How-To

How to Enable and Customize Line Numbers in Microsoft Word

signing over document featured

When reviewing documents with others or creating a contract, you can enable line numbers in Word for handy reference points.

  • Line numbers in Word
  • Line number position options
  • Click Line Numbers in Page Setup
  • Customize line numbers in Word
  • Line numbers counted by two
  • Choose None or Suppress
  • signing over document featured
  • Line numbers in Word
  • Line number position options
  • Click Line Numbers in Page Setup
  • Customize line numbers in Word
  • Line numbers counted by two
  • Choose None or Suppress
  • signing over document featured

Using line numbers, you have handy reference points within your document. For things like contracts and scripts, or documents that you are reviewing with others, you can easily insert line numbers in Microsoft Word. And like many Office features, you have flexibility. You can decide how and where your line numbers appear.

To prepare you for using line numbers, we’ll show you how to insert them, what your numbering options are, and how to remove them if needed.

Insert Line Numbers in Word

To use line numbers in Word, you must be in Print Layout view. Go to the View tab and click Print Layout in the Views section of the ribbon.

Next, insert the numbers by heading to the Layout tab. Click the Line Numbers button in the Page Setup section of the ribbon. Then, select the line numbering option you’d like to use from the following:

  • Continuous: Numbers lines consecutively throughout the document.
  • Restart Each Page: Begins with number 1 on each page.
  • Restart Each Section: Begins with number 1 after each section break.

Line number position options

After making your selection, you’ll see the page numbers along the left side of your document.

Line numbers in Word

Notes for Line Numbers

Here are a few notes for using line numbers in Word to keep in mind.

  • A table counts as one line.
  • A figure counts as one line.
  • A text box counts as one line. If lines of text wrap around the box, those lines of text are counted. Lines of text inside the text box are not counted.

Customize Your Line Numbers

You have a few settings that you can adjust for your line numbers such as spacing from text and the starting number.

To access these settings, click Line Numbers on the Layout tab and select Line Number Options. Click the Line Numbers button on the Layout tab of the pop-up window.

Click Line Numbers in Page Setup

When the tiny Line Numbers window displays, start by checking the box at the top for Add line numbering. You cannot adjust the other options in the window if the box is unchecked.

Customize line numbers in Word

Start at: Select a number if you want something other than number 1.

From text: The default setting is Auto, but you can use the arrows to select a specific spacing for the line numbers in relation to your text.

Count by: Rather than numbering each and every line, you can set a Count By number. For example, if you select 2, your line numbers will count by two as in the screenshot below.

Line numbers counted by two

Numbering: Like the options in the Line Numbers drop-down box on the Layout tab, you can select Restart each page, Restart each section, or Continuous here as well.

After making your adjustments, click OK and then OK once more to apply them.

Remove Line Numbers in Word

If you want to turn off the line numbers, you can do this for the entire document or your current paragraph.

Click Line Numbers on the Layout tab. Then do one of the following:

  • Select None to remove the line numbers from the entire document.
  • Select Suppress for Current Paragraph to remove the numbering for a particular paragraph (where your cursor is located).

Choose None or Suppress

Get on the Same Page With Line Numbers in Word

Make sure everyone is on the same page, line, or paragraph with line numbers in Word. Whether you use them for a short time or keep them on the document forever, they come in handy!

For related how-tos, take a look at how to add page numbers to your documents and how to work with page and section breaks in Word.

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