How to Add Line Numbers in Microsoft Word for Office 365

936074 How to Add Line Numbers in Microsoft Word for Office 365

Adding line numbers to your Word documents can be very useful for referencing specific portions of text, especially in long and complex documents. Line numbers are commonly used in legal contracts, scripts, and academic papers.

In this comprehensive guide, you will learn how to add line numbers in Microsoft Word for Office 365, with simple step-by-step instructions and screenshots.


Before adding line numbers, make sure:

  • You are using the latest version of Microsoft Word for Office 365. Older versions may not have the same options.
  • The document is in Print Layout view. To check, go to the View tab and make sure Print Layout is selected.

Add Line Numbers to the Entire Document

Adding line numbers to the entire Word document is very easy:

  1. On the Layout tab, click the Line Numbers button.
  2. Select Continuous to number the lines consecutively through the whole document. Add continuous line numbers
  3. To restart the line numbering from 1 on every new page, select Restart Each Page instead.

That’s it! Line numbers will now appear on the left side of the document.

Add Line Numbers to Specific Sections

If you only want line numbers for certain sections:

  1. Select the text you want to number.
  2. On the Layout tab, click Line Numbers > Line Numbering Options.
  3. Click the Line Numbers button and check Add line numbering.
  4. Under Apply to, choose Selected text. Add line numbers to selected text
  5. Click OK twice.

Line numbers will be added only to the selected text.

Change Line Numbering Format

You can customize the look and layout of line numbers:

  1. On the Layout tab, choose Line Numbers > Line Numbering Options.
  2. Click the Format tab.
  3. Make changes as needed:
    • Number format – Choose the numbering format
    • Number position – Specify spacing between text and numbers
    • Font, Font size, Color – Change look of numbers
  4. Click OK to apply changes.

customize line number format

Restart Line Numbering Mid-Document

To restart the line numbers from 1 within the document:

  1. Place cursor where you want to restart numbering.
  2. Go to Layout > Breaks > Section Break Continuous. Insert section break
  3. Select the new section.
  4. On the Layout tab, choose Line Numbers and desired options.

Line numbers will now restart at 1 for that section.

Troubleshooting Tips

  • Line numbers don’t appear in headers, footers, text boxes or tables.
  • If line numbers disappear in Print Preview or on print out, go to Layout > Line Numbers > Show line numbers to toggle them on.
  • For older Word versions – line numbering options may be under Page Layout instead of Layout.

Remove Line Numbers

To remove line numbers:

  1. Select the text.
  2. Go to Layout > Line Numbers > None.

Remove line numbers


Adding line numbers in Word documents is easy and can be a great way to organize and reference long, complex papers. Use the Line Numbers button on the Layout tab to add continuous numbering or restart numbering on each page or section. Format the numbers as needed for fonts, colors and positioning.

Hope this guide was helpful! Let us know if you have any other questions.

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