Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Word versions: 97, 2000, 2002, and 2003. If you are using a later version (Word 2007 or later), this tip may not work for you. For a version of this tip written specifically for later versions of Word, click here: Formatting Line Numbers.

Formatting Line Numbers

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated November 19, 2015)


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. Choose Styles and Formatting from the Format menu. Word displays the Styles and Formatting task pane.
  2. In the list of styles, hover your mouse pointer over the Line Number style. (If the Line Number style is not visible, use the Show drop-down list to choose All Styles.)
  3. Click the down-arrow at the right side of the Line Number style and choose Modify. Word displays the Modify Style dialog box. (See Figure 1.)
  4. Figure 1. The Modify Style dialog box.

  5. Make your formatting changes, as desired.
  6. Click on OK to close the Modify Style dialog box.
  7. Close the Styles and Formatting task pane.

If you are using Word 97 or Word 2000, you should follow these steps, instead:

  1. Choose Style from the Format menu. Word displays the Style dialog box.
  2. In the list of Styles, choose the Line Number style.
  3. Click on the Modify button. Word displays the Modify Style dialog box.
  4. Make your formatting changes, as desired.
  5. Click on OK to close the Modify Style dialog box.
  6. Click on Cancel to dismiss the Style dialog box.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (619) applies to Microsoft Word 97, 2000, 2002, and 2003. You can find a version of this tip for the ribbon interface of Word (Word 2007 and later) here: Formatting Line Numbers.

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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Comments for this tip:

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What is eight more than 7?

2017-02-15 13:08:48


Whenever I do this and try to save the document as a pdf, it always moves the line numbering back to the left side of the page. Any suggestions?

2016-02-10 18:42:15

Kit: If you read the box at the beginning of the tip (and the text at the end) you'll see a link to a tip for your version of Word.


2016-02-10 18:32:31


Okay, I'll rephrase; your articles does not say it is for Word 2013, but when I googled Word 2013 the first article I found was yours. Maybe something in your tags?!?

2016-02-10 18:30:40


Word 2013 does not have a format menu. You say in step one to select the format menu. IT DOES NOT HAVE ONE. It has File HOme Insert Design Page Layout References Mailigs Review and View and that's it. Now, how can we find the line number style in Word 2013

2013-09-05 08:29:24



You need to make your left page margin wider and then adjust the positioning of the line numbers as discussed in this tip:


2013-09-05 01:29:33

Kris Weythman

P.S. I am using word 2010 and windows xp-pro.


2013-09-05 01:27:28

Kris Weythman

I have a 30+ page document that I have been chronologically entering data. I have been using automatically numbered lines - similar to a legal document. However my numbering just went over 999 and now the "1" in 1000 does not show on the doc. or in "doc preview". How can this be adjusted?

2013-08-11 06:56:35


Many thanks for your excellent help. I've been able to add my line numbers and format them just how I want ... but how do I get them to display down the right hand margin rather than the left? Any clues much appreciated.

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