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Underlining seems like a simple enough task in Microsoft Word, but many times there’s more involved. You can underline words, spaces, words with spaces, and words without spaces. We’ll show you several ways to use underline in Word.

Many people reserve underlining for web links while others find it a good way to emphasize text in a document. Along with the options for underlining words and spaces, you can format it as a double, bold, or dotted line and remove an underline you’ve added. Let’s walk through it all!

Underline Words With Spaces

The most uncomplicated way to underline in Word is words with spaces. You may have a phrase, sentence, or paragraph you want to underline.

Select the text and then apply the underline one of these ways:

  • Click the Underline button in the Font section of the Home tab.
  • Press Ctrl+U on Windows or Control+U on Mac.

Text underlined with spaces in Word

Underline Words Without Spaces

Underlining words without spaces takes a little more work, especially for sentences and paragraphs. You can select each word, one at a time, and then apply the underline as described above using the Underline button or keyboard shortcut. But there’s a faster way!

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Select the text you want to underline, including the spaces. Right-click and pick “Font.”

Font in the context menu

In the Underline Style drop-down box, choose “Words Only.” You can see a preview at the bottom of the dialog box confirming that only the words are underlined and not the spaces. Then, click “OK.”

Word Only for the Underline Style

You should have your phrase, sentence, or paragraph with underlines only below the words.

Word underlined without spaces in Word

Underline Only Spaces

Maybe you’re creating a document such as a printable form where you want to underline spaces to make a blank line. You’d think that inserting several spaces and applying the underline to them would be the way to go. Unfortunately, it doesn’t work. Here are two ways to underline spaces.

RELATED: How to Overline Text in Word

Method One: Use Tab Stops

You can use the default tab stops in Word which are 0.5 inches with each press of the Tab key. If you prefer, you can set up your own tab stops.

Press the Tab key the number of times necessary to cover the length you need. Then, select all of the tab stops you just inserted by dragging your cursor through them.

Selected tab stops

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Click the Underline button in the ribbon or use a keyboard shortcut. You’ll then see your line, or underlined spaces.

Underlined tab stops

Method Two: Use a Table

Another way to create underlined spaces is by inserting a table and adjusting the borders. Go to the Insert tab and select the Table drop-down arrow. Choose the first square which is the one-by-one table.

One by one table size

When the table appears, it should stretch the width of your document. If not, drag the right side so that it does. Right-click and choose “Table Properties.”

Table Properties in the context menu

Click “Borders and Shading” at the bottom of the Table tab.

Borders and Shading on the Table tab

On the right side of the dialog box, click to remove the top and side borders, leaving only the bottom border. Click “OK” to apply the change.

Borders removed from the table

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You’ll then have a single line as your “underlined spaces.”

Underlined spaces using a table

Change the Underline Format

You have a few different ways to change the format for your underline. You can pick a double underline, a bolder line, or a dotted line in a variety of styles. And you can change the line before or after you apply the underline to your text or spaces.

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

To change the line style at the time you apply the underline, select the text you want to underline. If you’ve already applied the underline, select all of the underlined text. Then, do one of the following.

Click the arrow next to the Underline button in the Font section of the Home tab. Select the line style you want to use.

Underline button styles

Right-click the selected text and pick “Font.”Choose the line in the Underline Style drop-down box and click “OK.”

Underline Styles in the Font box

If you used the table method above to underline spaces, select the table and head back to Table Properties > Borders and Shading. Then, use the options in the Style drop-down box.

Border Styles for a table

How to Remove an Underline

Removing an underline is as easy. Select the underlined text and click the Underline button in the Font section on the Home tab. This deselects the Underline button and removes the underline from your text.

Removed underline

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Alternatively, you can use the shortcut Ctrl+U on Windows or Control+U on Mac.

Another way to remove an underline is to select the underlined text, right-click, and choose “Font.” Choose “None” in the Underline Style drop-down box and click “OK.”

None selected in the Font box

If you inserted a table for underlined spaces, you can remove the table by right-clicking it and choosing “Delete Table.”

Delete Table in the context menu

Knowing how to apply, format, and remove underlines in your Word documents is important if that’s your preferred method of emphasizing text. But you can also highlight text or apply a format like bold or italics.

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.
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