Why Does Microsoft Word Put in a Vertical Line Every Time I Hit Enter?

Written by adele eliot
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Why Does Microsoft Word Put in a Vertical Line Every Time I Hit Enter?
Tracking changes to the document causes Word to insert a vertical line. (Burke/Triolo Productions/Brand X Pictures/Getty Images)

Microsoft Word is the popular word processing program pre-installed on new PCs with a Windows operating system. One feature of Word is that you can keep track of any changes you make to a document using the "Track Changes" feature. When you press enter, you are inserting a new paragraph and therefore a change.

Track Changes

Track changes is a feature within Microsoft Word that allows you to display edits, additions and deletions you make to the text within a Word document. Deletions are indicated by strike-through text, while added text will show in a different colour to the original font. Word indicates when a change has been made by inserting a vertical line to the left-hand side of the edited text. If you insert a new paragraph while tracked changes is turned on, you are making a change to the original text and therefore Word will insert a vertical line.

Copying Documents

If Microsoft Word inserts a vertical line every time you hit enter, this could be because the track changes feature is switched on within the document you are editing. If you haven't activated this feature yourself, it could be that you have copied and pasted the text from another document with tracked changes. In this instance, Microsoft Word will activate the track changes feature in the copied text and will continue to track changes in the new document until you switch this feature off.

Accepting or Rejecting Changes

One method to remove the vertical lines is to accept or reject all changes. In Word 2010, you can do this by clicking on the "Review" tab and finding the "Changes" group. Under this group, click on "Accept" and choose "Accept all changes" from the drop-down menu. Alternatively, you can pick and choose changes to accept and reject using the options in this group. Accepting or rejecting all changes will not turn off the track changes feature so if you have further paragraphs to insert and don't want to see vertical lines, you will need to turn off tracking completely.

Stop Tracking

To prevent Microsoft Word inserting more vertical lines in your text when you press enter, you can turn off the track changes feature. To do this, click on the "Review" tab and find the tracking group. When the tracking feature is turned on, the "Track Changes" button will be highlighted. To turn off this feature, click on the "Track Changes" button again. This will accept all changes you have already made to the text so you should only do this if you are happy with the edits you have made. Otherwise, you can accept or reject changes using the buttons within the same group before turning the tracking feature off.

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