applied tips : april 2008

microsoft word : borders and shading

Liven up your documents (or headings, or sections, or...) with borders and shadings

Word is not a typewriter — it’s a word processing program. So you might as well take advantage of those extra features, right?

A couple useful features that will help you spice up your documents, without too much effort, are borders and shading. Maybe you haven’t been using them because you’re not sure exactly how they work, or maybe you just forget about them when you create documents. Either way, if you aren’t incorporating them into your documents, you’re missing out on a simple way to dress things up.

In this lesson we’ll cover how to use the Borders and Shading dialog box to add borders and shading to words, paragraphs, pages, tables and pictures.

Framing the page

Framing a whole page with a border gives it a clean, professional appearance.  It's especially great for single-page documents, flyers, and cover pages. To add a border around a page in your document, select Format > Borders and Shading from the menu to display the Borders and Shading dialog box. Click the Page Border tab. This tab has three main sections:

Let’s start by looking at the Setting section. You can choose to put a Box around the page (probably the most common type of page border) or you can add a border with a shadow or a 3-D effect. You can also choose to create your own border that only appears on a certain edge or edges of the page. To do this, click the Custom option, then click in the Preview area where you want to add the border.

In the Style section, you can choose from a wide variety of border designs. Besides the basic lines and dotted lines, scroll down the style list to check out the more decorative lines. Depending whether or not they have been installed on your computer, you may also have access to additional styles of page borders under the Art list arrow. If these are installed, you can choose from even more artistic borders that include Christmas trees and stars.

Once you’ve settled on a style of line, you can select a color from the Color list. If you don’t see the color you want, click More Line Colors to choose from an almost-limitless spectrum. Finally, you can adjust the width of your border by clicking the Width list arrow.

The Preview section allows you to preview what your border will look like on the page, plus you can click on the preview image to add or remove parts of the border. Another important part of the Preview area is the “Apply to” list arrow. Click this to apply the border to a particular page or section.

Adding borders to words, paragraphs, tables and pictures

You can add borders to individual words and paragraphs in much the same way as you did for the whole page. To add a border to a word or paragraph, select it, and then select Format > Borders and Shading from the menu to open the Borders and Shading dialog box.

On the Borders tab, select your desired border settings and styles, just as you did for the page border, then select Text or Paragraph from the “Apply to” list arrow to apply the border to either the selected text or the whole paragraph. You can apply a border to both a paragraph and/or a word or words within the paragraph if you like.

To adjust how close the border appears to the text, click the Options button and click the arrow buttons to adjust the distance from the text.

To add a border to a table, click in the table or select a specific cell or cells in the table, then select Format > Borders and Shading from the menu and follow the usual steps to add a border. For pictures, such as clip art or photos, select the picture and proceed the same way.

Shading basics

You can also apply shading behind the text in your document. To add shading, select the text or table cells that you want to shade, or just click in a paragraph or table, and then select Format > Borders and Shading from the menu. Click the Shading tab.

Here you can choose a fill color and a pattern. You can also choose a color for the pattern. In the preview area, use the “Apply to” list arrow to select the area where you want to apply the shading.

Apply a border and shading to the headings in your document for some eye-catching effects.

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