How to Number Your Lines in a Word Document?

You can add numbers to your lines now by following some really easy and simple steps for Microsoft Word. The purpose of adding line numbers to your document is to help the reader find the reference with much more ease, in comparison to a document that has no line numbers used. Especially for a professional set up where often meetings take place, or when presenting something, you might want the audience to read something on a specific page, but because there were no line numbers a lot of time would be wasted when the audience will be busy locating the point you are about to discuss. To save that wasted time and to use it more efficiently, you can use this feature on Microsoft Word to help you add line numbers and make your work much easier.

Here is how you can add line numbers to your document.

  1. Open an MS Word document, and click on the ‘Page Layout’ tab on the toolbar. You will find the section for ‘Page Setup’, as highlighted in the picture below.
    Page Layout>Page Setup>Line Numbers
  2. To add line numbers, you will click on the tab for ‘Line Numbers’. This will show you a few more options for the different styles of numbering your lines.
    All the options for Line Numbers

    The default setting for MS Word is on ‘None’, which means no numbers for lines. But, if you want all your lines to be numbered continuously, without any gaps or difference in pages, you can choose the second option, which says ‘continuous’. This will number each new line, just as displayed in the image below.

    Continuous numbering

    The third option here, says ‘restart for each page’, which means, every time a new page starts, the numbering of lines for that page will begin from number 1. For reference, look at how the numbering has changed in the image below when a new page started.

    restart for each page

    The fourth option for line numbering is ‘Restart each section’. This is for those documents, which have two or more sections on the page and you want the numbering for each section to be unlinked. For this, you will have to create sections for your work, by clicking on ‘breaks’ under the same ‘Page Setup’ option, and select the type of section break that you want to implement. This will start the numbering of line in the new section again from number 1. As shown in the example below.

    Restart each section

    The second last option in the drop-down list for Line Numbers is ‘Suppress for Current Paragraph’. This kind of line numbering can be used when you don’t want a paragraph somewhere between the text to ‘NOT’ be numbered. I will simply click on the paragraph which I don’t want to be numbered, and select this option. It will remove the number from the specific paragraph.

    Suppress for Current Paragraph
  3. The last option in the drop-down list for line numbers, which says ‘Line Numbering Options’ are more detailed and advanced settings for the line numbers. You can change the distance between the content and the line numbers showing on your page, and you can change the first number that the lines numbering begins with.
    Line Numbering Option
    Select a point from where you want the numbering to begin
    More settings for the numbers as they will display on the document

    For instance, if you want the line numbers to begin with number three, you will choose to write three where it says ‘start at’ in the previous image.

    An example for beginning the numbers from another number and not 1.

Isn’t it easy to add numbers to your lines, sections, and paragraphs in a Word Document? This organizes your work in a much more manageable way. Say, for example, you are the presenter of a meeting, and you need to tell the audience about how the product of your company will benefit them financially if you had not added line numbers to your work, this is how you would give them reference to prove your point:

Please go to page number 5, paragraph 4 and line number 8.

This is a much longer and a more time-consuming method to make the audience read what you are talking about. Wasting their and your time. It also breaks the momentum of the presentation, making the interest you just created fade away with the confusion of finding that one line that you are referring to.

However, since you have learned how to add line numbers now, and if you have to tell your audience the same reference as above, you would say:

Please refer to line number 49.

This is an easier, quicker and more convenient way of conveying the reference for the presenter and an even better way for finding the reference for the audience.

Habiba Rehman
Major love for reading, but writing is what keeps me going. Dream to publish my own novels someday.