Horizontal lines are a functional aspect of Microsoft Word, helping to break up a page by adding a divider or draw the reader’s eye to a section or heading, but although inserting a plain horizontal line is a pretty basic user skill in word, did you know there are also a few alternative arty lines that you can add to jazz up your documents too?

Here’s how…

Inserting a basic horizontal line the short way

There are two ways of doing this, the long way, and the short way! Now if you know me, you know I’ll never do something the long way if there’s a more efficient way to do things but in the interest of completeness, I’ll talk you through both…

Many users already know that easiest way to insert a plain horizontal line into a page is to use the keyboard shortcut of typing 3 dashes (—) then press ‘Enter‘ – and voila! your line appears by magic!

Horizontal Line (6)

But there are all some other shortcuts you can use for a different type of line. Try three tildes, three underscores, or three pound signs for some fancy effects! (Shown below)

Horizontal Line (1)

On the odd occasion where autoformat adds a horizontal line where you didn’t want one, you can undo it by clicking on the ‘autoformat options‘ that appears when the horizontal line is added and select “undo border line”. From here you can also change your horizontal line options or stop Word from adding horizontal lines this way in the future.

Horizontal Line (4)

And the long way…

The other way to  is to use the ‘Borders and Shading’ function. You can use access a directory of more colourful and artistic horizontal lines if you’d like to:

Place your cursor at the point in the page that you would like to add a horizontal line, then from the ribbon select

Home tab > Paragraph group > Borders and Shading icon > Horizontal Line

Horizontal Line (3)


To change the colour, thickness or style of your horizontal line select ‘borders and shading’ from the menu and you will see the dialog box below. From here, use the available options to set design, colour and line thickness.

  • From the options on the left select ‘custom’
  • Set the ‘apply to’ dropdown to ‘paragraph
  • Then from the grid on the right, remove all of the borders except the bottom border and click ‘ok’

Horizontal Line (2)