Can't print table borders in Microsoft Word?

Applies to
Microsoft Word 97 and 2000

Do the borders disappear when you print a table? Were you able to print a table with borders, and then the borders didn't print the next time? In Microsoft Word, by default a new table has borders. The borders appear as single, solid black lines that define the table and each cell. The borders should appear when the document is printed.

Two reasons the borders might not appear when you print a document are:

  • The borders were removed from the table.
  • The print options were changed and are no longer set to print graphics.

Check your borders

It's not always obvious that borders are not applied to a table. When borders are not applied to a table, Word displays gridlines to make it easy for you to enter text in each cell. The gridlines appear as gray lines on the screen when Show Gridlines is selected on the Table menu. Gridlines do not print.

To check if borders are applied

  1. On the Table menu, select Hide Gridlines.
  2. Review the table and do one of the following:
If Do this
The borders appear on the screen Check your print options. For instructions, see "Check Your Print Options" in the following section.
The borders do not appear on the screen Apply the borders. For instructions, see "To apply borders" in this section.

To apply borders

  1. Select the table.
  2. On the Format menu, select Borders and Shading.
  3. Under Setting, select Grid.

Check your print options

In order to print borders, your print options must be set to print graphics. The borders will not be printed if you are in draft mode.

To print borders, set your print options as follows:

  1. On the Tools menu, click Options.
  2. On the Print tab, under Printing options, clear the Draft output check box.
  3. On the Print tab, under Include with document, select the Drawing objects check box.

Other solutions to printing borders

If you still can't print the borders after applying the borders and resetting your options, Word or your operating system might need more memory. As a general guideline, you need to provide 20 megabytes (MB) of free space to work with Word files. Large documents (10 MB or more in size) generally require more space. For more information about printing table borders, type troubleshoot drawing object in the Office Assistant or on the Answer Wizard tab in the Help window, and then click Search.