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How to remove dotted lines in Microsoft Excel

Have you ever been working on an Excel spreadsheet when suddenly dotted lines appeared? While it’s fine for some, those dotted lines can be distracting for others. We’ll show you when and why these dotted lines appear and how to remove them.

There are some cases where you can see dotted lines in Excel. If you set your sheet to print or use Page Break Preview, you’ll see dotted lines for page breaks when you return to Normal view. Also, if you share a spreadsheet with editing privileges, a collaborator can add a border in a dotted line style.

Here’s how to remove the dotted lines in Excel for these situations.

Remove dotted lines after printer preview

If you print your sheet or just look at a print preview, you’ll notice those dotted lines appear when you go back to the sheet. These are page break indicators for your spreadsheet.

Dotted lines after viewing the print preview

RELATED: How to print a specific selection of cells in Excel

To remove the dotted lines, go to File > Options.

When the Excel Options window opens, select “Advanced” on the left. On the right, scroll down to the Display options for this worksheet section. Uncheck the Show Page Breaks box and click “OK.”

When the Options window closes, you should see the dotted lines removed from your spreadsheet.

Dotted lines removed after viewing print preview

Follow the same steps for additional sheets in your workbook.

Remove dotted lines after page break preview

Another time dotted lines appear on an Excel sheet is when using Page Break Preview and going back to Normal view from there. As with the printer previews, you will see lines for page breaks.

RELATED: How to insert, edit or delete page breaks in Microsoft Excel

When you enter Page Break Preview on the View tab, you’ll see solid and dotted blue lines indicating page breaks.

Page Break Solid and Dotted Preview

To return to Normal view, select “Normal” on the View tab. You will then see that the blue dotted lines are now black dotted lines and the solid blue lines are now solid black lines.

Normal view of points and solid lines

To remove these lines, follow the same steps as above for after printer setup. Go to File > Options, select “Advanced” and uncheck the Show page breaks box in the Display options for this worksheet section.

Show unchecked page breaks

When the Options window closes, the dotted and solid page break indicators should disappear.

Dotted lines changed to solid lines for borders

When you share an Excel workbook with others and everyone has editing privileges, you may see changes when you reopen your workbook. One of these changes may include borders where there were none before, or dotted cell borders.

RELATED: How to Add and Change Cell Borders in Excel

Excel offers different line styles for borders, including dotted and solid. You can remove the border entirely, or choose a solid line style instead of dotted.

Dotted line border in Excel

Select the cells that contain the borders. Then head over to the Home tab and the Font section of the ribbon. Click the Borders dropdown box.

Borders button on the Home tab

To remove the borders completely, choose “No Border”. This removes the borders from all the selected cells.

No borders in the borders menu

To change the line style, scroll down to Line Style in the Draw Borders section of the drop-down menu. From the popup menu, choose one of the solid line options.

Line styles in the Borders menu

You can then select the borders you want to change with your cursor, now shown as a pencil, or choose the border style you want from the Borders dropdown menu.

Click to change a border from dotted to solid

You should see the borders with dotted lines updated to solid lines.

Sometimes it’s those little things that show up that can be the most annoying, especially if you don’t know where they’re coming from. Now that you know how to get rid of dotted lines in Excel, see also how to remove grid lines.

RELATED: How to remove grid lines in Microsoft Excel


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