How to Insert Lines in Word

Use these three methods to quickly insert a line in your document

Breaking up sections of a document by typing individual characters to form a line is time-consuming and may not achieve the proper formatting effect. Instead of using the keyboard to draw lines, here are three ways to insert different styles of horizontal lines in Microsoft Word.

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

Person looking at a computer monitor with several styles of horizontal lines on it
Lifewire / Derek Abella

Use AutoFormat to Insert a Line in Word

To quickly insert a line into a Word document with the AutoFormat feature, type a few characters to instantly create the different types of lines.

To create a line, place the cursor in the location that you'd like to insert a line, type the three characters for the desired line style, then press Enter. For example, to draw a dotted line, type *** (press Shift+8 to type an asterisk) and press Enter.

To create the different types of lines, press the associated keys on the keyboard:

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

Here's what each of these line types looks like in Word:

Screenshot of lines in Word using AutoFormat

Use the Horizontal Line Tool to Insert a Line in Word

To insert a line into a Word document using the built-in Horizontal Line tool:

  1. Place the cursor where you want to insert a line.

  2. Go to the Home tab.

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

    Home tab in Word for Windows
  3. In the Paragraph group, select the Borders drop-down arrow and choose Horizontal Line.

    Borders button and Horizontal Line button in Word for Windows
  4. To change the look of the line, double-click the line in the document.

  5. In the Format Horizontal Line dialog box, modify the width, height, color, and alignment of the line.

    Format Horizontal Line dialog in Word for Windows
  6. To move a line, drag the line to another location.

  7. To resize a line, select the line, then drag a sizing handle.

Use the Shapes Menu to Insert a Line in Word

A third way to add a line to a Word document is to draw it on the page. The Shapes menu contains several line options, including lines with arrow points on one or both ends. After you draw the line, customize the color and appearance.

  1. Place the cursor in the spot where you want to insert a line.

  2. Go to the Insert tab.

    Word with the Insert heading highlighted
  3. In the Illustrations group, select the Shapes drop-down arrow.

    Microsoft Word with the Shapes menu highlighted
  4. In the Lines group, choose a line shape.

    Word's Shapes menu with the Lines section highlighted
  5. In the Word document, drag across the location where you want the line to appear.

    Screenshot of line drawn on Word document
  6. To change the look of the line, select the line to enable the Shape Format tab.

    Screenshot of Shape Format tab
  7. Go to the Shape Format tab and change the color, use a different line style, or apply effects.