Counting Lines in Our Document

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We have written a long document, and we want to refer to a specific line in our document such as a legal document. What do we do? Well we don’t start counting lines with our fingers, that’s for sure.

Thankfully with Microsoft Word we can count automatically the lines in our document and display the line numbering at the left of each line.

In order to use the Line Numbers command we must select the Page Layout tab and then from the area of the ribbon named Page Setup we select the arrow at the right of the command Line Numbers in order for the drop down menu to appear as shown below.


As we can see in the image above, the option None is set as default. We also have available the following commands:

Continuous: By using this command the line numbering will be continuing as we type.


Restart Each Page: By using this command the line numbering will continue until we reach the end of the page and then it restarts counting on the next page.


Restart Each Section: If we have divided our document into sections, the line counting will end the numbering at the end of one section and start again from the beginning at the next section.


Suppress for Current Paragraph: By using this command the Line counting doesn’t count the current paragraph and continues counting the lines from the next paragraph.


From the drop down menu of the Line Numbers command, if we select the command Line Numbering Options the Page Setup window appears with the Layout tab activated as shown in the image below. At the bottom of the window we must select the button Line Numbers as shown below in order for the Line Numbers window to appear.


From the Line Numbers window we must activate the Add Line Numbering check box in order for the rest of commands to be activated.

Once activated, we can define with which number the line counting will start, we can define the distance that the line numbering will have from our text. We can also define on how the line numbering will count the lines, for example by five (5). Finally we have the commands Restart Each Page, Restart Each Section, Continuous, the same commands that were found on the drop down menu of the Line Numbers commands on the Page Setup tab.


We must keep in mind that Word numbers each line in a document except the ones in tables, footnotes, endnotes, text boxes, and headers and footers.

Below you can check out the video describing how Line Numbers work in Word:

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