How to Add Paragraph Borders and Shading in Word 2013

By Faithe Wempen

By default, a paragraph in Word 2013 has no border or shading. You can add either or both to a single paragraph or any group of paragraphs to make them stand out from the rest of the document. You can use any border thickness, style, and color you like, and any color of shading.

Place a border around a paragraph

A paragraph border appears around the outside of a single paragraph. If the paragraph is indented, the border will also be indented (left and right only; the indent doesn’t change for hanging or first-line indents).

If you place the same border around two or more consecutive paragraphs, the border surrounds them as a group. That way you can create groups of paragraphs that appear “boxed” together for special emphasis.

  1. In your Word document, click anywhere within the paragraph.

  2. On the Home tab of the Ribbon, in the Paragraph group, open the Border button’s drop-down list and select Outside Borders.

    A plain black border appears around the quotation paragraph, as shown. You could stop here if you wanted a plain border, but the next steps show you how to format the border in different ways.

    image0.jpg

  3. From the Border button’s drop-down list, select Borders and Shading.

    The Borders and Shading dialog box opens.

  4. Click the Shadow button (under Settings on the left).

    The border in the Preview area becomes thicker at the bottom and right sides, simulating a shadow.

  5. Click the Box button.

    The border in the Preview area once again has the same thickness on all sides.

  6. From the Color drop-down list, select the color; from the Width drop-down list, select the width in pts; in the Style area, click one of the dashed lines; and in the Preview area, click the buttons that represent the right and left sides, turning off those sides.

    This figure shows the completed dialog box.

    image1.jpg

  7. Click OK to apply the border to the paragraph.

  8. Save the document.

Shading a paragraph’s background

Shading a paragraph helps it stand out from the rest of the document and adds visual interest to the text. You can use shading with or without a border.

As with a border, shading follows along with any indent settings you may have specified for the paragraph. If the paragraph is indented, the shading is also.

Word applies only solid-color shading to paragraphs. If you want a gradient shading behind a paragraph or you want some other special shading effect such as a pattern, texture, or graphic, place a text box (choose Insert→Text Box) and then apply the desired shading to the text box as a Fill, like you would with a graphic.

  1. In the Word document, click anywhere within the paragraph.

  2. On the Home tab of the Ribbon, in the Paragraph group, open the Shading drop-down list and choose the features of the shading.

    image2.jpg

  3. Reopen the Shading drop-down list and choose More Colors.

    The Colors dialog box opens.

  4. Click the Standard tab, click a light yellow square (see this figure), and then click OK to accept the new color choice.

    image3.jpg

  5. Save the document.