How to Insert Lines in Word

User either of these methods to quickly insert a line in your document

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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.

Instructions in this article apply to Word 2019, Word 2016, Word 2013, Word 2010, and Word for Office 365.

Inserting a Line in Word Using AutoFormat

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 below 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 (###)
Screenshot of lines in Word using AutoFormat

Inserting a Line in Word Using the Horizontal Line Tool

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. Select Home, located in the upper left-hand corner.

    By default, the Home tab is selected when you open a new or existing Word document.

    Home tab in Word for Windows
  3. Select the down arrow next to the Borders button in the Paragraph section.

  4. When the drop-down menu appears, select the Horizontal Line option.

    Borders button and Horizontal Line button in Word for Windows
  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.

    Format Horizontal Line dialog in Word for Windows
  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.

Inserting a Line in Word Using the Shapes Menu

A third way to add a line to a Word document is by "drawing" it onto the page using the Shapes menu. There are a few options to choose from, including lines with arrow points on one or both ends, and you can customize the color and appearance after you add a line.

  1. Place your cursor in the spot where you'd like to insert a line.

  2. Select the Insert tab.

  3. Select the Shapes drop-down arrow in the Illustrations group. The Shapes menu will appear.

    Screenshot of Shapes menu in Word
  4. Select the type of line you want to add in the Lines group.

    Screenshot of Lines in Word Shapes menu
  5. Click and drag the line across the Word document to draw it where you want it to appear.

    Screenshot of line drawn on Word document
  6. Click where you want the line to end.

  7. Select the line to enable the Shape Format tab.

    Screenshot of Shape Format tab
  8. Customize the line's appearance by changing the color, style, or applying effects using the options on the Shape Format tab.