How-To Geek

Insert Horizontal Lines In Word Documents Quickly

When you want to quickly insert a horizontal line into your Word document instead of going through the Borders and Shading dialog box in the Ribbon here is a keyboard shortcut to save you time.

In this example I put a simple divider line between two paragraphs in my document.  Just type 3 dashes — and hit ‘Enter’ immediately after.


You can also change the type of horizontal line you are inputting by changing up the characters you use for this short cut.  In the following Word screen shot the green highlighted area shows the various horizontal line breaks possible.  Three asterisks***, three underscores___, three equal signs ===, three pound signs ###, and three tildes ~~~


For more fun features, check out this Microsoft Word Easter egg, or this undocumented Word feature.

Brian Burgess worked in IT for 10 years before pursuing his passion for writing. He's been a tech blogger and journalist for the past seven years, and can be found on his about me page or Google+

  • Published 06/22/07

Comments (107)

  1. Nik

    When I type the ‘—‘ it doesn’t work. It does on other computers, just not this one. I can’t find the option to fix it. I thought it was autocorrect but i dont know. HELP

  2. jon

    how do you remove the horizontal line that was just created?

  3. F.

    @jon: I have the same problem!

  4. me

    To get rid of the line, put the cursor directly above it and select Borders and Shading from the Format menu. Click the None box and click OK. To prevent the automatic insertion of borders, select AutoCorrect Options from the Tools menu, click the AutoFormat As You Type tab, and uncheck Border lines. In Word 97, the menu item is AutoCorrect and the check box is labeled simply Borders.

  5. Promaetheus

    thank you for this GREAT!!!! tipp. word 2007 was horrible for me, but now at least one feature ist perfect!

  6. Rafe

    the horizontal lines in word 2007 are FAR from perfect.

    Now try putting a horizontal line after a bulleted list. It becomes impossible to get the left margin of the line the way it is normally.


  7. Yaarik

    Thanks Thanks Thanks!! I am using Word as my default editor in Outlook and I’ve been to all the F1’s and searched Google and everything.. It simply works. thanks!

  8. rebeeca medina

    This is so AWESOME!!!!! I was trying to create a resume and could not figure out for the life of me how to insert a horizontal line! Then i discovered how to insert it from the borders on top, well that was HORRIBLE!!! If you don’t draw it straight it shows on the document.AAUUGH!!!!! Until I went to google search and FOUND HOPE!!!! THANK U SO MUCH!!!!!!!!!

  9. mysticgeek

    Thank You for the kind review Rebeeca!

  10. Luis

    How do you re-enable it in 2007? I have disabled it and want it back on???

  11. Usman

    How do you shorten the lines?

  12. simon szpiro

    you save my time and I learn an other feature
    thank you

  13. Vineeth

    This is a great comment. Thank you so much. Could anyone similarly tell me how to insert a vertical line?

  14. jd2066

    @Luis: The way to re-enable it is Office Logo Button -> Word Options Button -> Proofing -> AutoCorrect Options Button -> AutoFormat As You Type Tab -> Border lines check box.

  15. colin

    FINALLY! A way to do it without having to fill the whole page width with _’s, just type it 3 times!


  16. Joe

    Great tutorial. Thanks for the fantastic instructions

  17. wayne

    THANK YOU for telling me how to remove those damn horizontal lines

  18. Priyesh

    Thanks a lot….Your help is appreciated.

  19. calico

    I cant get rid of the line. where is the format menu? and what if I only wnat to get rid of one?

  20. Pat

    Every time I save my resume as a “.doc” document, it converts to a “.docx” document when I try to email it. WHY? Can I fix this?

  21. jd2066

    @Pat: How are attempting to email the file?

  22. Pat

    In my Outlook Express, I have the “paper clip” symbol for an attachment. I click on that, find my resume on my browser, highlight it and press “attach.” Somebody just told me yesterday that the appended “x” is simply a symbol showing it’s a Word 2007 document (vs Word 2003). Does that hold any credence? Thanks, jd2066

  23. jd2066

    @Pat: If you do that then it’s already a .docx file when you attach the file. No converting is happening when you attach it.
    If you want to send it as a .doc file then in Word, select the Office Button, Move over Save As and click “Word 97-2003 Document”. Then you save it somewhere and attach it.

  24. christian

    Another way to do a nice graphic horizontal line:

    Click the BOARDERS AND SHADING button, then click HORIZONTAL LINE button. Choose your line and click OK. The default is a nice plain horizontal line.

  25. Grenade01

    zOMG I just spent like half an hour looking for “insert –> horizontal line” like I do on my computer at home. Thanks man. Holy moly that was a waste of time…


    stupid new office

  26. Michael

    These types of lines are hard to get rid of. The only way I’ve found in word 2007 is:
    1. Put the cursor in front of the line.
    2. Click on the Page Layout ribbon.
    3. Click on Page Borders.
    4. Click on the Borders tab.
    5. Select a Setting of None.
    6. Click OK.

  27. dottiedi

    In Word 2007 if you have disabled the line drawing heres what you do to Enable it:

    1 Click on the Office Button and choose Word Options
    2 On the Proofing menu, click the AutoCorrect Options button
    3 On the AutoFormat as you Type tab
    4 Place a check mark on the Border Lines Box.
    5 Press OK.

    It should work now!

  28. ciff1

    jd2066 & Dottiedi: Thank’s so much! Couldn’t find the setting. It would be nice if they told you somewhere that “horizonal line” was now called “Border line.” Thanks for setting me straight. :)

  29. colsar0

    thanks dottiedi & others, agree with cliff1 it would be helpful if there was more of a clue how to do this.

  30. Joey

    Hey, I saw someone ask where “Borders and Shading” was – so, here it goes:

    Under the Home tab, look for PARAGRAPH (Written beneath the Icons) and then just run the cursor over each of the options and one will say “Borders” or “Bottom Border” and then click on it and select “No Border”.

  31. soha

    THANKS, I spent three hours try to get rid of HL , finally I got your comment from google. Really Thanks, They Disappeared .

  32. Larkin

    How do you change the colour of the line?

  33. J

    I get 3 horizontal lines (taking up 3 carriage returns) instead of one and I can’t change it back to one line. (I type in 3 dashes to get a regular thin line) Any ideas?

  34. Mike Loux

    Something I have just found out is that, like a lot of other similar formatting issues (bullets, etc), this trick does NOT work in documents with any Protected (e.g. forms) sections. Works fine on unprotected docs, tho. SO I just leave my border button set to horizontal line and do a quick jump up to the top of the window, click it, and then back. Not perfect (and it’s a different border), but it works. Just a heads-up.

  35. RJ

    RE: the entries about “how do you remove the horizontal line that was just created?”…

    Thanks soooo much for that solution. I pulled my hair out for two days trying to figure out how to get rid of that stupid horizontal line. While some of the features of Word 2007 are great, their help documentation is dreadful! You would think a simple query in the help menu like “remove horizontal line” would yield an answer… but nothing even comes close on the query result.

    While the solution was simple, it was hardly obvious (the fault of Microsoft, not yours).

    Anyway, thanks again for this great solution.


  36. Seth

    yes. finally a way to organize my paragraphs

  37. Richard Scarritt

    At least for Word 2003:

    Alternative A:

    Type three dashes and hit Enter:

    If nothing happens, the feature is disabled; to enable, in Word, go to Tools -> Options -> AutoCorrect Options -> AutoFormat As You Type -> Apply as You Type -> check Border Lines.

    Experiment with three Underscores _, three Asterisks*, three Equal signs=, three Tildes~, etc.


    Alternative B:

    In Word doc, put cursor where you want line to start; click Format -> Borders and Shading -> Page Borders or Borders -> upper horizontal border icon (or experiment with the lower horizontal border icon) -> OK.



    Good luck …


  38. Alex

    How do you get rid of the lines?

  39. Melody

    Thank you!

    To remove line in Word 2007:
    Put cursor above the line and:
    Page Layout tab > Page Background group > Page Borders > Borders tab and click “None”.

    I found it on another site because I didn’t won’t to read all these comment but I hope this helps somebody.

  40. Trish

    Great comments! I apologize if this has already been answered….I’m trying to make a template and want to insert horizontal lines following words such as Name:….., Date…..etc. that do not move when I go back to type information on them….How is this done? I’m totally frustrated with this task!!

  41. JoAnn Robinson

    Thank you – thank you – thank you
    The line is gone (used the Borders/Shading on the Paragraph menu on Home).

  42. Laura

    And your awesome! Thank you!

  43. Jacqui

    For anyone who followed the advice to remove a horizontal line (or border line) and it didn’t work – me too!

    I had success in the end by highlight the paragraphs above and below (I highlighted the whole document in fact) and then went to Border options and clicked “None”. Just placing the cursor at the start of the line did not work using the Border Line removal instructions. Highlight!

  44. Mhel

    Thank you! The information here was extremely helpful. Word 2007 isn’t exactly intuitive, and I was getting quite frustrated with it. My computer thanks you too, as 5 more minutes would have resulted with some cursing and tossing the keyboard out the window!!! lol.

  45. Renae


  46. Nathan

    Hi, thank you so much for showing us how to do this. I was just creating my resume and boy was that annoying. Oh btw have you noticed that the horizontal line doesn’t always line up with other horizontal lines in the document. Any idea on how to fix that?

  47. Katya

    Thank you very much for the solutions on how to remove the importunate line!
    The following helped me in Word 2007:
    Place the cursor above the line, so that the bottom border icon appears at the Home tab (in the Paragraph section).
    Select the No Borders icon from this tab.
    Now the line is successfully removed.

  48. Lafftar

    When i use the equation feature on microsoft word, and i try to print some incomprehensible rubbish comes out what do i do i have to give this to a customer soon(i rhymed there lol)

  49. Alex

    OMG, thank you so much! I kept trying to figure out how to get rid of them and I kept guessing for hours. Thank god for Google, and you guys of course ;)

  50. sridarshan

    i disabled it,how do i re-eanble it?

  51. maan

    thanks for the info :)

  52. AS

    GREAT thanx!!!

  53. Alan

    Thanks, I have been trying to do this for ages.
    Working in Office 2010 beta.

  54. Marlwood Luke

    Your better than my teacher, he didn’t know, but he doesn’t know much about ICT.

  55. Carlo

    I can’t seem to get the line to stretch across the whole page, they stop about a quarter inch from each side. Is there any way to get the lines to go across the whole page?

  56. Arvind

    Thanks a lot for removing my border line….!

  57. DJ

    Thanks alot man… this really works! Appreciate it cuz I’mma computer fien and didn’t know that… now I do! =)

  58. Natalie

    How do you make multiple lines evenly spaced? I want to make a section with several “blank lines” as a journaling space (when the doc is printed). When I do the — trick multiple times in a row, the lines are not equadistant.

  59. Bill

    Shorten the line on the left by putting the cursor at the front of the line and drag the “left indent” (tiny rectangle under the indent triangles on the tab stop bar) to the right. Shorten from the right by dragging the “right indent” triangle to the left.

    This works if you don’t need text before or after the line. I don’t know how to put a short horizontal line between text on a line.

  60. Labour in Vain

    Ooooh, my water just broke as I worked this out, now there is a fine line between work and a new born

  61. Mary

    Are there any horizontal lines we can use besides the one stated above?

  62. star


  63. star


  64. DeeAnna

    There are lots of horizontal lines you can use. If you are making a table (to create a form where people will fill in blanks, for example), you just make a table and set the border on the cells you want to be filled in.

  65. a slightly idiotic person ;)

    yeah, this didn’t work for me sadly. but I did figure out my own solution while trying to find “shading and borders” (yeah, I feel like an idiot for not finding it) if you click shapes and click ‘lines’, you can stretch a line across the page to make a break.

  66. Dan

    Thanks for telling me how to turn back on the — with auto proofing. I was trying to figure this out for a long time.

  67. Linda

    Hi there i found this to work great the only problem was wheni dont it the auto format thing kept coming up, Stupidly i clicked it to get out of my way and now it does not work any more when i press enter it just goes to next line leaving only — i have been going through the auto format options and tryed every thing pls help im using word 2003 on windows 7

  68. Glen

    Thank you so much. I will book mark this site thats for sure.
    Great help..

  69. OliveEwe

    OMG! thank you for saving me a lifetime of holding down the dash key all the way across the screen! lol

  70. Charles


    Thanks for the tip on re-enabling the AutoFormat feature! I was wondering what happened to my page breaks…

    Have a (belated) happy 2011 everyone!

  71. Tami

    Why do I have to find this information on the Web? I tried a search in Word help and got nothing. What’s up with that?

  72. Ely

    Absolutely fantastic!! I’ve spent the last hour or so trying to do just this and got nowhere. Thank you so so much! Brilliant help – can’t thank you enough.

  73. Stella

    This thread just made my day! I knew how to make the lines but could NOT figure out how to delete them! Thanks so much!

  74. Dee

    I just can’t seem to do this. I keep typing (—) and hitting enter, but it just starts a new para!!!! Driving me NUTS!!!

  75. Jonathan ☺

    I couldn’t do it at first either, but it’s this simple!
    1) Click the office button
    2) Click the ‘Word Options’ button, or just press ‘i’
    3) In the left you’ll see a section, click ‘Proofing’
    4) Click ‘Auto Correct Options’, or press ‘a’
    5) On the top you’ll see a section that says ‘AutoFormat As You Type’, click that
    6) Under the ‘Apply As You Type’ section, click the ‘Border Lines’ checkbox
    Now your ready to do it!!! Hope this helps!

  76. elbapo

    Great tip. Having problems changing colour of lines though – if anyone has a tip for me on how to change colour that would be great? thanks

  77. jackie

    I see you posted this over three years ago – and it’s still an awesome tip! Thanks a bunch, you’re a life-saver!!

  78. Isobel

    Thanks a mill. It was easy and fast, even after all the years! Keep helping us blogheads.

  79. Patrick


  80. Dave K.

    How to remove horizontal line in Word 2010. Microsoft Word 2010 SUCKS! I HATE it, they have thrown so many STUPID bells and whistles at it, that you CANNOT GET YOUR WORK DONE until you TURN OFF all the CRAP!

  81. Thanks

    Thanks :) It works! :)

  82. cathy

    ♥♥♥ Thank u

  83. Tracy

    Eureka! It worked! This is great info. Thanks!!

  84. TheirMom

    How do you get rid of the line in Word 2010??? Thank you.

  85. Wasptor

    Thanks! The short cut came in handy. It’s funny how long you can use software for, and still learn new things about it… :-)

  86. Polly Woggy

    Thanks! You are the MAN!

  87. Dr. Saad

    thanks alot…:)

  88. Sahar

    THANK YOU!!!!!!

  89. Ganja Taru

    eeeeeeeee haaaaaaaaaaaaa thanks a lot buddy for care about the issue, i am happy eeeeeeeeeee haaaaaaaaaaaaaa

  90. geoff

    Oh thank you so so so much. You have saved my day (and many before it).

  91. Ben

    Thank you!! Much appreciated :) Saved a lot of time

  92. Mis

    SOOOOO AWESOME!!! Thanks much!!!

  93. Megan

    Awesome! Worked like a charm, thanks!!!!

  94. Devin

    Hey I am trying to develop a food menu and I’d like to show (light) dots between the dish name and price. I’d like all price to be correctly aligned vertically.

    I am trying to figure out how I can do this in both Words and in HTML/CSS format.

    The dots created by *** is too heavy.


  95. John

    If only it actually worked… which it doesn’t.

  96. Michelle

    this is great but how do I now paste this in to my wordpress editor?

  97. Bob

    I love you for this…awesome

  98. oc denizen

    Slightly different horizontal line. I want one dead centered (vertically) on my line. Like a string of hyphens, but with no white space between each hyphen. Doable?

    (I THO’T I cracked it with ctrl-shift hyphen, but only looks unbroken when you have view non-printing characters turned on. White spaces show in print preview, and printing out there are indeed white spaces between each hyphen.)

    I know I could insert a arrow-less line, but I’m looking for something that doesn’t have to be so touchy as drawing in a line.

  99. Vinod

    Thanks for the tip guys. This is great. Saved me some time.

  100. Shane

    Thanks a lot for the tip :)

  101. Robert Branstetter

    I am not sure if this applies to Word 2007 or 2010 because I am still using Word 2003, but if you go to the Customize Toolbars menu–click on the bar at the end of a toolbar and choose Customize–then go to All Commands and scroll down you will find the command InsertHorizontalLine. It already has an icon, but it does not have a keyboard shortcut assigned to it. If you are like me and are more mouse-oriented, drag the icon onto a spot on the toolbar of your choice. I have a toolbar arranged vertically along one side of the editing window and I put the icons I use most in it because I find that it is faster to click there than to move my mouse from the bottom of the page to the top of the page, as I usually seem to do when I am editing or writing a document.

    If you just want a keyboard shortcut, click the Keyboard button and again go to the Customize Toolbars menu–click on the bar at the end of a toolbar and choose Customize–then go to All Commands and scroll down you will find the command InsertHorizontalLine. Once there, you can add the keyboard shortcut of your choice. Just be sure not to use one that is already assigned.

  102. Angie Trenchik

    I’m so excited with this new trick. Thanks for taking the time to share your knowledge.

  103. Tammy

    Thanks for the information. Now, how do I insert the line halfway through the page instead of all the way to the end of the page? For example I want to have a lined space for name and next to it I would like a lined space for the date. How would I do this without jumping to the next line? Thanks for the great tip.

  104. Jennifer

    This was working for me, but now it doesn’t. I’m using Word2010 any suggestions on how to make changes so it works again? Thanks

  105. Khaled Eldabbagh

    really helpful … thank you

  106. Halogen

    I have the same problem in word 2010 and discovered that if you select the area around the line and click on the style ‘no spacing’ it will go away. Or you can use format painter, selecting an area where there are no annoying lines to coy from.

  107. Sharath Raju


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