Underline text or spaces

The quickest way to underline text is to press CTRL+U and start typing. When you want to stop underlining, press CTRL+U again.

You can also underline text and spaces in several other ways.

Underline words and the spaces between them

Example of single underline

Underline words, but not the spaces between them

Example of underlined words only

Use a double underline

Example of double underline

Underline blank spaces

Example of underlined blank spaces

Add a decorative underline

Example of decorative underline

What do you want to do?

Underline words and the spaces between them

Underline words, but not the spaces between them

Use a double underline

Underline blank spaces

Add a decorative underline

Remove underlining

Underline words and the spaces between them

  1. Select the text that you want to underline.

  2. On the Home tab, in the Font group, click Underline. Or press CTRL+U.Word Ribbon Image

    To change the underline style or color, click the Font Dialog Box Launcher, click the Font tab, and then change the Underline style or Underline color setting.

Top of Page

Underline words, but not the spaces between them

  1. Select the text that you want to underline.

  2. On the Home tab, click the Font Dialog Box Launcher, and then click the Font tab.Font Dialog Box Launcher

  3. In the Underline style box, click Words only.

Top of Page

Use a double underline

  1. Select the text that you want to underline.

  2. On the Home tab, click the Font Dialog Box Launcher, and then click the Font tab.Font Dialog Box Launcher

  3. In the Underline style box, click double underline.

Top of Page

Underline blank spaces

You can underline blank spaces by pressing SHIFT+HYPHEN (-), but it is difficult to line up the underlines — if you are creating a fill-in form, for example. Also, if the AutoFormat option for changing underscore characters into border lines is turned on, pressing SHIFT+HYPHEN (-) three or more times in a row will result in a line that extends the width of the paragraph, which may not be what you want.

A better way to underline blank spaces for a printed document is to use the TAB key and apply the underline formatting to the tab characters.

When you want to create an underline in an online form, insert table cells with the bottom border turned on.

Underline blank spaces for a printed document

To underline blank spaces for a printed document, use the TAB key and apply the underline formatting to the tab characters.

  1. On the Home tab, in the Paragraph group, click Show/Hide ¶ so that you can see the marks that indicate spaces and tab stops.

    Word Ribbon image

  2. Press the TAB key.

  3. Select the tab characters that you want to underline. A tab character looks like a small arrow.

    Tab

  4. Do one of the following:

    • Press CTRL+U to apply a simple underline format.

    • To apply a different style of underline, on the Home tab, click the Font Dialog Box Launcher, click the Font tab, and then click Underline style to choose a different underline style.

Underline blank spaces for an online document

To create an underline in an online document or form, insert a table cell with the bottom border turned on. This method ensures that when someone types on the line, the line stays in place.

  1. Click where you want to insert a blank underline.

  2. On the Insert tab, in the Tables group, click Table.Word Ribbon Image

  3. Click the upper-left box to insert a 1x1 Table.

    If you want to add introductory text, such as Name or Social Security Number, before the underline, insert a 2x1 Table.

    To change the length of the line, move the pointer over the end of the table until it becomes a resize pointer resize pointer (double-headed arrow), and then move the arrow right or left to lengthen or shorten the line.

  4. Click in the table (or in the second table cell if you created a 2x1 table).

  5. Right-click, click Borders and Shading, and then click the Borders tab.

  6. Under Setting, click None.

  7. Under Style, click the line type, color, and width that you want.

  8. In the diagram under Preview, click between the lower margin markers to add the bottom border. Make sure only the bottom line is displayed.

    Note   If you prefer to view the table without the light gray gridlines that do not print, on the Layout tab, in the Table group, click Show Gridlines.

    If you used a 2x1 table to make room for introductory text, you can type the text before the line.

Top of Page

Add a decorative underline

  1. Select the text that you want to underline.

  2. On the Home tab, click the Font Dialog Box Launcher, and then click the Font tab.Font Dialog Box Launcher

  3. In the Underline style box, click the style that you want.

  4. To change the color of the underline, click Underline color, and then click the color that you want.

Top of Page

Remove underlining

To remove single underlining from words and spaces, select the underlined text and press CTRL+U.

Note   To remove other styles of underlining, press CTRL+U twice.

Top of Page

Applies To: Word 2010, Word 2007



Was this information helpful?

Yes No

How can we improve it?

255 characters remaining

To protect your privacy, please do not include contact information in your feedback. Review our privacy policy.

Thank you for your feedback!

Support resources

Change language