Number Line

The Number Line tool is currently only available for Windows and Mac. It can be accessed using Puffin Academy on mobile devices.

Click to open the Number Line Tool in a new window

Representing Numbers
Adjusting the Scale
Addition and Subtraction Examples
Multiplication Examples
Division Examples
Decimals and Fractions Examples
Features of the Tool
Zooming and Panning
Keyboard Shortcuts
How-To Videos
PDF Supports

The Number Line is a powerful mathematical tool that can be used to represent numbers and build an understanding of various operations.
The current version of this tool has been designed to model addition and subtraction of both whole numbers and integers.
This tool can also be used to represent, order and compare numbers.

Take a screenshot of your work to share with your teacher or add to a portfolio.
You can insert pictures into the Tool using theimportPicture.PNGbutton.

E.g. Insert a screen cast of the question you are working on.

Representing Numbers

Values can be thought of as:
  • positions on the number line. Click the number line to create a point.
  • distances from zero. Click on zero and drag.
  • changes in position. Click at any starting point and drag.
Vectors or hops can be used to represent directed values.
Ribbons or magnitude bars can be used to think about only the number's magnitude..
Objects can be linked together to model a story.

eg. Sandy had 8 cookies. Her mother gave her two more, then she gave three to her brother.

Adjusting the Scale

Initially, the tool opens with whatever scale was selected from the opening screen.
Click the settings button to adjust this scale.
Set the Minimum and Maximum values.
Turn off automatically choose best scale to further customize the scale.

Addition and Subtraction Examples

Whole Number Example 1
There were 4 birds in a tree and then some more birds landed in the tree.
Now there are 11 birds in the tree. How many more birds landed in the tree?
Whole Number Example 2
Bob combined two Lego kits.
One kit had 325 pieces and the other had 496 pieces.
How many pieces does he have in all? Use math tools or models to justify your answer.
Integer Example 1
The temperature at 7 am was +3°C.
It rose 6°C by noon and then dropped 13°C by 7pm.
What was the temperature at 7pm?
Integer Example 2
I deposited a cheque for $320 dollars and then withdrew $400.
What is the overall change in the value of my bank balance?


Multiplication Examples

Multiplying 2-digit Numbers


Division Examples

Dividing Whole Numbers


Decimals and Fractions Examples

Although the Number Line Tool is currently designed for Whole Numbers and Integers, it can be used to solve decimal and fractions questions with a little imagination. The following short videos show some examples.
Fractions (Method 1)
Fractions (Method 2)


Features of the Tool


Annotation Tool

Make notes or highlight various features of your representation. More details.

Insert Image Button

You can insert images into the tool (as of version 1.1.0). More details.



Step backward or forward through your actions with the tool.

This feature is not only useful for backtracking when a misstep is made, it enables a student to demonstrate their work from the start to the finish. They press Undo until they are at the start of their solution and then press Redo repeatedly, explaining each step.


Delete all your work and return the tool to its starting state.


Access a link to this support page, a feedback form as well as copyright details and version number.


Adjust scale, number format, where + signs show.
Hide/show active areas.
Restore the tool to its default settings.


(in the work space)
Click to clear the entire work space.
Alternatively, drag items to the recycle bin to remove them.


(a specific object)
Click to remove the selected object.

Number Line Button Panel

This collapsible panel provides easy access to all of the Number Line
specific settings described in detail below.
Green highlights indicate that the setting is active.
Click the white arrow to hide/show the panel.

Number Line Orientation

Switch between a horizontal or a vertical number line.

Representation Objects

Choose between vectors, hops, ribbons or magnitude bars.


Hide/show labels on representation objects and/or number line.

Unit Ticks

Hide/Show unit ticks on the representation objects.

Object Linking

Allow/disallow the linking of representation objects.
Linked objects move as one entity.
Objects that are linked together are shown in light green.
Objects that are not linked together are shown in dark green.

Drop Dashes

Hide/show drop dashes from the ends of the objects to the number line.


Label Size

Increase/decrease label size.

Zooming and Panning

Zoom in on a position by
  • double clicking or
  • scrolling up using the mouse wheel.
  • pressing the + key

Zoom out by
  • double clicking while holding either SHIFT or CTRL or
  • scrolling down using the mouse wheel
  • pressing the - key

Zoom to fit by
  • clicking the black arrow on either end of the number line while holding SHIFT

To pan
  • click below the number line and drag either left or right


Keyboard Shortcuts

On the desktop version of this tool, the Keyboard Shortcuts for Undo, Redo, and Delete have been implemented.
In addition, the shortcuts for zooming in and out (+ and -) have been implemented as indicated above as well as shortcuts for working with imported images.

How - To Videos

Zooming and Panning to Compare Numbers

This video shows how to use the number line tool to compare 51 342 and 41 270.
It shows how to set a custom scale and use the zooming and panning features in order to plot these points.

PDF Supports

mathies Number Line Learning Tool Tip Sheet
Visit EDUGAINS for various Tip Sheets.

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