Making An Outside Border Different From Interior Borders In A Table ?

Making An Outside Border Different From Interior Borders In A Table ?

Post by Simon Simp » Fri, 22 Jan 2010 20:57:25

I'm either have having a bad day or I have been defeated by Word.

I have a table where I want to make the outside border heavier than
the borders dividing the cells internally, as well as separating
groups of cells with a heavier border (for visual clarity). I simply
cannot find a way of doing this !

Using the various formatting tools simply puts the same weight of
border around all the cells selected, or around an individual cell
selected. It is not possible to select just one side of a cell and
change the weight of the line to a different one. Thus, any table
only seems able to have the same weight (and, indeed, colour) of
border throughout.

Can anyone put me out of my misery. Or is this just a limitation of
Word ?

I am using Word for the Mac 2004, version 11.5.6 (the most up to
date). Does Word 2008 have this problem (or will it set me free ?!).

I grateful for any help.


Making An Outside Border Different From Interior Borders In A Table ?

Post by CyberTa » Sat, 23 Jan 2010 02:56:26

I'm not sure I'm understanding you correctly, but it sounds like you may
actually be trying to apply more than one border on the same side of the
same cell. AFAIK, you cannot do that in any version of Word, Mac or PC.

The only possibility would be to draw rectangles on top of [or behind] the
table, which would be an absolute nightmare to create & control.

Regards |:>)
Bob Jones
[MVP] Office:Mac

On 1/21/10 6:57 AM, in article


Making An Outside Border Different From Interior Borders In A Table ?

Post by Simon Simp » Sat, 23 Jan 2010 03:42:32

No I'm not trying to do as you suggest. At the simplest level, if you
create a table of only one cell and you decide that you would like to
have thick borders top and bottom and thin borders left and right you
cannot do this as Word will make all the borders of the one cell table
one weight (either thick or thin).

If you then extend this idea to a more complex table with multiple
cells it is nice to have a thick border around the outside of the
entire table whilst thin ones separate the cells within. Again, this
seems not to be possible since Word will give the whole table and its
cells the same thickness (weight) of border.

It is possible to give different arts of tables different borders in
many other applications but it seems odd that I cannot achieve this in
Word (and I would like to do this in Word). Thus my initial thought
that I must somehow be stupid ! But perhaps not, perhaps its Word
that not so accommodating as I would like ?

Making An Outside Border Different From Interior Borders In A Table ?

Post by CyberTa » Sat, 23 Jan 2010 07:21:53

t's a given fact that adjacent cells share the wall that separates them, so
the right wall of cell "A5" can't be different from the left wall of cell
"B5". Likewise, the cells in the first row can't have a different Top Border
than what you choose for the Top Border of the table, & the cells in the
left column can't have a Left Border that differs from the Left Border of
the table, and so on. With that understanding, however, there is no problem
using different combinations of borders in a Word table.

How are you going about it?

It's best if you turn on the Tables & Borders Toolbar [although most of the
same features are available in the Formatting Palette's Borders & Shading
section]. There are 2 main ingredients that enable getting the job done:

1- Selection of only the cells that need to be formatted a certain way, &

2- Using the correct border button to apply the border of choice, which may
require the use of more than one button (i.e., if you want the border on 2
or 3 walls of the cell).

On the Tables & Borders toolbar there is a button 2 from the right in the
top row for choosing which wall to apply the border to. There's a similar
button labeled Type on the Formatting Palette. If you click the tiny
triangle on the right edge of that button it opens a palette of choices;
Outside, Inside, All, Top, Bottom, Left, Right... even diagonals.

Additionally, you may want to use the Table> Table Properties - Table -
Options button to "Allow spacing between cells". That may or may not be
useful for what you're trying to do. You can also improvise by having an
empty row at the top, merging the cells & adjusting the row height. Do the
same thing with an empty bottom row as well as with 'dummy' first & last
columns. It also gets a bit tricky if you try to merge or split cells
*after* applying borders to them... In fact, you can create empty
rows/columns anywhere in the table you want to & size them so small that
they virtually disappear except for the formatting distinction.

It's true that there are some programs that offer more table customization
flexibility, but most of those I've seen [that are at all reliable] also
weigh in with a price tag roughly triple that of the entire Office suite.

HTH |:>)
Bob Jones
[MVP] Office:Mac

On 1/21/10 1:42 PM, in article
Simpson" < XXXX@XXXXX.COM > wrote:


Making An Outside Border Different From Interior Borders In A Table ?

Post by Stephe » Fri, 05 Feb 2010 03:05:04

I recently wanted to set up a Su Doku template, and had the same problem as some of the lines in the table need to be in a heavier line weight than the remainder. I am using Word on a PC.

The answer is to highlight the cells where the top line, say, needs to be thicker. Then open the Borders and Shading palette; select the heavier line width you want to use, say 3pt instead of 1/2pt; on the Preview diagrams click on the top line so that it disappears; then click on the top line again, and it will reappear in the heavier line weight, while the other lines in the cell remain at the original line weight. Click OK to close the palette, and then go through the same procedure to change any other lines.

This worked for me.