Microsoft Word Logo

When you want to enhance the appearance or improve the readability of your document, you might consider adding a line within the text. While inserting a horizontal line in Microsoft Word might be intuitive, adding a vertical line is not.

There are a handful of ways to insert a vertical line in your Word document. The placement of the line may determine which option you use, so let’s look at your options.

Method 1: Insert a Page Border

One quick and easy way to add a vertical line is to use the page border feature. This works well if you want the line to stretch the length of the page and past the margins. With it, you can customize the line for an attractive appearance or keep it simple.

RELATED: How to Create a Page Border in Microsoft Word

Go to the Home tab, click the Borders drop-down arrow, and select “Borders and Shading.”

Select Borders and Shading

In the window that appears, pick the Page Border tab at the top. Then, use the Preview tools on the right to add the vertical line on the left, right, or both sides of the page. On the bottom right, you can use the Apply To drop-down box to choose if you want the line throughout the whole document or a particular section.

Add left or right lines

To customize the line, use the Style, Color, Width, and Art settings in the center of the window. When you finish, click “OK.”

Customize the line

And then you have the final product!

Page border for vertical lines in Word

Method 2: Insert a Paragraph Border

Maybe you only want to apply a vertical line to part of the page like a paragraph. In this case, you can use the border tool to add one on the left, right, or both and keep the line within the top and bottom margins.

RELATED: How to Change Page Margins in Word

If you want to insert the line next to an existing paragraph, select the entire paragraph. If you want to insert the line and then add the text, place your cursor where you want the line to start.

Open the Home tab and click the Borders drop-down arrow. In the top section, you can select Left Border or Right Border. To add them both, select one and then the other.

Select Left Border or Right Border

To customize the vertical lines, choose “Borders and Shading” in the Borders drop-down list. Use the Borders tab and center section to select the Style, Color, and Width settings you want to apply. Confirm that “Paragraph” is selected in the Apply To drop-down box on the bottom right of the window. Click “OK” to apply the changes.

Customize the line

Then, you’ll see your nice and neat paragraph border.

Paragraph border for a vertical line in Word

Method 3: Insert a Bar Tab

If you want the ability to place a vertical line in various paragraph locations rather than just the left or right, you can use the Tabs feature.

Go to the Home tab, click the Line and Paragraph Spacing drop-down arrow, and select “Line Spacing Options.”

Select Line Spacing Options

When the window appears, on the Indents and Spacing tab, click “Tabs” on the bottom left.

Tabs button

Under Alignment, choose “Bar.”

Bar under Alignment

You can then use the Tab Stop Positions section in the window to choose the spots for the tab stops and accompanying vertical lines. Or click “OK” to close the window and use your ruler to set your tab stops.

Tab Stop for a vertical line in Word

Method 4: Insert a Line Shape

Maybe you want complete freedom with where you place your vertical lines. You can use the Shape feature to insert a vertical line, make it as long as you like, move it anywhere you want, and customize its appearance.

RELATED: How to Add a Dotted Line in a Microsoft Word Document

Open the Insert tab, click the Shapes drop-down arrow, and select the Line in the Lines section.

Select Shapes, Line

Use your cursor to draw the line at the length you want. Then, select and drag the line to move it where you like or resize it.

Draw the line

To customize the line, select it and go to the Shape Format tab. You can then use the options in the ribbon to change the style, apply a different color, or add an effect.

Customize the vertical line shape

Method 5: Insert a Line Between Columns

If you have your document arranged in columns, you can insert a vertical line between those columns.

Place your cursor within a column and go to the Layout tab. Click the Columns drop-down arrow and select “More Columns.”

Select More Columns

In the window that appears, check the box for Line Between. Click “OK” to apply the vertical line and close the window.

Select Line Between

You then have a clean line right between your columns.

Vertical line between columns in Word

Whichever method you use to insert a vertical line in Microsoft Word, you can easily add that element you want to improve your document’s appearance or readability.

RELATED: How to Create Newsletter-Style Columns in Word

Profile Photo for Sandy Writtenhouse Sandy Writtenhouse
With her B.S. in Information Technology, Sandy worked for many years in the IT industry as a Project Manager, Department Manager, and PMO Lead. She learned how technology can enrich both professional and personal lives by using the right tools. And, she has shared those suggestions and how-tos on many websites over time. With thousands of articles under her belt, Sandy strives to help others use technology to their advantage.
Read Full Bio »