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Draw Boarders in Excel

Use a lot of borders in MS Excel?

Tired of the old routine of selecting cells, choosing border from the borders button… or, worse yet, going into the Format Cells dialog box to set borders in there… then repeating the same process for each and every place we need them?

I personally, use MS Word 2007 a lot and I really like that I can just draw my borders. (To view the tip on drawing borders in Word 2007 click here.)

So, my logical progression of thought is that why can’t I accomplish that same thing in Excel?

Well, the answer is that we can… and not just in Excel 2007! I found this one in my version of Excel XP so there’s good news here for everyone.

Ok, so the plan is that we simply draw borders around a cell, a section of cells or draw a border grid throughout a section of cells. With that in mind let’s get started.

Let’s start with older versions of Excel:

You’re looking for the Borders button.


Click the down-arrow on the button and choose Draw Borders.

A small toolbar that looks like this will open. (If you find that you really use the Borders toolbar a lot you can choose to always display it using the View menu, Toolbars submenu.)


The button on the left lets you choose to draw a border or a border grid.

The next button is obviously the eraser which can be used for intricate custom borders to remove portions or for those “oops” moments that we all have.

The next button is a drop-down list of the available line styles and the last button will open a color palette that is applied to the lines themselves.

Now let’s talk Excel 2007:

You will find what you need by clicking the down-arrow on the draw borders button. (If you really like this particular border method you can always choose to add the Draw Border LIne and Draw Border Grid buttons to your Quick Access Toolbar. To see the tip for customizing this toolbar click here.)


Towards the bottom you’ll find a whole section devoted to drawing borders.

Choose between a border box (around the outside edges of the cells) and a border grid.

Below the choices for border type you can choose a line color and style and the ever handy eraser is located there as well.

Now that everyone has found the necessary elements you’re all ready to draw, draw and draw some more since once activated the drawing tool stays on until you either hit the Esc key or click the Draw Border button again to turn it off.

That’s it, you now have what you need to draw everything from simple to complex borders without a bunch of dialog box hassles!

~ April