How to Make a Dashed Line in Microsoft Word

By Linda Pogue

When creating a Word document, you may need to add a rule or line. In Word, the available lines include solid lines, dotted lines or dashed lines. Lines add drama or style to a document, allowing you to emphasize information or add graphics to white space in the document. There are several ways to add lines to a Word document.

Using Shapes to Add a Rule or Line to Word

To use the Shapes tool to add a rule or line, click the “Insert” tab, click “Shapes” in the Illustrations group, select a line, then click in the document page and drag the mouse pointer until the line is the desired length. Hold the Shift key while dragging the line to keep it straight. Length is changed by clicking on the small circle at either end of the line and dragging it to the preferred length. The Drawing Tools Format tab Size commands at the right end of the ribbon provide an alternate method of changing the line length.

Styling and Formatting Options for Rules or Lines in Word

First add the line to the document as done in the previous step. Right-click the line, then click “Format Shape,” or as an alternative, with the line selected, click the “Drawing Tools Format” tab on the Ribbon. To change the line to dashes or dots, click the “Shape Outline” command in the Shape Styles group, then click “Dashes.” Select the desired line dash type. The Drawing Tools Format tab has commands to change the weight or boldness of the line, as well as the color of the line. Lines with arrow points can be styled with arrow end points, diamond end points or circle end points. To change line end points to circles or diamonds, or to change the size of the end points, click the “Drawing Tools Format” tab, click “Shape Outline,” then click the “Arrows” command. Select the end points you prefer.

Using the Keyboard to Add a Line to Word

To add a dark solid line to a document in Word 2013 using the keyboard, type the “underscore” key three times, then press “Enter.” For a lighter solid line, type three “hyphens,” then press “Enter.” Word completes the line created using this method. Other keys that create lines in this fashion are asterisks, tildes (above the Tab key), equal signs and pound signs (Shift+3).

Using Borders to Add a Line

When you need a line below a paragraph, use the Borders tool. With the mouse pointer, click in the last line of the paragraph. On the Home tab, in the Paragraph group click the “arrow” next to the Borders button. Select bottom border to add a line below the paragraph. Using the Borders button, borders can be added to the top, bottom, left or right of the paragraph. The All Borders command encloses the entire paragraph in a border or box. The No Borders command removes all borders.