Adding a border around text in Word can help draw attention to important content or make sections stand out visually. Whether you want to highlight a heading, emphasize a key quote, or decorate titles and subtitles, borders are an easy way to make text pop on the page.
In this comprehensive guide, you’ll learn several methods for adding borders around text in Word on Windows and Mac.
Tools for Adding Borders in Word
Word provides multiple built-in tools for adding borders around text:
- Paragraph borders – Thin lines that wrap around a paragraph. Best for short selections.
- Text boxes – Container objects with customizable borders that can house text. Good for callouts.
- Shapes – Graphical objects like rectangles can also contain text. More formatting options than text boxes.
You can access these tools through the tabs on Word’s Ribbon interface:
- Home tab – Contains basic text and paragraph formatting options.
- Insert tab – Where you’ll find tools to insert text boxes, shapes, images, charts, etc.
In the next sections, we’ll cover how to use each of these tools to border text in a Word document.
Add a Paragraph Border
Adding a border around an entire paragraph is quick and easy:
- Select the paragraph you want to border.
- On the Home tab, locate the Borders button (next to Shading).
- Click the arrow below the button to view the border menu. Border button menu in Word
- Choose a border style, like Box or Shadow, to surround the paragraph.
That’s all there is to it! The border will wrap around the paragraph text on all sides.
You can customize the border further through the Borders and Shading dialog box:
- On the border menu, click Borders and Shading at the bottom.
- In the dialog box, adjust the border Style, Color, and Width.
- Click OK to apply changes.
Add a Border to Specific Text
To add a border around a few words or a sentence (rather than a full paragraph):
- Highlight the text you want to border.
- Follow the same steps to access the border menu and tools.
- Make sure Text is selected in the Apply to field of the Borders and Shading dialog box.
This will wrap the border tightly around the selected words.
Tip: You can also double-click the border to open the Format Text Effects pane and customize it further.
Use a Text Box for Borders
Text boxes offer more layout flexibility for applying borders:
- On the Insert tab, click Text Box and drag to draw it on the page. Insert text box
- Type or paste text into the box.
- Resize the box as needed by dragging its handles.
- With the box selected, use the Text Box Tools Format tab to add and customize a border:
- Click Shape Outline > Weight to set border thickness.
- Click Shape Outline > Dashes to create a dashed or dotted line.
- Click Shape Fill > No Fill to make the background transparent.
Text boxes keep the text together as a unit for easy positioning on the page.
Add a Border Shape
You can also place text inside a shape like a rectangle or rounded rectangle:
- On the Insert tab, select your desired shape from the Shapes menu.
- Draw the shape on the page by dragging.
- Type text into the shape or copy/paste text inside it.
- Use the Shape Format tab to add and customize borders, fills, and effects.
The main advantage of shapes over text boxes is that they offer more built-in styles and effects to choose from.
Don’t like a border you’ve added? Removing borders is simple:
- Select the bordered content.
- On the Home or Shape Format tab, open the border menu.
- Choose No Border to remove completely.
Or open the Borders and Shading dialog box to change specific attributes.
Border Tips and Ideas
Here are some creative ways you can use borders to make your Word documents stand out:
- Highlight key quotes with a double border for emphasis
- Use colored borders around titles or subtitles to coordinate with your design
- Add themed borders like stars, flowers, or animals using the Art menu
- Give sections soft shadow borders to make them visually distinct
- Use dashed borders around examples, warnings, notes, etc. as visual labels
- Put text in a shape with a thick border but no fill to frame it (like a polaroid photo)
So next time you want to make important text stand out, give borders a try!
Frequently Asked Questions
How do I put different borders around multiple paragraphs?
To add different border styles to different paragraphs in Word:
- Select the first paragraph and add borders using the steps above.
- Customize the border style as desired.
- Select the next paragraph. Open the Borders menu and choose a different style.
- Repeat Step 3 for any other paragraphs, selecting unique borders for each.
Can I create a border around an image?
Yes, you can add borders around images using the same Shape tools. Simply select the image, then use the Format tab to add and customize picture borders.
How do I create a border on only one side of text?
Rather than fully surrounding text, you can add borders to just the top, bottom, left, or right too:
- Select the Border menu > Borders and Shading.
- In the dialog box, click the sides you want to border under Setting.
- Customize options like style, color, and width.
- Click OK.
This will add a border to only the chosen sides of the text.
Can I save custom border styles to reuse later?
Definitely! Once you create a border look you want to keep, you can add it to Word’s styles gallery:
- Right-click on the bordered text and choose Styles > Save Selection as a New Quick Style.
- Give your border style a name and click Save.
You can then apply that saved style to add the border to any text with just a click!