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How to get line numbers in Notepad on Windows 10

Text editors are apps that can be simple, or they can be complex. In fact, some text editors add so many features that they cease to be text editors and transcend to a higher app level. 

At its core, a text editor will accept text and allow you to save a file in various formats e.g. BAT, AHK, PS1, HTML, CSS, SRT, etc. There are all sorts of features that you can add on top of this to make entering, and editing text easier such as syntax highlighting, line numbers, auto-close tags, etc.

Notepad is the stock text editor on Windows 10 and its best feature is that it is a light, no-nonsense app that offers users a distraction free interface. The app opens quickly, can handle loads of text, and can save a file in any format

Line numbers in Notepad on Windows 10

Line numbers are a feature you’ll find in quite a few text editors and all code editors. They’re helpful and not just when you’re writing code. Sadly, Notepad doesn’t show line numbers along the side like a code editor or an advanced text editor normally would. 

To view line numbers in Notepad, follow these steps.

  1. Open a Notepad file.
  2. Go to View and select Status Bar.
  3. Enter text and move the cursor to the line you want to find the number for.
  4. Look at the bottom in the status bar and you will see the line number.

Other text editors

The Notepad line numbers aren’t the greatest since you have to click a line to find the number for it. Having line numbers appear along the side is really what most users prefer and Notepad doesn’t have that. 

There are other text editors though that you can use. We’re going to recommend two excellent apps. We will be ignoring apps like Notepad++ which, while excellent, is far too advanced to be called a simple text editor.

1. Metapad

Metapad is free, and has a terminal-like interface. It is as simple as a text editor can get with line numbers along the side. Because it so much like a terminal, you’re not going to be distracted by ugly icons or a poor UI design that’s stuck in the Windows 98 days. 

You can customize the background color of the app which means instead of a bright, blinding white background, you can get something that’s much easier on the eyes.

2. Brackets

Brackets sits snuggly on the fine line that differentiates simple text editors from advanced ones. The UI is great but you can change it so that you get nothing more than a simple, distraction-free window to work in. It has line numbers, and tons of other great features like a debugger, extension support, line selection, and a lot more.

It isn’t as light as Notepad or Metapad but it’s not heavy. During installation, it asks to be added to the PATH variable making it all the easier to use.


We’ve neglected quite a few popular text editors like Micro, SciTE, and Programmer’s Notepad. These apps aren’t bad but their UI is either cluttered or still following old design, or they tend to run heavy on a system. You’re free to check them out though and use whatever works for you.

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