How to Add Line Numbers to a MS Word Document

Close-up of numbers on paper
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Adding Line Numbers to your Microsoft Word 2010 document takes just about a minute to do. But why would you want to? Because sometimes, page numbers are not enough. How many times have you sat through meetings, everyone with the same document in front of them, flipping pages to try and find the same paragraph or sentence? 

It took us years to figure out how Line Numbers can help in meetings or actually anytime two or more people are working on the same document. Instead of saying, let’s look at the 18th sentence in the 3rd paragraph on page 12, you can say, let’s look at line 418. It takes the ​guesswork out of working in a group with a document!

All About Line Numbers

Page numbers dialogue in Microsoft Word

Microsoft Word automatically numbers all lines except for a select few. Word counts an entire table as one line. Word 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 Microsoft Word 2010 handles Line Numbers. For example, you can apply Line Numbers to specific sections, or even number in increments, like every 10th line.

Then, when it is time to finalize the document, you simply remove the line numbers and voila! You are ready to go with no frustrating flipping of pages and hunting for lines during meetings and group projects!

Add Line Numbers to a Document

Adding line numbers in Microsoft Word
  1. Click the Line Numbers drop-down menu in the Page Setup section on the Page Layout tab.
  2. Select your option from the drop-down menu. Your choices are: None (the default setting); Continuous, which applies to line number continuously throughout your document; Restart at Each Page, which restarts line numbering on each page; Restart Each Section, to restart line numbering with each section; and Suppress for Current Paragraph, to turn off line numbering for the selected paragraph.
  3. To apply line numbering to an entire document with section breaks, select the entire document by pressing CTRL + A on your keyboard or \selecting Select All from the Editing section on the Home tab.
  4. To add incremental line number, select Line Numbering Options from the drop-down menu. This opens the Page Setup dialog box to the Layout tab.
  5. Click the Page Numbers button. Select the Add Line Numbering check box and enter the desired increment in the Count By field.
  6. Click the OK button on the Line Numbers dialog box, and then OK on the Page Setup dialog box.
  7. To remove line numbers from the entire document, select None from the Line Numbers drop-down menu on the Page Setup section of the Page Layout tab.
  8. To remove line numbers from a paragraph, click on the paragraph and select Suppress From Current Paragraph from the Line Numbers drop-down menu on the Page Setup section of the Page Layout tab.

Give it a Try!

Now that you have seen how easy it is to add Line Numbers to your documents, make sure you try them out the next time you are working with a lengthy Microsoft Word document in a group! It really does make collaborating easier!