Format line numbers


Ok guys - it is Friday and I am officially having brain freeze.

How on earth do I format line numbers to change from 1, 2, 3 to A, B, C?
I have trawled my way through some internet suggestions but just can’t seem to get it.

I am using Word 2013.

Any help greatly welcomed!!!


Hi Heather

It will be under Paragraph on the top ribbon > Numbering > select the A B C version. I was trying to attach a screen grab but can’t seem to do that. Let me know if you still have a problem.


If you can find the icon with the number bullets on it, click the down arrow and it should give you options to change? If you’ve deleted it, go to HOME tab and right click to get CUSTOMIZE RIBBON up and add it back in?


Sorry guys - I didn’t explain myself properly.

I am preparing a word document and need to have every 10th line marked A, B, C etc.

I have selected Page Layout, Line Numbers and adjusted it to show every 10th line - so far so good. BUT I need to change it show A, B, C, D on every 10th line not 1, 2, 3?


You should be able to change from 1,2,3 to A,B,C in there too - if there’s not an option for it, you will need to click “DEFINE NEW NUMBER FORMAT” and select it in there…


Caroline - whilst that changes it from numeric to alphabetic it loses the x 10 line count and inputs a letter every time you make a hard return.

I will keep trying.


Aha - no - I’m at a loss! I’m guessing there are text on those other 10 lines so you couldn’t just put a big line break space?


Yes you are right Caroline - there is text on those lines and I can’t spend the time counting every 10 lines. There must be something I am missing.


I have received a few replies from other forums and just thought I would share one of the responses in case it is helpful for anyone else. It is not what I will be using but someone may find it useful.

Word cannot automatically “number” lines with letters. The Line Numbering feature has no option to change the format of the numbers; and the paragraph numbering feature is exactly that, the sequential numbering of paragraphs rather than lines. (In Word, a paragraph is any length of text that ends with a paragraph mark, what you called a hard return.)
There is a way to fake it. This is best done only after all other editing has been completed, or else you’ll have to go through the whole document to make adjustments.
• Click in the first paragraph of text. Turn on nonprinting characters by clicking the ¶ button on the Home tab so you can see paragraph marks.
• Click Insert > Text Box > Draw Text Box.
• Draw a box in the left margin, from the bottom of the header area to the top of the footer area.
• In the text box, insert nine line breaks (Shift+Enter).
• After the last line break, press Ctrl+F9 to insert a field (it looks like a pair of braces, { } ).
• Between the field braces, type this: SEQ a *Alphabetic
• Press F9 to update the field, which will now appear as the letter A.
• Copy the set of nine line breaks, the field, and the paragraph mark at the end.
• Put the cursor between the A and the paragraph mark and paste three times. You now see four As, one at each 10th line.
• Press Ctrl+A to select everything in the text box, and press F9 to update all the fields. You should now have A through D on the first page.
• If necessary, move the text box up or down to align the letters with the correct lines of text.
• Click the edge of the text box and copy it to the clipboard.
• Paste a copy of the text box into the first paragraph of each page, position it as needed, select its contents, and press F9 to update its fields.

You may need to add or delete some line breaks to match up the letters with the correct lines.

(Note to other readers: Don’t suggest anchoring the text box in a header or footer. SEQ fields don’t work anywhere but in the main text story.)

Hope this helps.


Wow, I’ve often thought that sometimes you have to go a roundabout way to do things in Word, but that sounds like a special kind of roundabout! :slight_smile: Talk about Heath Robinson!