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Formatting Line Numbers

Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Word versions: 2007 and 2010. If you are using an earlier version (Word 2003 or earlier), this tip may not work for you. For a version of this tip written specifically for earlier versions of Word, click here: Formatting Line Numbers.

Word allows you to add line numbers to your documents, as you have learned in other issues of WordTips. You might be wondering how to change the formatting of the line numbers. Word makes it quite simple by relying on styles for its line numbers. Simply follow these steps:

  1. Display the Home tab of the ribbon.
  2. Click the small icon at the bottom-right of the Styles group. Word displays the Styles pane at the right side of the desktop.
  3. Hover the mouse pointer over the Line Number style. Notice that a downward-pointing arrow appears at the right side of the style name. (If the Line Number style is not visible, use the Options link at the bottom of the Styles pane to change which styles are displayed in the pane. You'll want to display all styles.)
  4. Click on the downward-pointing arrow and choose the Modify option from the resulting menu. Word displays the Modify Style dialog box. (See Figure 1.)
  5. Figure 1. The Modify Style dialog box.

  6. Click on Format and choose the portion of the style you want to change. The options available through the Format button utilize dialog boxes with which you are already familiar.
  7. Click on OK to save your modifications.
  8. Close the Styles pane, if desired.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (6272) applies to Microsoft Word 2007 and 2010. You can find a version of this tip for the older menu interface of Word here: Formatting Line Numbers.

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Comments for this tip:

Heather Greig    04 Dec 2015, 12:05
Is it possible to change the line numbering from numeric to alphabetic?

I need to line number using A, B, C ...not 1, 2, 3
Mark Stewart    29 Oct 2015, 19:54
Paragraph numbering MUST BE occurring in every Word document background.
Paragraph numbering is specifically refereced in the following command:
All Commands, Links (2), Cross Reference.

Cross Rfeerence window is independent of Word application window, so both windows can be used in same session, independently.
Cross Reference window opening defaults:
Reference type: Numbered item
Insert reference to:
Paragraph number

Perhaps this paragraph numbering feature, which is evasive in workstation Word installations, is more prominent in Networked Word installations, where a group editing process occurs. The independent Cross Reference popup would seem to indicate...
Jackie S    07 Oct 2015, 16:39
Is there a way to make line numbering double spaced and text single spaced? In the Styles menu the paragraph formatting is grayed out.
Stephen Fennell    07 Oct 2015, 05:25
Thank you so much, Allen. Finding out how to change the line numbers from the crude default font of Courier to something that sits better alongside a serious text in a serious font is a boon!
Nance    06 Feb 2015, 15:01
WHEW - finally - this was so convenient AND easy. THANX!
Martha Hagelin    03 Oct 2014, 10:52
I need 32 lines on each legal page. Courier New, 12 pitch, double spaced. I have 2 pages that only have 21 lines and I can't force it to make 32 lines. I've tried everything. Any ideas?

Thank you! I've DESPARATE!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Sherey Gould    26 Aug 2014, 17:08
THANK YOU! Somehow my line numbers got italicized and I couldn't figure out how to undo that. As to Kristen G,clicking on the option doesn't work, as I just discovered, you have to right-click it.
Lage    13 Feb 2014, 13:51
Very useful and detailed. Many thanks.
Kristin G    04 Dec 2013, 15:46
The newest version of Word doesn't appear to have a formatting option for line numbering. There's a button for it, yes, but nothing on the pop-up menu indicates how to change the font or size of the line numbers. Help?
AJ    15 Nov 2013, 02:02
Very helpful. Thank you.
Alessandro Carmona    02 Jun 2013, 05:17
Very helpful, thanks a lot!
Ambrose    14 Apr 2013, 08:12
With line numbering your answer shows more light however- your answer does not provide the option to use 1), 2),3) instead of 1,2,3. Being able to add the ) is a significant advance.
Tove    19 Dec 2012, 07:05
Thanks a lot! It was very helpful. I couldnt find it anywhere else.
Mary M.    02 Nov 2012, 13:40
Very helpful. Thanks!

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