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Adding Diagonal 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: Adding Diagonal Borders.

Excel allows you to add all sorts of borders to cells in a worksheet. You can place borders on the left, right, top, and bottom of a cell. If you select a range of cells, you can add borders to the left, right, top, bottom, and in between, meaning that the borders could be between cells within the selected range.

Many people don't realize that you can also place diagonal borders. This means that a border can appear from the top-left to the lower-right corners of a cell, or from the top-right to the lower-left. To take advantage of diagonal borders, follow these steps:

  1. Select the cell you want to have the diagonal border.
  2. Choose Cells from the Format menu. Excel displays the Format Cells dialog box
  3. Make sure the Border tab is selected. (See Figure 1.)
  4. Figure 1. The Border tab of the Format Cells dialog box.

  5. At the bottom left and right corners of the Preview area of the dialog box you should see buttons that have diagonal lines on them. Click the line that represents the type of diagonal border you want to use.
  6. Click on OK.

Diagonal borders can only be applied to cells, not to rectangular areas you select onscreen. For instance, if you choose cells A5:C12, the diagonal border won't go from the top-left corner of cell A5 to the bottom-right corner of cell C12. Instead, it is applied to the individual cells within the selected range.

ExcelTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Excel training. This tip (3317) 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: Adding Diagonal Borders.

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Comments for this tip:

Milton D. Smith, Jr.    19 Jan 2012, 12:53
Since Excel treats a merged cell range as a single cell, this diagonal border tip applies equally well to a block of merged cells.

Remember, Excel references a merged cell range by the row and column of the "sub-cell" at the upper left-hand corner of the merged range.

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