Line Numbering?

Once in a long while I see a template contract that uses Word’s line-numbering feature to include line numbering in the left margin of each page.

The idea, obviously, it to allow anyone involved in drafting or negotiating a contract based on the template to pinpoint language at issue—Let’s strike the word “material” on page 46, line 12.

That’s a laudable aim, but I’m inclined to think that using line numbering is overkill. If, as I recommend, you use sections, subsections, and tabulated enumerated clauses to break text up into blocks that are no more than about 15 lines long, citing a given block of text by its enumeration narrows things down sufficiently that the extra precision afforded by a line number would be of negligible value. And line numbering clutters up a page.

If you feel differently, I’m sure you’ll let me know.

About the author

Ken Adams is the leading authority on how to say clearly whatever you want to say in a contract. He’s author of A Manual of Style for Contract Drafting, and he offers online and in-person training around the world. He’s also chief content officer of LegalSifter, Inc., a company that combines artificial intelligence and expertise to assist with review of contracts.