How to Make Vertical Lines in Microsoft Word

Vertical lines are often used in documents to separate newsletter-style columns of text. They're also useful for separating text and images. There are a couple of different methods you can use to create a vertical line in Word, depending on your purpose.

Vertical lines are often used in documents to separate newsletter-style columns of text.
Image Credit: Poike/iStock/GettyImages

Insert a Line Between Columns

You can format a Word document to have two or more columns of text by selecting Columns in the Page Setup area of the Page Layout tab. Select one, two or three columns from the menu, or choose More Columns to open the Columns dialog for additional options. If you have multiple columns on a page, text will flow from one column to the next as you type. Use Breaks in the Page Setup area to insert a column break and force text to start in the next column.

To insert a vertical line between columns, bring up the Columns dialog by selecting More Columns from the Columns menu. Toggle on the checkbox labeled Line between and hit OK in the dialog. A vertical column line will be displayed between columns on the page. If you decide you don't want the line, toggle off the checkbox.

Use Table Borders for Vertical Lines

You may want multiple columns separated by vertical lines on only a portion of a document page, but changing the number of columns in Page Layout affects the entire document. Adding a table is a simple way to create columns on a portion of the page. After you've added content to the cells in the table, use Borders and Shading in the Table Properties dialog to hide all borders on the table except the side borders. This will create the effect of text columns with vertical lines between them.

Draw a Vertical Line Shape in Word

You can also use Shapes in the Illustrations area of the Insert tab to create a vertical line as a graphic object on the page. There are a variety of line styles available under Lines, including wavy lines and lines with arrowheads. Select a style and then use the mouse or touchpad to create the line by specifying the start and endpoints on the page.

If you hold down the Shift key while you drag the mouse during line creation, it's easier to snap to an absolute vertical or horizontal orientation. Use Shape Format to change the color or width of the line. Use Layout Options to specify how the line is laid out in relation to the surrounding text.

Create a Vertical Line from the Keyboard

If you'd like to insert a vertical line between words in a line of text, using a line shape can be difficult. Try using a vertical bar character instead, also known as a vertical pipe. This character is available on most keyboards and can be entered by holding down the Shift key will pressing the Backslash key.

You can also add a vertical pipe character from Symbols on the Insert tab. Select More Symbols from the Symbols menu to display the Symbol dialog. Use the Subset menu to select Basic Latin. The vertical line symbol is available near the end of the Basic Latin subset.