How to Remove the Dotted Lines in Excel

how to remove the dotted lines in excel

Microsoft Excel is a vital tool in organizing business. It is a very powerful and customizable program that may require some time getting used to. However, its applications are almost limitless. This standard isn’t likely to change anytime soon, but Excel remains quite a beast to master, even though its basics aren’t so challenging.

Excel has a wide variety of uses and aesthetics usually don’t play an important role here. However, this tool is frequently used for presentations, and in this case, both aesthetics and presentability play vital roles.

One of the most frequent barriers for effective presentation are dotted lines, particularly because they appear in a number of ways, yet with completely different purposes. Here’s how to deal with dotted lines in Excel.

Removing Dotted Cell Borders

For printing and presentation purposes, merging cells or cell groups for a better, more engaging appearance is a common practice. Removing dotted cell borders doesn’t necessarily mean removing borders altogether. It might mean changing the borders by adding a different style. Do this by selecting the Home tab, located at the top of the screen.

Click the Borders drop-down menu. This will reveal a list of border options for the selected cell or a range of cells. If your currently selected borders are dotted lines, simply change the border options to a desirable choice, or turn off the borders altogether.


Removing Spreadsheet Gridlines

Excel displays gridlines by default. What are gridlines? Well, the faint lines that show the borders around individual or within merged cells are called gridlines. These might not be displayed as dotted lines in the newer versions of Microsoft Excel, but they still might be annoying if you want your data not to look like a typical spreadsheet. These gridlines are frequently referred to as “cell borders”, which is why turning them off might present a problem.

Unlike borders, which are customizable for any cell, these lines affect the entire spreadsheet. If you’re looking to present your data in printed form, you don’t really need to worry about gridlines, because these don’t appear in print, while cell borders do. However, if you want to make a virtual presentation, you might want to remove the gridlines. Select the View tab at the top and find the checkmark in the Gridlines box. Uncheck it.

Removing a Page Break

Another cause for unexpected, strange dotted lines might be a part of the page break problem. When you’ve formatted your spreadsheet for print, page breaks are shown as lines. In newer Office versions, the manually added page breaks are presented as solid lines, which may be something you’ve wanted to do on purpose, whereas the automatic page breaks are displayed as dotted lines.

If you don’t want those dotted lines on your presentation or were using the solid line just in order to make your job easier, you’re probably going to want them removed for presentation purposes. To do this, select a cell in a row that immediately follows the primary page break. Go to the Page Layout tab at the top and navigate to Breaks in the Page Setup section. Click here and select Remove Page Break. This is how to remove the solid horizontal lines in Normal View.

show page breaks

However, the dotted lines that are generated automatically will still be there. Remove them by selecting the File tab at the top of the screen. Then, navigate to Options, located in the menu on the left. Click Advanced and scroll down to Display options for this worksheet. Uncheck the box next to the Show page breaks option.

Contact the Support

Yes, this does sound strange for a Microsoft Office tool, but more often than not, trying to fix an Excel problem on your own will lead to a lot of wasted time. In fact, sometimes the problem is even more complex, which is exactly why Excel tech support is available 24/7. Contact the tech support and let them take over.


Fixing the Problem on Your Own

This may sound contradictory, but even though you shouldn’t refrain from contacting the tech support, sometimes you’ll need to take the matter into your own hands. This is probably the hardest and the best way to learn Excel. Knowing how to navigate around this fantastic app is very useful and looks great in a CV.

If you decide to take the matters into your own hands, you’ll likely need no more than 15-20 minutes to read these instructions and solve the problem.

Do you know another way to remove dotted line that we’ve missed? If so, drop us a line in the comments section below.

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