Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Word versions: 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, and Word in Office 365. 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: Sequentially Numbered Labels.

Sequentially Numbered Labels

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated March 7, 2020)


If you work in a business where you need to sequentially number items, you might be wondering if there is a way you can use Word to create the labels for you. Word has many ways you can implement some type of numbering in your documents. For instance, you can use different fields for numbering, or use numbered lists, the captioning feature, or you can use mail merging. While all of these features (and more) use some type of numbering in them, they are not all well suited to creating labels.

Perhaps the easiest way to set up labels that have sequential numbers is to use the Envelopes and Labels capability of Word in concert with the SEQ field. Simply follow these steps:

  1. Display the Mailings tab of the ribbon.
  2. Click the Labels tool, in the Create group. Word displays the Labels tab of the Envelopes and Labels dialog box. (See Figure 1.)
  3. Figure 1. The Labels tab of the Envelopes and Labels dialog box.

  4. Erase whatever is within the Address box; it should be blank.
  5. Make sure Full Page of the Same Label (in the Print area) is selected.
  6. Click in the Label area if you need to change which label stock you are using.
  7. Click the New Document button. Word creates a sheet of blank labels.
  8. In the top-left label, type the word Exhibit, followed by a space.
  9. Press Ctrl+F9. Word inserts a pair of field braces in the label.
  10. Type SEQ and a space.
  11. Type a name for this sequence of numbers, such as "exhibit" (without the quote marks).
  12. Press F9. The field is collapsed, and a number appears in your label.
  13. Format the contents of this first label any way you desire.
  14. Copy the first label by selecting it and pressing Ctrl+C.
  15. Select each of the other labels in the first row in turn, and press Ctrl+V. You should now have a complete row of the labels.
  16. Select the other, blank rows of labels and delete them.
  17. Select the entire first row of labels and press Ctrl+C.
  18. Press the right arrow, which should place your insertion point immediately after (beneath) the first row of labels.
  19. Press Ctrl+V to paste a new row of labels. You should now have two rows of labels, correctly formatted. (Don't worry yet that they have the same numbers on them.)
  20. Press Ctrl+V for each additional row of labels you want. You want enough rows of labels to meet your entire needs. Thus, if you need a total of 125 labels, and you can get 3 labels per line, you should end up with 42 rows of labels.
  21. Press Ctrl+A to select everything in the document.
  22. Press F9. This updates all the fields in what you selected. All your numbering should now be correct.

If you need your labels to have leading zeros in their numbering, you can replace steps 9 and 10 with whatever is necessary to type the following. (I use the sequence name "exhibit" here, as is done in the main steps; you can use a different sequence name, if desired.)

SEQ exhibit \# "00000"

This is all typed within the field you created in step 8 and then collapsed into the final number in step 11. It results in a number that is five digits long, front-padded with leading zeros, as necessary.

If you prefer to not use the SEQ field to create the labels, you can also create them doing a mail merge. Conceptually, you only need to do the following:

  1. Create an Excel worksheet that has as many numbers in it as you need. For instance, if you need 175 labels, you will place a title in cell A1 (such as "Number") and the 175 numbers you need in cells A2 through A176. Make sure you save the workbook.
  2. Display the Mailings tab of the ribbon.
  3. Use the tools in the Start Mail Merge group to create a new document consisting of labels and specifying your data source (the worksheet you created in step 1).
  4. Create the sample label so that it has the word Exhibit followed by a merge field that represents the number being pulled from the Excel worksheet. Make sure the label contents are formatted the way you need them.
  5. Merge the information to a new document. You should now have a document that has all your labels in it, and you can print them as desired.

Of course, there are third-party solutions that are available for creating sequentially numbered labels. One such product is Bates Labels ( This product allows you to easily create as many labels as you need for a specific purpose.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (8694) applies to Microsoft Word 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, and Word in Office 365. You can find a version of this tip for the older menu interface of Word here: Sequentially Numbered Labels.

Author Bio

Allen Wyatt

With more than 50 non-fiction books and numerous magazine articles to his credit, Allen Wyatt is an internationally recognized author. He is president of Sharon Parq Associates, a computer and publishing services company. ...


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What is 3 - 2?

2019-04-23 15:18:15

Karen Young

How do I create multiple pages of sequential number labels? For Example: 1st page 0001-0080, 2nd page would need to be 0081-0161

2019-01-06 11:36:47

Carol Ragsdale

Thanks so much, Allen, for your excellent instructions. I was able to use them to produce formatted small labels to number hundreds of pages in a hard copy document, thereby saving my having to do that by hand. Looking forward to reading your newsletter.
Best Regards,
Carol R.
Washington, DC

2017-11-08 18:56:13


Is there a way to get the sequence vertically in columns as oppsed to across in rows as happens in this example ?

2017-02-21 15:31:45


Hello, is there a way to do it inversely, like starting with the sequential number and then the identifier? Like to produce 2014 Financials, 2015 Financials, etc.

2016-06-17 20:24:26

Duncan B, UK

I could not translate either of the options' instructions into anything that worked. I find they lack clarity and it is difficult to understand what you are supposed to do in each step of the process.

2016-04-13 15:54:50

Alberto Lozano

Worked great for me. Needed 400 labels (1-400). Thanks for the tip!

2016-03-16 13:55:40


Got the first page, 1 - 80. Followed the instructions for starting the second page by adding the r 81 switch. Just got a full page of 81. I think there must be a step missing somewhere.

2016-01-22 18:37:19


This is great! Easy instructions to follow.

2015-10-19 16:31:17


This was a great help. However, I need to do multiple pages of labels. How do I do the subsequent pages and keep the numbers going?

2015-09-08 07:06:47

Larry H, Harleysville, PA

Tip was exactly what I needd and worked according to the instructions.
Well done and thank you for making it available.

2015-08-29 13:02:36


I am using a mac. It does nothing on the screen when I press control f9.

2015-08-27 13:54:21

connie m

I pressed ctrl+F9 numerous times and did not get the indicated results. each time i got the control panel.

2015-03-23 03:03:16

V S Rawat

Nothing became clear,

You lost me by step 14. I couldn't understand where to create the no. 2... onwards, and how to save this label file, (which gets saved as a separate word file) and how to bring it in my table that I created in my original file.

And what to do with "Exhibit", I was just the serial no. and not any words there.

You need to rewrite the entire thing again in simpler words, may be with screen shots.


2015-02-05 14:59:16


Can you use this same form field in a footer of document?

2015-01-19 07:29:06

Sarah B

Does anyone know how to do this by changing the starting number please? I need to restart numbers at 3001

2014-07-25 09:31:05


GRACIAS! I did not think I would actually be able to accomplish this but my labels are PERFECT!!!

2014-06-09 15:31:30

Amy H

I used advice saying to update the starting number use:
SEQ exhibit r 90 (if you wanted to start with 90)
but when I used that tip it just made all of the numbers 90. Anyone have any suggestion of what I might be doing wrong? I want to start with 300.

2014-05-22 10:35:22

Connie B

This tip is great but it doesn't tell me how to start w/a number other than 1. I need to create a sheet of numbered labels starting w/1702. No matter how I enter it the only number that changes sequentially is the 1st number so my second label is 2702

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