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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Page numbers are one way to quickly find information in a document. But when you want to identify certain paragraphs or sentences in a document, add line numbers to your Microsoft Word document to make it easier to find information. Here's an explanation of what line numbers are and how to add line numbers to your documents.

Instructions in this article apply 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 decide how Word handles line numbers. For example, apply line numbers to specific sections, or number lines in increments such as every tenth line.

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

How to Add Line Numbers to a Word Document

To include line numbers in a document:

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

    If the document is divided into sections and you want to add line numbers to the entire document, press Ctrl+A to select the entire document.

    Word with the Line Numbers option highlighted
  2. Choose one of the following options:

    • 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, for example, to number at different intervals.
    Word with the Line Number options highlighted
  3. To add line numbers to a specific section or to multiple sections, choose Line Numbering Options to open the Page Setup dialog box, then select the Layout tab.

    Page Setup screen in Word with the Layout tab highlighted
  4. Select the Apply to drop-down arrow and choose Selected sections.

    Page Layout window in Word with the Apply To section highlighted
  5. Select Line Numbers.

    Page Setup screen in Word with the Line Numbers button highlighted
  6. Select the Add line numbering check box.

    Line Numbers box in Word with the Add Line Numbering command highlighted
  7. Select any other options you want, then select OK to close the window.

  8. Select OK to save your changes.