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: Adding Paragraph Numbering.

Adding Paragraph Numbering

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated January 28, 2017)

2

Patricia would like to add paragraph numbers to her document in the same way that it is possible to add line numbers, so that the paragraph numbers are in the margin of the document. She doesn't want to make all the paragraphs part of a numbered list, as that would get rid of existing numbered lists and bulleted lists in the document.

Word has no built-in capability to number paragraphs in the same way that it can number lines. The only way to do it is to create a numbered list out of each paragraph (and use a negative indent for the first line of each paragraph), but that runs into the very problem Patricia said she wanted to avoid—the ruination of other lists already in the paragraph. It makes sense, really; if you have text that is formatted as a numbered list for content purposes, then you can't apply a separate numbered list to the paragraph for Patricia's purposes.

The only potential workaround we've been able to discover is to add a small text box anchored to the beginning of each paragraph. Format the text box so that it is positioned within the left margin, and then add a manual number inside each text box. As paragraphs move, the anchored text box should move with it, so that the number remains where it should. You could also try using a SEQ field in the text boxes, but we've received some reports that the automatic numbering of the SEQ field won't work properly from one text box to another.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (8652) 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: Adding Paragraph Numbering.

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. ...

MORE FROM ALLEN

Using Early Dates

Excel is brilliant at handling dates—as long as they aren't dates earlier than the base date used by the program. If ...

Discover More

Moving Cell Borders when Sorting

Sort your data and you may be surprised at what Excel does to your formatting. (Some formatting may be moved in the sort and ...

Discover More

QuickWords in Word

WordPerfect users coming to Word may miss a feature called QuickWords. This tip examines some ways you can get around the ...

Discover More

The First and Last Word on Word! Bestselling For Dummies author Dan Gookin puts his usual fun and friendly candor back to work to show you how to navigate Word 2013. Spend more time working and less time trying to figure it all out! Check out Word 2013 For Dummies today!

More WordTips (menu)

Keeping Paragraphs on the Same Page

Don't want your paragraphs to flow from one page to another? Word provides a formatting setting that forces individual ...

Discover More

Hanging Indents in Wrapped Text

If you use hanging indents for some of your paragraphs, you may wonder why they don't look right when they wrap on the right ...

Discover More

Stepping Through Head Formats

You can use the shortcuts described in this tip to quickly change the heading levels of the headings in your document. You'll ...

Discover More
Subscribe

FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in WordTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

View most recent newsletter.

Comments

If you would like to add an image to your comment (not an avatar, but an image to help in making the point of your comment), include the characters [{fig}] in your comment text. You’ll be prompted to upload your image when you submit the comment. Maximum image size is 6Mpixels. Images larger than 600px wide or 1000px tall will be reduced. Up to three images may be included in a comment. All images are subject to review. Commenting privileges may be curtailed if inappropriate images are posted.

What is 2 + 1?

2017-02-01 13:15:21

barb

Turn paragraphs into a table; add column to left for numbering (I created that column in Excel for ease of sequential #g and then pasted the column back into the document).
the rows are numbered by the first column (which you can slide over into the left margin); and the paragraphs in the second column maintain whatever numbering system they had -- but then I'm not working with a large document in this test-just the couple paragraphs above.
p.s. i love Allen Wyatt's Tips -- have for many years; and, love too that my favorite # is required (to prevent automated submissions...) ok! that was meant as a chuckle
p.p.s and now I see Henry Noble's tip below -- apparently more advanced than mine!!


2017-01-29 06:27:13

Henry Noble

How about setting up a table using the Convert Text to Table function?

Adjust the left document margin and the column widths to obtain the desired appearance, then add paragraph numbers.

Manual addition of paragraph numbers is best done at the last minute if there is any chance the paragraphs will have to be reordered.

A more dynamic approach is to use a SEQ field, e.g. { SEQ numlist } in column 1.


This Site

Got a version of Word that uses the menu interface (Word 97, Word 2000, Word 2002, or Word 2003)? This site is for you! If you use a later version of Word, visit our WordTips site focusing on the ribbon interface.

Newest Tips
Subscribe

FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in WordTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

(Your e-mail address is not shared with anyone, ever.)

View the most recent newsletter.