How to Insert Horizontal Lines in a Word Document

Horizontal lines are an essential component of many documents and webpages.
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Horizontal lines are an essential component of many documents and webpages. They can be used to add emphasis, separate images and text, or indicate a place for a signature. In Microsoft Word, a horizontal line can be created from the Shapes menu or by using a keyboard shortcut.

Insert a Horizontal Line in Word

To add a horizontal line shape in Microsoft Word, click on Shapes on the Insert tab. Several line styles are available on the pop-up menu under Lines, including lines with arrowheads at one or both ends. After you select a line style, draw the line on the page by clicking on a location to start the line, dragging the pointer to the end of the line, and releasing the mouse button.

After you create the line, use options on the Format Shape panel to change its width and color. You can interactively modify its location or orientation by dragging with your mouse. Layout Options are available for specifying the relationship between the line and surrounding text, such as whether the line is displayed in line with the text or in a fixed location. To delete a line, select it and use the Delete key or Ctrl-X.

Use the Keyboard to Insert a Line

With Word's AutoFormat feature, you can create several different line styles using keyboard shortcuts. The general pattern for each shortcut is to place the cursor at the beginning of a blank line, tap a key three times and then tap Enter to generate a line that extends the full width of the page. Use the hyphen key to draw a solid line using this pattern. The asterisk key creates a dotted line, and the equal sign key creates a double line.

A line created with AutoFormat is a bottom border applied to the paragraph preceding the line. You can specify the width and color of AutoFormat lines by clicking on Borders in the Paragraph area of the Home tab and selecting Borders and Shading. In the Borders dialog, choose a line color and width. Changes made in the dialog are applied to the next line created with AutoFormat. To delete a line created with AutoFormat, place the cursor within the paragraph right above the line and select No Border from the Borders menu in the Paragraph area.