How to Put a Border Around Text in a Microsoft Word Document

By Kevin Lee

Word 2013 provides several ways to emphasize important items in a document. Although you don't see the word "Border" on the ribbon, a Borders icon exists that can help you create more compelling documents. Borders are useful because they isolate an item from its surroundings to capture attention. Learn to create custom Word borders and you can embellish your text, headers, paragraphs and pages.

Add Border Around Text

Select the text you'd like to surround with a border. For instance, if you want a border around a paragraph, select the paragraph. Click "Home" and then click the arrow next to the Borders icon in the Paragraph section. This icon looks like a square with a cross in the middle. If you have trouble identifying Word icons because they have no names, move your mouse over them slowly to view their names in a pop-up. Review the border types in the menu that appears. These types include Top Border, Bottom Border and All Borders. Move your mouse over the border types to see a preview of how they would look applied to your selection. Hover over the "Top Border," for instance, and you'll see a top border around your text. Click the border style you like to apply it to your text.

Add Color and Effects

Basic borders are fine, but you can give them a little additional flair. Click the arrow next to Borders again and then click "Borders and Shading" to open the Borders and Shading window. This window has controls that help you set a border's color, line width, style and shadows. It also displays a preview of your text. Click one of the thumbnails in the Setting section and Word applies the setting to the preview. For instance, if you click "Shadow," your border acquires a shadow. Click the "Color" drop-down menu to select a border color.

Adjust Line Properties

By default, Word draws a solid border around the text you select. Choose an alternate line style by clicking one of the lines in the Border and Shading window's Style section. For instance, if you want a dotted line border, click that border style. Change the border's line width by clicking the "Width" drop-down menu and selecting a width. Choose a larger width when you want to add emphasis to a border.

Add a Touch of Shading

After you enhance your border, you can apply shading to text inside the border. Click the Border and Shading window's "Shading" tab and select one of the colors in the Color drop-down menu. The window's Preview pane shows how your text would look if you applied that color. Click the "Style" drop-down menu and move your cursor over the different styles to see how they affect the preview. Choose "Dk Vertical," for example, and Word adds vertical stripes to the preview. Click "OK" after you make your choices.

Decorate Your Pages

You can add a border around one page, this is especially effective if the page is at the beginning of your document or a section. Click "Design" followed by "Page Borders" and click one of the border styles in the Setting section. You can also choose a border color from the Color drop-down menu and a line width from the Width drop-down menu. Choose a line style from the Style box, if you want to apply a different line style to the border. The Art drop-down menu contains graphics you can apply to the border. Click one of those to select it. Click the "Apply To" drop-down menu and select "This Section - First Page Only" followed by "OK."

Page Border Considerations

If your page is not at the beginning of your document, insert a section break by clicking the location where you want to insert the break and then clicking "Page Layout." Click "Breaks" and select the type of section break you want to add. You can then add a border to that section using the steps described in the previous section. When you click "Apply To," select "This Section" instead of "This Section - First Page Only."

Style Your Headers and Footers

If your document has a header, add a border to it the same way you add a border to regular text; select the header's text, click "Home" and then click the arrow next to the Borders icon. You can then select a border type and customize it any way you like using the steps you use to add a border to regular text. Use the same steps to add borders to footers.