How to Add Line Numbers in Microsoft Word

291956 How to Add Line Numbers in Microsoft Word

Adding line numbers in Microsoft Word can be very useful for referencing specific parts of a document, especially long legal contracts or book manuscripts. In this article, I will walk you through the step-by-step process to add continuous line numbers as well as line numbers that restart on each page or section.


Before we get started, make sure you have the following:

  • Microsoft Word 2007 or newer
  • A document you want to add line numbers to. It can be a new blank document or an existing one.

Step 1: Turn on Line Numbers

  1. Open the Word document you want to add line numbers to.
  2. Click on the Layout tab in the top ribbon.
  3. In the Page Setup section, click the Line Numbers button.

Line Numbers button

  1. Select one of the following line numbering options:
    • Continuous – Numbers each line sequentially from the beginning of the document to the end, ignoring page breaks. Best for book manuscripts or long contracts.
    • Restart each page – Restarts the line numbering at 1 on top of each page. Useful for scripts.
    • Restart each section – Restarts the line numbering at 1 at each section break. Helpful for legal documents divided into sections.
  2. Line numbers should now appear on the left side of the document.

Step 2: Customize Line Numbering Options (Optional)

If you want more advanced options for customizing the line numbers, follow these steps:

  1. Click the Line Numbers button again.
  2. Select Line Numbering Options at the bottom.
  3. In the Line Numbers dialog box, adjust options like:
    • Numbering count format (1, 2, 3 or i, ii, iii etc)
    • Distance from text
    • Starting number
    • How often line numbers restart
  4. Click OK when done.

Line Numbering Options dialog

Step 3: Change Line Number Style (Optional)

You can also customize the look of the line numbers by changing its text style:

  1. On the Home tab, open the Styles pane.
  2. Right click on Line Number and select Modify.
  3. In the dialog box, pick font style, size and color.
  4. Click OK.

Modify Line Number style

The line numbers will update to reflect the new style.

Step 4: Add Line Numbers to Parts of a Document

To number lines only in certain parts of the document:

  1. Select the text you want to number lines for
  2. On the Page Layout tab, click Line Numbers
  3. Select Line Numbering Options
  4. In the dialog, go to the Layout tab
  5. Choose Selected sections under Apply to
  6. Click OK twice.

Step 5: Remove Line Numbers

Here is how to remove line numbers when you no longer need them:

  1. Click the Line Numbers button on the Layout tab.
  2. Choose None.
  3. The line numbers will disappear.

And that’s it! With these simple steps, you can add line numbers to Word documents for easier reference and citations. Let me know in the comments if you have any other questions.


Q: Can I restart line numbering at a specific number?

A: Yes, in the Line Numbering Options dialog, go to the Numbering tab and set the “Start at” value to the number you want to restart from.

Q: How do I number appendices separately?

A: Place a section break before the appendices, then go to Line Numbering Options, Layout tab and choose “Restart each section”. This will restart the numbering at 1 for the appendices.

Q: Why are my line numbers missing on some pages?

A: Line numbers don’t appear inside text boxes, tables, headers/footers and other non-text regions. You can try minimizing use of text boxes to keep the numbering continuous.


Adding line numbers in Word is very simple and only takes a few clicks. Now you know how to add them to an entire document or specific parts, restart them on each page or section, customize their appearance and more.

Use line numbers wisely to help your readers reference parts of your documents easily. They can be invaluable for reviewing long manuscripts or legal contracts.

Let me know in the comments if you have any other questions!

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