Prevent blank lines from being numbered?

Not only does every attempt I have made at numbering a list include the numbering of blank lines, but the blank lines get big numbers, and the actual chunks of text get little numbers. The result I’m trying to get is of course no numbers for blank lines, and normal-sized numbers for each piece of text, however many lines it might be. Is there a way to do this?

It sounds as if you were trying to vertically space your list with empty paragraphs. This is a bad habit to forbid with any document application. The amount of vertical space (above and below) should be set through properties of paragraph styles. You can create as many styles as contexts you meet in your document (like beginning of list, running list item, final list item and others).

Read the manual about styles or, at least, the built-in help though it is not organised as a tutorial.

Eventually, provide more information and a screenshot editingyour question or commenting my answer. Don’t use an answer for something which is not (remember this site is not a thread forum but a collection of questions and answers).


Beginners create list clicking on one of the toolbar buttons buttons in the toolbar (left one for bulleted lists, right one for numbered list). Click a second time to stop generating lists.

Anyway, you are urged to learn what features are offered. Download the free manual from here.


To number existing paragraphs, put the cursor inside it and push the toolbar button. You can also select several paragraphs before pushing the button to number them in a single operation.

If paragraphs should be numbered (this includes the case of empty paragraphs, your so-called blank lines), push again in the button to disable it (it’s a toggling button).

(i’m sorry to insist that’s a beginner’s way of doing things causing a lot of manual work afterwards.)

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Sorry, I have no idea what you’re talking about, LOL! I have a long list of items that I would like to be able to number without spending an hour numbering each piece by hand, and without every blank line also having a number… Is there a way to do that?

Sorry, I’m not asking how to create a list, I’m asking how to number the lines of text that already exist, without also numbering the blank lines… Is there a way to do that?

Selecting multiple “paragraphs” and hitting the toolbar button numbers the blank lines, which is what I’m trying to avoid, selecting each “paragraph” individually and then clicking the toolbar button is no less time-consuming than just manually typing a number for each entry.

Do I understand from this that there is no actual way to simultaneously re-number all of the text and none of the blank lines?

Blank lines are a sin against proper use of document processors. If they have no meaning other than creating vertical space between paragraphs, they should be replaced by adequate settings in the paragraph style definition (for styles usage, read the manual). Blank lines are tolerated if they have a real semantic significance. This is why they are numbered as part of the discourse.

Free tip: to see where you have blank lines, View>Formatting Marks. This will also unneeded space characters or multiple spaces.

@LisaK , I feel your pain :slight_smile: I’ve been trying to figure out the same thing. I simply want to number paragraphs and leave the blank space between them unnumbered. Well, I haven’t been able to figure it out. So, I simply open the Libre Office document - saved as “.docx” in my old version of Word and format it there. In other words, it’s a feature that Word offers that Libre Office does not appear to offer. I want blank lines unnumbered between paragraphs, because that’s what I want. Period.


I want blank lines unnumbered between paragraphs, because that’s what I want. Period.

Yes, you are right, the world of MS-Word works differently.
But those who know LibreOffice-Writer see a better world.
Where is the trick?
You have to understand that Writer works and handles differently, more structured and I claim better.
However, if you insist on “I want it this way, and period”, you should stay with your beloved Word, there is nothing wrong with it.
If you do want to work with Writer, you might want to take advice and pointers from professionals like @ajlittoz .

If anyone has a useful answer, in other words something other than telling me to read an entire manual about document formatting that I will never use, or that I should learn and use elaborate document formatting to type a basic list, I’d sure love to hear it. I want to do something very simple, add numbers to a list such that the numbers are for the actual items, not for the blank lines… Is this doable in ANY program? Thanks!

The solution is Microsoft Word. It doesn’t number blank lines between paragraphs. Simple.
You finish a paragraph. Hit enter twice to leave a blank line between paragraphs. When you number the paragraphs, Word ignores the blank line. I totally support LibreOffice but I can’t understand why it doesn’t emulate this particularly useful feature in Word.

It isn’t a “particularly useful feature in Word”, it is a sin against intelligence.

LO Writer does it right. It numbers every line typed by the user because it contains information. If user typed an empty paragraph, this empty paragraph has some value for him and bears a specific significance.

This means vertical spacing must not be done with empty paragraphs because there are better means. In Writer, a paragraph is tagged with a paragraph style categorising the paragraph as a note, comment, citation, heading, remark, theorem, rule, directive, … or non-categorised text (bulk text).
Every such significance has some semantics and value, which is encoded in attributes. Among these attributes, you have space above and below the paragraph, i.e. vertical spacing. This vertical spacing is really dummy. No object is associated with it. Therefore, Writer does not see it and does not number it.

The fact that M$ Word does it wrong is not an incentive to degrade the smart way Writer follows.

Seriously, “a sin against intelligence”? Bit harsh. As someone who used Word for many years before LO I was just surprised that something that seemed so simple in Word didn’t work the same way in LO. I’m not judging which is right or wrong. They’re different. Repeat, different.
Now that I know that all I have to do is hit Shift/Enter and then Enter again to produce a blank line that doesn’t get numbered in LO, I’m a happy camper. But I have to tell you for some reason it wasn’t easy to find that solution. I find your tone very bullying. Perhaps unintentionally so. I’ll give you the benefit of the doubt. I accept your explanation. I assure you that I had no intention of degrading LO. But suggesting that what Word does is “wrong” just made me chuckle. What I find very unfunny at the moment is the fact that my recently installed LO seems to be hanging pretty much every time I open a new document. I’m on OSX 10.15.7. Sigh.

What I find very unfunny at the moment is the fact that my recently installed LO seems to be hanging pretty much every time I open a new document. I’m on OSX 10.15.7.

Please ask a separate question on this topic. Thank you.

Sorry wasn’t intending to ask that question here. Just an observation.

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It’s quicker and easier to just number each item than to do Shift/Enter Enter after it… but beyond that, it doesn’t help with the original problem, which is to number a list that has already been created, without doing something that takes as much time as just going back and adding numbers, or reading a whole manual and creating some elaborate… whatever that other guy was talking about, lol.

Word is $70 per year; not worth it to be able to number a few lists.

The truest test of the value of any text-handling program is, can you do basic, typical tasks quickly, easily, and in an intuitive way. Having to read a manual and create an elaborate style sheet to write a grocery list is a FAIL, and so is having no way to select items and have the program understand that a list is text, NOT blank lines.

@ljc: apologies, I completely misunderstood your question/remark and went on a wrong track. You added to an old topic and I didn’t reread the original question which was about list numbers. I was abused by my superficial reading and thought you were talking about line numbering which can automatically be added in the margin for easy reference in legal text or others.

I assume you are direct formatting your text and mainly relying on toobar buttons or keyboard shortcuts as this is the inherited routine from M$ Word. And this is where most of formatting problems occur.

In this context, you have a much easier way to disable list numbering: after typing Enter to end your previous list item, you create a new item (at this point, you only have the number and empty contents); press Backspace (in start of list context, it deletes the number only; to delete the paragraph mark, you must press Backspace again). Type your paragraph contents.

Warning Shift+Enter may cause you trouble, notably if you justify your paragraphs.

What I previously wrote about vertical spacing is still valid. To make progress in Writer usage, I recommend you read the Writer Guide. It may give you some introspection about author’s job. Styles are great friends.

LibreOffice Help on Adding Line Numbers.
Don’t know in which version this function was added, but is valid at

@LeroyG the Link is named “latest”, which at the moment is called

Yes, I manually changed from “7.2” to “latest”, so the link remains valid in time. Maybe it is inherited from OpenOffice.