How to Insert Lines in Word

Woman typing on a laptop.
Inserting horizontal lines in Word is easy once you know the shortcuts.

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Breaking up sections of a document by typing individual characters to form a line is a time-consuming and potentially error-prone method. Instead of doing that, learn the two ways Microsoft Word has for inserting different styles of horizontal lines.

Inserting a Line Using AutoFormat

Example of AutoFormat making horizontal lines.
AutoFormat makes adding horizontal lines much easier.

The quickest and easiest method for inserting a line into a Word document involves the application's AutoFormat feature, where typing just a few characters instantly creates the type of line that you're interested in. To get started, first place your cursor in the location that you'd like to insert a line.

Next, type three of a particular character and hit the Enter or Return key. Your line will automatically be created in the spot chosen. The following characters can be used to create a line via AutoFormat. Reference the accompanying screenshot to see what each of these line types actually looks like in Word.

  • Plain single line: Three hyphens (---)
  • Plain double line: Three equal signs (===)
  • Broken/dotted line: Three asterisks (***)
  • Bold single line: Three underline symbols (___)
  • Wavy line: Three tildes (~~~)
  • Triple line w/thick center: Three number signs (###)

Inserting a Line Using the Horizontal Line Tool

Use the insert line tool in Word to add horizontal lines.
Use the insert line tool in Word to add horizontal lines.

You can also insert a line into a Word document using the built-in Horizontal Line tool.

  1. Place your cursor in the spot where you'd like to insert a line.
  2. Click on Home, located in the upper left-hand corner.
  3. Locate the Borders button, found in the Paragraph section. Click on the down arrow accompanying this button.
  4. When the drop-down menu appears, select the Horizontal Line option.
  5. A basic horizontal line should now appear in your document. Double-click on the line if you'd like to edit its appearance.
  6. If you chose to double-click, the Format Horizontal Line dialog should now be displayed. From here you can modify the width, height and color of your line as well as adjust its alignment.
  7. You can also resize or move your line by clicking on it once and dragging the entire line to another location or dragging the sizing arrows accordingly.