AbstractSorption of carboxymethyl cellulose (CMC) on the fiber surface was applied during oxygen delignification to enhance the strength properties of softwood kraft pulp. Unlike many previous efforts, the focus was not set on the improvement of selectivity of oxygen delignification, i.e. retaining stable viscosity vs. decreasing kappa number. Instead, without an improved selectivity, handsheets from CMC-treated fibers exhibited a 15% improvement in tensile index and 25% improvement in tear index after a full bleaching sequence in comparison to the untreated reference pulp. Since it is demonstrated that the CMC addition can be incorporated as an integral step in the fiberline process, the method offers an effortless and viable option to produce pulp resulting in stronger paper products.