Word X: Editing page borders

Posted by Pierre Igot in: Macintosh
June 12th, 2003 • 1:16 am

Word is a royal pain in the you-know-what when it comes to editing page borders.

Typically, I use a page border on the title page of a document, which is the very first page of the document. In order to only have a border on that page (and not on all other pages in the document), I have to divide the document into two sections, by inserting a section break.

Once I’ve created two sections, I put my cursor somewhere in the first section, and go to the “Borders and Shading” dialog (Format menu). “Page Borders” is a specific tab within that dialog box.

The problem is that, by default, Word sets the “Apply to” option in that tab to “Whole document”. This means that, each time I want to use a border only on my first page, I need to remember to change that default option to “This section”.

But it gets worse. Even after I’ve specifically applied a page border only to my first section, if I put my cursor somewhere in that first section and go back to the “Page border” tab in “Borders and Shading”, Word displays the type of border that I have applied, but resets the “Apply to” option to “Whole document”!

In other words, even though my border is only applied to the first section, when I go to the “Borders and Shading” to edit that existing border, Word “forgets” that it only applies to the first section and puts “Whole document” in the “Apply to” field.

Of course, if I forget this quirk, and just edit my page border without changing the “Apply to” option back to “This section”, then as soon as I click “OK”, Word applies my page border settings to the entire document!


I know that in certain situations you don’t have to create several sections and can just check the “Different First Page” option in Word to add a page border to the first page only. But I cannot use this option if my page numbering starts after that title page — which is what you are supposed to do when you have a title page. (A title page doesn’t count in the page count.)

In any case, this is obviously a flaw in the “Page border” dialog. It is one thing that the default option when you want to create a new page border is to apply it to the whole document. (That’s bad enough.) But it’s quite another not to reflect the application range of an existing page border when editing it! It’s just plain wrong. A dialog box for editing existing settings is supposed to reflect these existing settings accurately.

3 Responses to “Word X: Editing page borders”

  1. raunak rele says:

    i want a border which is plain and outlined so that after taking out
    the print i can colour it with a sketch pen

    i am sure that you will do the work of mine


  2. Pierre Igot says:

    You can always create a border that consists of a double stroke (7th one from the top in the “Style” area in the Borders dialog). It’s not very flexible, though. (You cannot define the thickness of the lines and the width of the space between them independently from each other.) You can also try workarounds such as a “table within a table” type of thing, but it probably would require a lot of trial and error.

    For such page layout tasks, Word is simply not really appropriate.

  3. Curt Grothoff says:

    Just bought office 2003 and tried to use page border art in borders and shading. There is no art there. When I CLICK IT a download comes up and after a short time another sign comes up saying the file is not available. Where do I find or get the file to download into the page border art look in file? Thanks so Kindly Curt

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