Manuscript Preparation, Copyediting, and Proofreading

Q. A number of experienced editors and proofreaders have told me it is unacceptable for a digit to come at the beginning of a line (reasoning that readers might mistakenly think the number is part of a numbered list). Consequently they mark any line that begins with a number as a bad break. I can’t find any documentation to support this philosophy. What do you think?

A. CMOS does not prohibit a numeral at the beginning of a line, but if in a given context the numeral looks confusing, by all means mark it to be brought up. It’s a printer’s error, however, only if the typesetter was given specs that prohibit such breaks.