Apply Borders to your MS Word Tables


Once you have created a table in your document, you may want to spiff it up a bit by changing the borders. Luckily it is not all that difficult to do in Word and there are several methods you can use to accomplish this:

  • Select your table or put your cursor in your table to display the Design tab on your Ribbon. In the Design tab, look in the Table Styles group to find the Borders tool.
  • With the Design tab displayed, in the Layout tab, in the Table group, click on the View Gridlines command to display the Table Properties Layout dialog box. You will find a Borders and Shading button in the dialog box.
  • On the Home tab of your Ribbon, in the Paragraph group, there is a Borders control that will work well with your table.
  • If you right-click in your table, there is a Borders and Shading option on the context menu.
  • In the Table Tools Design tab, in the Draw Borders group, you can use the Draw table and Eraser controls.

Clicking on the arrow of the various Borders tools will drop down a list of methods to apply border lines to your whole table and individual cells as well

If borders are applied to the table cell in which your cursor rests, the Borders control will be highlighted as it is with gridlines.

Interestingly enough, if your current cell does not have a border applied, but there are borders applied to any cell in your table, at least one of the lines in your table in the Borders control will be highlighted.

You will notice that at the very bottom of the Borders drop-down list there are options to display the Borders and Shading dialog box and to toggle View Gridline.

The Draw Table and Eraser tools are great for adding and removing one or two lines at specific locations in your table. The Draw Borders group can be found on the Design tab and it is the last one. It has controls to set line thickness, color and style.


Clicking the Draw Table tool will convert your cursor to a pencil. Thereafter, clicking on any line in your table makes the line the color, style and thickness selected in the tool.

Clicking and dragging between any two lines in your table cell will split the cells along those lines.

Use the Esc key to cancel the drawing mode.

Clicking on the Eraser tool changes your cursor into an eraser that will delete any cell lines that it touches. The Esc key will cancel the eraser mode.

Regardless of which method you select to create your borders, there are myriad ways in which you can accomplish the task.  Try then all and then make your decision on what will best suit your needs.


About the Author

Carol Bratt

Carol holds A+, MCP, and MOS computer certifications and is the resident DCT Office expert. She trains the staffs of small law firms in the use of Microsoft Office applications and has authored many books covering Microsoft Office as well as written articles for Infopackets, TechnoLawyer, and Digital Harbor. For more Microsoft Office tips visit Carol's Corner Office or follow Carol on FaceBook and Twitter.