How To Add Borders in Microsoft Excel?

How To Add Borders in Microsoft Excel?

Adding borders to cells in Microsoft Excel is a great way to visually organize your data and make your spreadsheets more readable. Whether you’re formatting a report, organizing data, or creating a financial model, knowing how to effectively use borders can greatly enhance your Excel skills. Here’s a detailed, step-by-step guide on how to add borders in Microsoft Excel.

Understanding Excel Borders

Excel allows you to add borders around cells, ranges of cells, and even entire tables. Borders can be customized in terms of style, thickness, and color, giving you flexibility in how you present your data.

Read more: A Guide to Opening a Text File in Microsoft Excel

1. Selecting Cells for Border Application

  • Single Cell: Click on the cell where you want to add a border.
  • Multiple Cells: Click and drag to select a range of cells.
  • Entire Sheet: Click the square between the row numbers and column letters to select the entire sheet.

2. Accessing the Borders Menu

  • Ribbon Menu: Go to the Home tab on the Ribbon. In the Font group, you’ll find the Borders icon (looks like a square divided into four parts). Clicking on this icon will reveal a dropdown menu with various border options.
  • Right-Click Menu: Right-click on your selected cells, choose Format Cells from the context menu, and then go to the Border tab in the dialog box that appears.

3. Applying Basic Borders

  • Quick Borders: From the Home tab, use the Borders dropdown to quickly apply borders. Options include Bottom Border, Top Border, Left Border, Right Border, and All Borders.
  • Outside and Inside: To add borders around the outside and inside of a selected range, choose Outside Borders and Inside Borders from the dropdown.

4. Customizing Borders

  • Border Styles: In the Format Cells > Border tab, you can select from various line styles and colors. Click on the style you want, and then click on the diagram to the right to apply that style to specific sides of the cell or range.
  • Color and Width: Choose a color and line width to make your borders stand out or match a theme.

5. Advanced Border Options

  • Diagonal Borders: You can add diagonal lines through cells from the Format Cells > Border tab, which is useful for crossing out or marking cells in a unique way.
  • More Borders: For even more customization, the More Borders option at the bottom of the Borders dropdown menu in the Home tab offers full control over your borders.

6. Copying Borders with Format Painter

  • If you’ve styled a cell or range of cells and want to apply the same formatting to other areas, use the Format Painter:
    • Select the cell(s) with the desired border formatting.
    • Click the Format Painter button (paintbrush icon) in the Home tab.
    • Select the cells to which you want to apply the formatting.

7. Removing Borders

  • To remove borders, select the cells, then choose No Border from the Borders dropdown in the Home tab. Alternatively, in the Format Cells > Border tab, click None.

Tips for Working with Borders

  • Consistency is Key: Use consistent border styles and colors for similar types of data to make your spreadsheets easier to read.
  • Keyboard Shortcuts: Learn shortcuts for faster border application. For example, Alt + H + B opens the borders menu on Windows.
  • Use Borders Sparingly: Too many borders can make a spreadsheet look cluttered. Use them strategically to highlight important areas.

Practical Applications

  • Financial Reports: Use borders to separate sections such as income, expenses, and totals.
  • Data Tables: Apply outline borders to tables and light inner borders to separate rows and columns for clarity.
  • Project Plans: Highlight milestones or critical paths with distinct border styles or colors.


By following these steps, you can effectively add and customize borders in your Excel spreadsheets, enhancing both the aesthetics and the readability of your data. Remember, practice is key to mastering Excel’s border functionalities, so don’t hesitate to experiment with different styles and applications to find what works best for your specific needs.

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