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The Case of the Line That Would Not Go

Updated: Dec 26, 2022

From Abstract Space Backgrounds by Eldamar Studio

A misplaced horizontal line in an MS Word document I was editing had to go. The problem was that it stubbornly dug its heels in and refused to budge. I placed the cursor at the beginning of the next line and backspaced. Nope. I tied deleting it from the previous line. Nope again. What was going on?

As usual, Googling the problem revealed the answer. (I never cease to marvel at how many features MS Word has under its hood.) Everything is explained in the linked article (see below), but I'm summarizing the essentials here to help me remember. This blog is as much a reference notebook and learning tool for me as it is ... well, a blog.

The stubborn line was not really a line but a special element that MS Word calls a border line. I learned that to remove a border line, I had to click on the dropdown next to the Borders icon in the Paragraph group on the main ribbon, and clear the check mark next to Borders. It was like magic: the line vanished in a puff of smoke.

I also learned a cool trick which I now use daily to partition my stylesheet notes neatly into sections: typing three hyphens followed by hitting ENTER inserts a border line. Neat!

Finally, to insert a regular flesh-and-blood line consisting of characters that can be deleted and backspaced (and not the ghostly border line), click on the dropdown next to the Borders icon in the Paragraph group on the main ribbon and select Horizontal Line.

I learned all this from this article by Joe Keeley:


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