the Borders icon.

How to border an entire page

Border an entire page by creating a text box with no text in it:

  1. Click Insert on the ribbon.

  2. Click Text Box.

  3. Select Draw Text Box from the drop-down menu. Draw a text box of the size you want on the page, leaving margins.

  4. Click the empty text box and follow the instructions for applying a border to a selection as shown above. You can also click Home on the ribbon and select the Borders icon to open the Borders and Shading dialog box, where you can make the border formatting choices.

  5. After you apply a border to the full page box, click Layout and the Send Backward icon to send the border to the back of the document layers so it doesn't obstruct other elements of the document.

Adding a border to a table in Word

When you know how to use borders in your Word documents, you're ready to add borders to selected portions of a table.

  1. Open a Word document.

  2. Choose Insert on the menu bar and select Table.

  3. Enter the number of columns and rows you want in the table and click OK to place the table in your document. 

  4. Click and drag your cursor over the cells you want to add a border to.

  5. In the Table Design tab that opens automatically, select the Borders icon.

  6. Select a border style, size, and color.

  7. Use the Borders drop-down menu to select one of the many options or the Border Painter to draw on the table to illustrate the cells to which you want to add a border.