How to Add Line Numbers in Google Docs?

Google Docs is an excellent choice when it comes to writing your essays, articles, journal papers, scripts, or even books.

While doing so, you may require line numbers to help with referencing within the document.

Other than that, line numbers will help you to keep track when reading so you can easily come back to the same line.

Similarly, when reading a book or journal, you simply remember the line number and come back where you left off.

Google Docs has no built-in functionality to display line numbers. However, line numbers can be added by other workarounds.

In this article, I will show you different methods by which you can add line numbers.

Earlier, an extension was available for the Chrome Web Browser for automatically adding line numbers to Google Docs. Unfortunately, the extension is no longer available on the chrome web store when writing this article. So adding line numbers to your Google Docs is a manual chore.

Method 1: Add Line Numbers in Google Docs Using a Table and Manual Entry

In this method, we will make use of a table and insert line numbers manually.

This method is beneficial when you have not started writing your document.

You add the line numbers as you go along.

  1. From the menu bar, click on Insert.
click the insert option
  1. The following menu will appear.
insert menu appears
  1. Select the Table option in the options that appear.
click on the table option
  1. The next menu will appear as shown.
table sub menu appears
  1. Insert a table having 2 columns by selecting the first two squares as shown.
select two column table
  1. The table will be inserted as shown.
two column table is inserted
  1. Resize the 1st column so that it is small compared to the second one as shown.
  1. In the 2nd column, write the text as shown. In this example, I am using some technical text I had from a previous project of mine.
the first paragraph in the first column
  1. In the first column, place the cursor at the starting position.
place the cursor at the top of the first column
  1. Type 1 and press Enter.
type one in the first column
  1. Continue to type the line numbers and the final result will look like this.
enter serial number for each line in the column

So in this method, we have seen how to add line numbers manually using the help of a table.

This method is useful if you have not written your document and are beginning to write it.

It may be difficult for you to add line numbers to an existing document especially if it spans multiple pages.

However, if you have a short document that is only one or two ages you can use this method.

If your document goes beyond 2 pages, this method may become cumbersome, and you may want to look into the second method.

Method 2: Add Line Numbers in Google Docs Using Numbered List Option

This method makes use of the numbered list option within Google Docs.

Unlike the previous method, this method is slightly more automatic however it also has its own drawbacks.

Let’s see the steps we need to take to add line numbers using the numbered list option.

We will use the same example text as we did in the previous method.

  1. Select the text as shown.
select the text for which you want to insert the line numbers
  1. From the toolbar, select the Numbered List option.
select the numbered list option
  1. The following menu will appear.
numbered list menu appears
  1. Select your preferred numbering style. I will use the first option.
select the preferred numbering style
  1. The numbering will be applied to the selected text as shown.
a numeric number is added before each paragraph
  1. With the cursor at the end of the 2nd paragraph, press Enter.
a number is added to the list as soon as you hit the enter key

As you can see, a new number is inserted, and you can continue typing your next line or paragraph.

So in this method, we saw how line numbers were added to individual paragraphs.

This method is not helpful if your sentences span multiple lines.

You can see that, in that case, the numbered list option simply ignores the continued sentence. But it may be useful to apply this to your document for quick paragraph referencing.

So in this article, we have seen two methods of adding line numbers to your document in Google Docs.

The first method is accurate, but it is cumbersome as it requires you to insert line numbers manually. It is more suited if you have not already written your document and if your document is only a few pages long.

The second method quickly adds numbering to paragraphs within your Google Docs document however it is not helpful if you require accurate line referencing.

If a sentence spans multiple lines, the second method will not display the line number beside the continued sentence.

However, if your document is many pages long and you have already written it, the second method may be useful for adding quick paragraph numbering for easy referencing.

Unfortunately, there is no easy way to quickly add line numbers to each line in Google Docs without a lot of manual effort.

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