Adding Line Numbers To A Word Document

When submitting a manuscript to a journal, for example, it is often required to include line numbers within the document to make it easier when reviewing. In this walkthrough, I will explain how to insert line numbers to a document in Microsoft Word.

1. Open a document in Word

The first thing to do is to open a document in Microsoft Word, or create a new one for that matter. In the example below, I have created a one-page document with text denoting each line.

What I want to do here is to add line numbers, which will be placed along the left side of the document.

2. Find the ‘Line Numbers’ tab

To insert line numbers in Word, you must go to ‘Layout > Line Numbers‘ tab. You will notice a small arrow next to the button. Click the button to see the options.

The option should be set to ‘None‘ as default. Below this, there are different options to choose from, each of which are summarised below.

  • Continuous: By selecting ‘Continuous‘, line numbers will be added onto every page within the document. The line numbers will be in ascending order as you go down the document, and the sequence will continue into other pages.
  • Restart Each Page: This option adds line numbers into each page, however, the numbering will start at 1 again on each new page.
  • Restart Each Section: If you select ‘Restart Each Section‘ the line numbering will restart after each section break, if you have these in the document.
  • Suppress for Current Paragraph: The ‘Suppress for Current Paragraph‘ option can be picked alongside any of the above. You can turn off line numbering for individual paragraphs if you so wish.

For our example, I will just select the ‘Continuous‘ option. Here is what it now looks like.

3. Advanced line number settings

From the line numbering dropdown options, you will notice at the bottom it says ‘Line Numbering Options‘. If you select this, a new window will open called ‘Page Setup‘. From here, click the ‘Line Numbers…‘ button towards the bottom. A new small window will open called ‘Line Numbers‘.

This window will enable further advanced settings, such as changing what number the numbering starts and by what count.

Once you have tweaked these, click the ‘OK‘ button and then the ‘OK‘ button in the ‘Page Setup‘ window to save the changes.


Microsoft Word version used: 2016


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