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By default, Word tables are created with borders. But you don't have to keep those borders. You can remove them. You can also apply borders to individual cells, rows, columns or the table itself. Let's take a look. So as you can see, the default border appears around each cell in this table. Word offers a number of ways to remove these borders. One way is with the Borders menu. Start by selecting the cells you want to erase the borders from. So in my example, I'll select the first row.
Now, I'll pull down the Borders menu and you can see which borders are applied to the selected cells. To remove just the bottom border, I can select Bottom to remove its checkbox, and the border is removed. To remove all the borders, I can pull that menu down and choose None. If I wanted to remove all the borders from the table, I could select the entire table by holding down the Option key and double-clicking on any content in the table. That selects the whole table and then I could pull down that menu and choose None.
Now, I've removed all the borders. With all the borders gone, a table is difficult to see. You can turn on the table's gridlines to see the table structure without borders. In the Table Layout Ribbon, just click the Gridlines button and that turns them on. The Gridlines are gray and they don't print. To turn them off so you can better see your borders, just click the button again. Adding borders works pretty much the same way. You'd select the table cells you want to put borders around, and then use the Borders menu in the Tables Ribbon.
So here is the Tables Ribbon and the Borders area is around here. So for example if I want borders around the first row, I could select that first row and then choose Outside from the Borders menu. So here is the first row selected. I'll pull down this menu here and choose Outside. If I also wanted borders around the entire table, I can select the whole table and choose Outside again. So it's selected and I'll choose Outside. If I wanted borders on the left and right side of each column, I can select the entire table and I can choose Vertical.
That puts a line between each column. Now, if you want a specific color, style, or thickness of border, you need to select it first from the appropriate menus. For example, suppose I want a fat red fancy border. So I could choose the style I want here, this would be kind of a fancy border, and maybe I wanted a little bit thicker than that, 4.5 points, and maybe I want it to be red, so I can choose a color from this menu, maybe this color red. With the table selected, I can then choose Outside to apply that border.
So I'll pull down this menu and choose Outside, and it applies it. Sometimes it won't apply the first time so you might have to choose the command again. Now, this might seem simple but I can assure you that you will get it wrong more often than you think, especially in the beginning. I still mess it up once in a while. If you do find that you've put a table border where you don't want one and Undo won't get you out of trouble, do what I do. Just remove all the table borders and start from scratch. I should also mention here that you can also apply borders to cell tables with the Borders and Shading dialog.
First select the table cells, then choose Format > Borders and Shading, and then use the options in this dialog to set the border. It works just like it does for paragraphs. You set your options here and then click in the diagram to change your borders. When you click OK, those borders are applied. You might find it easier to place borders this way, but I think the Ribbon is more straightforward. Either way, you can add or remove borders on cell tables, rows, and columns, just as you see fit.
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