How to Add Line Numbers to a Microsoft Word Document

Organize your documents by numbering them

Close-up of numbers on paper.

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How many times have you sat through a meeting where everyone with the same document in front of them is flipping pages to try and find a certain paragraph or sentence? Adding line numbers to your Microsoft Word document can help with that. Because sometimes, page numbers are not enough. In this guide, we'll explain what line numbers are, exactly, and how to add them to your documents.

This guide applies to Word for Office 365, Word 2019, Word 2016, Word 2013, Word 2010, and Word 2007.

All About Line Numbers

Microsoft Word automatically numbers all lines except for a select few. It counts an entire table as one line. It also skips text boxes, headers and footers, and footnotes and endnotes.

Microsoft Word does count figures as one line, as well as a text box that has inline with text wrapping applied. However, the lines of text within the text box are not counted.

You can decide how Word handles line numbers. For example, you can apply them to specific sections, or even number in increments, such as every tenth line.

Then, when it's time to finalize the document, you simply remove the line numbers and you are ready to go.

How to Add Line Numbers to a Word Document

  1. Go to Layout > Page Setup > Line Numbers.

    If your document is divided into sections and you want to add line numbers to the entire document, you first need to select the entire document. You can do that by pressing CTRL+A.

  2. Choose one of the following options from the drop-down menu:

    • Continuous: Allows consecutive numbering throughout the document.
    • Restart Each Page: Starts each page with the number 1.
    • Restart Each Section: Starts with number 1 after each section break.
    • Line Numbering Options: Allows more advanced line numbering options. If you want to number at different intervals, for example, you can do that here.
    Line numbering options in Word 365
  3. If you want to add line numbers to a specific section or to multiple sections, choose Line Numbering Options from the menu, then click the Layout tab.

    Page Setup Layout tab in Word 365
  4. Choose Selected sections in the Apply to list.

    Page setup options in Word 365 with
  5. Select Line Numbers, then check the box marked Add line numbering.

    Line numbers options in Word 365
  6. Select any other options you want, then press OK to close the window. Press OK again to save your changes.