How Do I Add Borders to Cells in Microsoft Excel?

By Aaron Parson

Excel 2013 and 2010 include a set of basic border and underline styles, available through a drop-down menu on the home tab. To add more complex borders that include a variety of styles and colors, create a new cell style. User-made styles carry over between all workbooks on your computer, making it possible to apply the same border pattern to cells in several files without redrawing the border every time.

Add Simple Borders

Step 1

Select a range of cells to modify and open the drop-down menu next to the border icon in the Font group of the Home tab.

Step 2

Choose any border style to apply a border around the selected cells. Most styles add borders around the extremity of the selected area, but the "All Borders" style draws border lines between each cell in the selected area.

Step 3

Select another cell or group of cells and click the border icon to apply the last-used border style to additional cells. To use a different border style, open the drop-down menu again and pick a new style.

Create Border Styles

Step 1

Click the "More" arrow in the Styles section of the Home tab.

Step 2

Press "New Cell Style" to create a new style preset.

Step 3

Enter any name for the new style and uncheck all options except for "Border." If you leave other options checked, the selected style components become integrated into the style and would overwrite the formatting on your cells. Press "Format" to begin creating a custom border in the Format Cells window.

Step 4

Choose a line style and color from the left side of the Border tab and click the box surrounding the sample text to draw border lines. Combine several styles by selecting a different style before drawing each line. When you finish, press "OK" on both open windows.

Step 5

Select a cell or range of cells and click your new style in the Styles section to apply the border.

Tips & Warnings

  • Press "Ctrl-Shift-7" to add a basic line border around the selected cells.
  • To create a custom border for the currently selected cells without saving a preset, open the drop-down menu by the border icon and choose "More Borders."
  • Draw border lines directly onto your spreadsheet by choosing "Draw Border" on the border drop-down menu. Adjust the pen color or style with the "Line Color" and "Line Style" menu options. To remove lines by hand, select "Erase Border."
  • If you run Excel in a small window, the Styles section of the Home tab might not show the gallery of preset styles. Click on "Cell Styles" to display the gallery.