Add or remove line numbers

Microsoft Word can automatically count the lines in a document and display the appropriate number beside each line of text. This is useful when you need to refer to specific lines in a document, such as a script or a legal contract.

Line numbering

By default, Word numbers every line in a document (except those in tables, footnotes, endnotes, text boxes (text box: A movable, resizable container for text or graphics. Use text boxes to position several blocks of text on a page or to give text a different orientation from other text in the document.), and headers and footers (header and footer: A header, which can consist of text or graphics, appears at the top of every page in a section. A footer appears at the bottom of every page. Headers and footers often contain page numbers, chapter titles, dates, and author names.)). However, you can choose which line numbers to display. For example, you can display line numbers in all or part of the document. Or you can display line numbers at intervals, such as every tenth line (10, 20, 30, and so on).

What do you want to do?


Add line numbers

You can add line numbers to all or part of a document. To view line numbers, you must be in Print Layout view (View tab, Document Views group).

 Notes 

  • A table is counted as one line.
  • A figure is counted as one line.
  • A text box is counted as one line if it is positioned inline with the text on the page. If text on the page wraps around the text box, the lines of text on the page are counted. Lines of text inside a text box are not counted.

Add line numbers to an entire document

  1. On the Page Layout tab, in the Page Setup group, click Line Numbers.

Word Ribbon Image

 Note   If your document is divided into sections and you want to add line numbers to the entire document, you first need to select the document. Click Select in the Editing group on the Home tab, and then click Select All. Or press CTRL+A.

  1. Do one of the following:
    • To number consecutively throughout the document, click Continuous.
    • To start with number 1 on each page, click Restart Each Page.
    • To start with number 1 after each section break, click Restart Each Section.

Add line numbers to a section or to multiple sections

  1. Click in a section (section: A portion of a document in which you set certain page formatting options. You create a new section when you want to change such properties as line numbering, number of columns, or headers and footers.) or select multiple sections.
  2. On the Page Layout tab, in the Page Setup group, click Line Numbers.

Word Ribbon Image

  1. Click Line Numbering Options, and then click the Layout tab.
  2. In the Apply to list, click Selected sections.
  3. Click Line Numbers.
  4. Select the Add line numbering check box, and then select the options that you want.

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Remove line numbers

You can remove line numbers from the entire document, from a section, or from a paragraph.

  1. Click in the document, or click in the section or paragraph from which you want to remove line numbers. If you want to remove line numbers from multiple sections, select the sections.
  2. On the Page Layout tab, in the Page Setup group, click Line Numbers.

Word Ribbon Image

  1. Do one of the following:
    • To remove line numbers from the entire document or section, click None.
    • To remove line numbers from a single paragraph, click Suppress for Current Paragraph.

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Applies to:
Word 2010, Word 2007