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How to Insert a Line in Word

Microsoft Word has a collection of useful features. This article teaches you how to insert a line in Word.

This post will go over how to insert a horizontal line in Word. Check out this post to find out about inserting a vertical line.

How to Insert a Line in Word

This function is helpful in several situations. For example, if you want to insert a horizontal line in Word for a resume or split your document into sections. You can do this by inserting lines between the paragraphs or sections.

One way you can do this is to type individual characters with your keyboard, such as underscores (shift + –). However, this method is inefficient and time-consuming.

There are three easy ways by which you can insert a horizontal line in Word. We will show you how in this article.

Note: Instructions in this guide apply to Word 2021, Word 2019, Word 2016, Word 2013, and Word 2010. Word for Microsoft 365 and Word for Mac.

How Do I Insert a Line in Word?

  1. Use Shapes
  2. Use Keyboard Shortcuts and AutoFormat
  3. Use the Horizontal Line Tool

Let’s get started.

Method #1: Insert a Line Using Shapes

The easiest way is to use shapes. For instructions on how to use this method, follow these steps:

1. Open your document.

Start a blank document, or select one of the many templates. Or, open an existing file in Word.

2. Select the Insert tab.

You’ll find it next to the Home tab in the Ribbon menu.

3. Click on the Shapes button.

It is in the Illustrations group of the Insert tab.

4. Choose a line to draw.

Once you click on the Shapes icon, a drop-down list of shapes will open. The second row contains various line options.

5. Insert the line.

Select the line shape you want to use, and click wherever you want to insert the line.

Then draw it by dragging it onto your document. Once you have drawn your line, you can adjust its length and angle. MS Word even displays the length of the line as you stretch it.

6. Format the line.

Double-click on the line to customize it. You change its size, style, outline, and effects. You can also align and rotate the line shape. Changes will take effect as you make them.

This method works on both Windows and Mac.

Method #2: Insert a Line Using Keyboard Shortcuts

This method allows you to insert a line in your document using keyboard shortcuts. To do this, type a few characters and press Enter (or Return), and Word will generate the line for you.

1. Place your cursor where you want to insert a line.

Open your document, and click wherever you want the line to appear. That is, no text should appear before or after your mouse cursor. For example, this does not work.

But this works:

2. Type the three consecutive characters.

The type of line you want to draw determines the characters you should type. Here are the various types of lines you can create, as the keyboard shortcuts for each:

  • Plain single line: Dashes (—)
  • Simple dual line: Three Equal signs (===)
  • Broken (or dotted) line: Asterisks (***)
  • Bold single line: Underline symbols (____)
  • Wavy line: Three tildes (~~~)
  • Number signs: Three Hash signs (###)

Once you’ve decided on the type of line you want to insert in your document, press the associated keys three times on your keyboard. Then, press Enter on Windows or Return on Mac.

Here’s how each of these line types appears in Word:

Method #3: Insert a Line Using the Horizontal Line Tool

In Word, you can insert a line using the Horizontal Line Tool. Here’s how.

1. Click where you want to insert the line.

Click anywhere in the blank space of your document to draw the line.

2. Select the Home tab.

It is next to the File tab. You’re on the Home tab by default when you open a Word document.

3. Click the Borders drop-down menu.

In the Paragraph group, click the drop-down arrow next to the Borders icon. It will open a drop-down list.

4. Choose the Horizontal Line option.

In the drop-down menu, choose Horizontal Line.

Once you click on it, a Horizontal Line will show in your document. It might look something like this:

5. Format the line.

To format the line, double-click on the line. A Format Horizontal Line dialog box will appear. It allows you to change the width (up to 100%), height, color, and alignment of the line in your document.

Tip: You can also adjust the length and width of the line by dragging it. See the example below.

Disable the automatic line feature in Word

You can prevent Word from inserting a horizontal line when you press the shortcut character keys three times and hit enter. Here’s how.

  1. On the ribbon menu, click the File tab.
  2. In the left pane, click Options.
  3. Select Proofing.
  4. Click AutoCorrect Options > AutoFormat As You Type. 
  5. Uncheck the Border Lines box.
  6. To confirm, click OK.


To summarize, there are three ways to insert a line in Word.

You can use the Shapes command on the Insert tab, AutoFormat feature, or the built-in Horizontal Line tool from the Home tab.

But, the easiest way is using the Shapes option, as it gives you more formatting options that you can use. In addition, we’ve also shown you how to turn off the automatic line in Word.

I hope these tips were helpful to you and that this article helped you learn something new about Word.



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