How to insert a vertical line in MS Word

Whether you want to separate your text into two columns or create a border around your text, learning how to insert a vertical line in Word is useful. 

A few days back, we shared how to insert a horizontal line. In this post, we will share simple techniques to insert a vertical line.

Learning this function is especially beneficial for creating newsletters or pages of a newspaper, as you would have to separate the text into different columns.

5 ways to insert a vertical line in Word

  • Using shapes 
  • Adding a paragraph border
  • Adding a page border
  • Adding a bar tab
  • Adding columns

Let’s get started.

Method 1: Using shapes 

The most basic method of adding a vertical line in Word is by using the Shapes tool. The benefit of this method is that you can choose the type of line you want to add (e.g. a line with an arrow) and you can insert it anywhere on the page.

Step 1: Open your Word document.

Open an existing document or create a new one using one of the several templates Word offers.

Step 2: Click on the Insert tab. 

This tab is located between the Home and Draw tabs. Click on it to find the different types of items that you can insert in your document.

Step 3: Click on the Illustrations button.

The Illustrations button is between the Table and Add-ins buttons. When you click on it, you will see the Shapes option.

Step 4: Click on the Shapes option.

You have several options for shapes. The second row consists of the different types of lines you can add in your document.

Step 5: Choose a line template.

Choose the line template that you would like to add to your document. For example, you can choose the straight line with no arrows or the line with an arrow at only one of the ends.

Step 6: Draw the line.

Click on the line that you would like to draw then drag the pointer across the page. To ensure that your line is vertical, press the Shift key on your keyboard as you’re drawing the line.

You can insert this line anywhere in your document, even next to the text on the page and on it. 

Method 2: Adding a paragraph border

The next method of adding a vertical line in your Word doc is by adding a border. You can try this method if you just want to add borders to your page and don’t want to insert a vertical line in the middle of the page.

Step 1: Click on the Home tab.

The Home tab is the default tab that you’re on when you open your Word document.

However, if you’re on a different tab, click on the Home tab to add the borders.

Step 2: Click on the Borders option.

The Borders option is located in the third group in the Home tab. You will find it among other tools like the Spacing and Fill tools.

Once you click on this option, you will see the different options you have for borders.

Step 3: Choose one or more border types.

The two types of vertical borders you can choose are left and right borders. Pick one or both of them depending on how you want to format your text.

This is how the page looks with only the left border:

This is how it looks with only the right border:

And finally, this is how it looks with both borders:

Alternative Step 3: Choose the Borders and Shading option to create a custom border.

Word also gives you the freedom to create a border of your choice. Click on the Borders and Shading option from the drop-down menu. 

This will open up a box where you can customize your border.

You can change the style of your border by choosing from several options, including dotted and wavy styles. You can also change the color and width of your border to anything you want- the sky’s the limit!

A great thing is that you can preview what your vertical border is going to look like before making a selection. You can make sure that you’re only adding vertical borders by deselecting the top and bottom options. 

Here’s a look at an example of a custom border:

Note that this line moves along with your paragraphs: so, it will extend if you add more paragraphs and shorten if you delete any paragraphs.

Method 3: Adding a page border

The borders that we discussed so far are paragraph borders. They only apply to the individual paragraphs on the page. In this section, we will learn how to apply borders to the entire page.

Step 1: Click on the Borders option.

Once again, you have to open the drop-down menu by clicking on the Borders option in the Home tab.

Step 2: Select the Borders and Shading option and go to Page Border.

The second option at the top of the box is Page Border. Click on this.

Step 3: Customize your page border.

Similar to the paragraph border, you can customize the style, color, and width of your page border as well. You can deselect the top and bottom options to make sure that you’re only adding vertical lines.

One really interesting option you have in this case is the Art option. Instead of having simple vertical lines, you can choose an icon to add as a border. 

Here’s a tacky example:

Again, you can choose from several different options and preview your border before making a selection.

Method 4: Adding bar tabs 

You can also use the Tab tool to add a vertical line in your Word documents. You can add these tabs anywhere in your document.

Step 1: Make sure that you can see the ruler. 

Having the ruler visible will help you find the right position for your tabs. If it isn’t already, you can show your ruler by going to the View tab and checking the Ruler box.

Step 2: Open the Line and Paragraph Spacing dialog box.

Go to the Home tab and click on the Line and Paragraph Spacing button. There, you will find Line Spacing Options. Click on this to open a dialog box.

Step 3: Click on Tabs.

At the bottom left corner of the box, you can see the Tabs option.

Step 4: Click on Bar and customize other features of your bar tab.

In the Alignment section, choose the Bar option. You can also change the other features of your bar tab, such as the Tab Stops. You can use the ruler to figure out the right stops for your bar tab.

For example, assuming that your text starts at 0, you can enter -0.5 to insert a bar tab to the left of the text and 7 to insert it to the right of the text.

This type of vertical line is also applied to the paragraphs, so its length changes with the length of the paragraphs on the page.

Method 5: Adding columns

You can also organize your text into columns and insert lines between the columns.

Step 1: Click on the Layouts tab.

This tab is located between the Design and References tabs. Click on it.

Step 2: Click on the Columns button.

This button is at the top left corner of the page. It will open up a drop-down menu. Click on the More Columns option and add the number of columns that you would like to divide your text into. Then, click on the Line Between option. 

Your text may look something like this:


So there you have it- five methods that you can use to add a vertical line in your Word doc. It’s always useful to learn more than one method as you never know when they may come in handy.

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