Tucked away on the far-right of Microsoft Word’s Table Design tab is the Border Painter, a useful little tool to let you copy existing cell borders to other parts of a table.
Border Painter saves the trouble of manually changing the table or cell border settings. Instead, just copy an existing border and paste the formatting (paint) to other table or cell borders.
If you’ve used Word’s Format Painter (which copies text formatting) then the Border Painter won’t surprise you.
We used Border Painter to copy the unfilled cell borders in our Wordle grid for Word example. Here we’ll do the same thing but with a wider border in red, so the changes are obvious.
Start with a single border that has the settings (style, color, thickness) that you want.
Click on the Table Design | Border Painter button. When hovering over a document, the mouse pointer changes to a paintbrush icon. Click on the border you want to copy.
Move the pointer to another border and click to paint the border settings. We have Layout | View Gridlines ON so they are easy to see but Border Painter will change any existing border settings to the new ones.
The mouse pointer does NOT change when it’s ‘loaded’ and ready to copy formatting to another border.
Click again on another border to keep painting the settings to other locations.
Border Painter can copy borders to another table in the same document.
Copy table borders to another document
Alas, Border Painter only works within one Word document. It can’t copy border settings to another document.
There’s a simple workaround. Copy the source table (or part) to the target document. Then use Border Painter to copy the border to the new table. Once you have the border settings in the target table, delete the source table.