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.

Adding Diagonal Borders

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated May 6, 2017)

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.

Author Bio

Allen Wyatt

With more than 50 non-fiction books and numerous magazine articles to his credit, Allen Wyatt is an internationally recognized author. He  is president of Sharon Parq Associates, a computer and publishing services company. ...


Continuing Macro Lines

Program a macro, and you can easily find that some lines get very long. If you want to shorten the lines so they are more ...

Discover More

Converting Tables to Charts

Put numeric information in a table and you can then convert that information to a graphical chart using Microsoft Graph ...

Discover More

Averaging the Last Numbers in a Column

Need to calculate a running average for the last twelve values in a constantly changing range of values? The formula ...

Discover More

Solve Real Business Problems Master business modeling and analysis techniques with Excel and transform data into bottom-line results. This hands-on, scenario-focused guide shows you how to use the latest Excel tools to integrate data from multiple tables. Check out Microsoft Excel 2013 Data Analysis and Business Modeling today!

More ExcelTips (menu)

Changing the Color of a Cell Border

Excel provides a variety of tools you can use to make your data look more presentable on the screen and on a printout. ...

Discover More

Automatic Lines for Dividing Lists

When preparing a report for others to use, it is not unusual to add a horizontal line between major sections of the ...

Discover More

Removing Borders

Need to get rid of the borders around a cell? The shortcut in this tip can make quick work of this formatting task.

Discover More

FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in ExcelTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

View most recent newsletter.


If you would like to add an image to your comment (not an avatar, but an image to help in making the point of your comment), include the characters [{fig}] in your comment text. You’ll be prompted to upload your image when you submit the comment. Maximum image size is 6Mpixels. Images larger than 600px wide or 1000px tall will be reduced. Up to three images may be included in a comment. All images are subject to review. Commenting privileges may be curtailed if inappropriate images are posted.

What is five more than 3?

There are currently no comments for this tip. (Be the first to leave your comment—just use the simple form above!)

This Site

Got a version of Excel that uses the menu interface (Excel 97, Excel 2000, Excel 2002, or Excel 2003)? This site is for you! If you use a later version of Excel, visit our ExcelTips site focusing on the ribbon interface.

Newest Tips

FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in ExcelTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

(Your e-mail address is not shared with anyone, ever.)

View the most recent newsletter.