How to Get Rid of a Dotted Line in Excel: Step-by-Step Guide

Excel is a powerful tool for organizing and analyzing data, but sometimes it throws a curveball, like an unexpected dotted line that just won’t go away. To remove it, you simply need to go to the ‘Page Layout’ tab, click on ‘Breaks’, then select ‘Reset All Page Breaks’. That pesky line is now a thing of the past!

After completing this action, the dotted line that represented a page break in Excel will be removed. This will clean up your spreadsheet’s appearance and can also prevent any printing issues caused by the presence of a manual page break.


When working with Excel, have you ever encountered a dotted line that seems to appear out of nowhere and refuses to budge? It’s like a stubborn stain on a white shirt – you just want it gone. This line is actually a page break, which Excel automatically inserts to indicate where a new page begins when printing. While it serves a purpose, it can be an eyesore and interfere with your data presentation.

Knowing how to remove these lines is crucial, especially if your spreadsheet is meant for a presentation or needs to be printed. Besides, a clean and streamlined spreadsheet helps maintain focus on the data itself, rather than being distracted by unnecessary visual elements. This skill is relevant to anyone who uses Excel for work, school, or personal projects. By the end of this article, you’ll be the go-to person for cleaning up spreadsheets and making them look their best.

Step by Step Tutorial on How to Get Rid of a Dotted Line in Excel

Before we dive into the steps, it’s important to understand that following these will remove manual page breaks from your worksheet. This will not impact your data or layout, only the page break lines.

Step 1: Navigate to the ‘Page Layout’ Tab

Click on the ‘Page Layout’ tab in the Excel ribbon.

The ‘Page Layout’ tab is where you can control how your workbook will appear when printed. It contains options for margins, orientation, size, print area, and breaks.

Step 2: Select ‘Breaks’

Under the ‘Page Setup’ section, click on ‘Breaks’.

You’ll find ‘Breaks’ in the ‘Page Setup’ group. This is where you can add or remove page breaks. Excel differentiates between automatic and manual page breaks; we are targeting the latter.

Step 3: Choose ‘Reset All Page Breaks’

Click on ‘Reset All Page Breaks’ to remove the manual page breaks.

By choosing ‘Reset All Page Breaks’, all the dotted lines that indicate manual page breaks will disappear. Your spreadsheet will be back to its pristine condition.


Enhanced ReadabilityRemoving the dotted lines declutters your spreadsheet, making it easier to read and understand your data.
Better PresentationA cleaner worksheet is more professional and visually appealing, especially when sharing your work with others.
Printing ClarityEliminating manual page breaks ensures that your printouts reflect only the data you want, without arbitrary divisions.


Loss of Manual BreaksIf you’ve carefully set up manual page breaks, using ‘Reset All Page Breaks’ will remove all of them, not just the selected one.
Potential ConfusionUsers may not realize that the dotted line represents a page break and may try other methods to remove it, wasting time.
Limited ControlResetting breaks offers no granularity; you cannot remove just one break if multiple have been set.

Additional Information

While the steps above are straightforward, it’s beneficial to understand a bit more about page breaks. Excel automatically adds dashed lines to indicate where pages will end if printed. However, you can also insert your own manual page breaks if you want control over where a page ends. It’s when these manual breaks become superfluous or unintended that you’ll want to remove them.

Another tip is to switch to ‘Normal’ view if you’re having trouble finding the ‘Breaks’ option, as it is not available in ‘Page Break Preview’ or ‘Page Layout’ views. Also, remember that removing dotted lines will not affect your worksheet’s content or formatting – it merely tidies up how the spreadsheet looks on your screen and when printed.


  1. Open the ‘Page Layout’ tab.
  2. Click on ‘Breaks’.
  3. Select ‘Reset All Page Breaks’.

Frequently Asked Questions

Will removing the dotted line affect my data?

No, removing the dotted line will not affect your data. It only affects the visual representation of page breaks in the spreadsheet.

Can I remove just one manual page break instead of all?

Excel does not provide an option to remove a single manual page break through the ‘Page Layout’ tab. You would have to manually adjust where the breaks fall by dragging them.

What if the dotted line does not disappear after following these steps?

Ensure you are in ‘Normal’ view, as the ‘Breaks’ option is not available in other views. If the issue persists, there may be other formatting causing the appearance of a line.

Can I undo the removal of manual page breaks?

Yes, if you immediately realize you need to undo the action, use the undo command (Ctrl + Z) to revert the changes.

Why does Excel add these dotted lines?

Excel adds dotted lines to indicate where the pages will break when you print your document. They are a helpful guide for organizing printed material.


So, there you have it – a simple yet effective way to get rid of a dotted line in Excel. Whether you’re prepping for a major presentation or just tidying up your personal budget spreadsheet, knowing how to remove these lines can make all the difference. Remember, it’s all about keeping your data presentation clear, concise, and free of distractions.

As we wrap up, consider exploring more Excel features that can enhance your data management skills. There’s a world of shortcuts, formulas, and formatting tricks waiting to be discovered. And if you ever find yourself stuck with another stubborn dotted line or any Excel conundrum, don’t hesitate to reach out to forums, online communities, or even a coworker who’s an Excel whiz. Keep learning, keep experimenting, and your spreadsheets will be the envy of the office in no time!

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