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Drawing Borders

Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Excel versions: 97, 2000, 2002, and 2003. If you are using a later version (Excel 2007 or later), this tip may not work for you. For a version of this tip written specifically for later versions of Excel, click here: Drawing Borders.

The normal way to add borders around a cell or range of cells is to select the cell or range, and then choose Format | Cells and use the Border tab. There is a quick shortcut you can use to actually "draw" borders around cells.

Take a look at the Borders tool on the Formatting toolbar. Click the down-arrow at the right of the tool and you'll see a number of different borders you can apply. At the bottom of the selections is a choice named "Draw Borders." Choose this, and the mouse pointer becomes a small pencil and the Borders toolbar appears.

Now you can just click and draw borders where ever you want them. The controls in the Borders toolbar allow you to specify what type of line you want, along with the line color. The pencil tool (which is selected by default when you choose to Draw Borders) is used for drawing borders, and the eraser tool is used to clear borders.

When you are done creating your borders, just dismiss the Borders toolbar. The mouse pointer returns to normal, and you can use Excel like you normally do.

ExcelTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Excel training. This tip (2397) applies to Microsoft Excel 97, 2000, 2002, and 2003. You can find a version of this tip for the ribbon interface of Excel (Excel 2007 and later) here: Drawing Borders.

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Comments for this tip:

Steve Koschella    15 Feb 2012, 21:57
How often do you 'see' a menu item but not actually SEE it? I must have overlooked this menu item thousands of times and just gone and struggled with the 'normal' way of drawing borders. Thanks for pointing out the obvious!
Brian Primeau    05 Dec 2011, 10:31
I used this over the weekend to make my wife a physical therapy record chart for her knee replacement rehab. I needed all different numbers of sets and reps for different exercises, several sessions a day, and divisions between days of the week. This was SO easy to do using the Draw Borders tool! I loved it!
Brian Primeau    01 Dec 2011, 12:30
Thank you! I often design forms for my hospital and this will save me lots of time when I want some areas to have borders and others not. Sometimes the shapes of the borders are complicated and it takes forever to specify them with the normal selections. I would never have figured out how to do this without ExcelTips.
Rajesh Asthana    26 Nov 2011, 22:26
Thanks for this time saving tip.
Roy Willis    26 Nov 2011, 12:53
From time to time, that could be useful. Don't think I would have come across that menu option without being guided to it.

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