Page numbering

Set up your document for success: page numbering

posted in: academic editing | 0

I’m often asked for help with numbering pages, especially with longer works like a thesis or a dissertation. Numbering pages enables your reader to find their way about the document easily, and if you’ve followed last month’s blog and learnt how to add a table of contents then you’ll want the pages that it automatically links to, to be numbered. Don’t worry – you won’t have to go through the document and do this manually, as usual Word has some helpful functions to make life easy.

Setting up Word to automatically number the pages is quite straightforward. If you just need to number the pages starting from the first page, then just follow the first part of these instructions.

The basics

Page numbering can be accessed on the INSERT tab, on the eighth icon in the ribbon HEADER & FOOTER. Click the third icon Page Number to produce the drop-down dialog box. Here you can choose whether to locate your page numbers at the top or bottom of the page, and then their exact position and style. If you just need to add simple page numbers, then choose the position and style, click on your selected option and the page numbers will appear. It’s easy to change in the future, just by following the same process.

Basic page numbering
Basic page numbering

If you want a little more control over the style you can format the style of numbering by selecting the option Format page numbers. This will activate the dialog box Page Number Format where you can select different styles and also opt to include the chapter number.

Using two different styles

Using two styles of page numbers in the same document is a little more complicated. If you’d like to number the preliminary pages in roman numerals and the main text in plain numbers then a little more work is required. Start by setting up the initial pages as outline above and by selecting the style Roman. Next, go to the location in your document where you would like the second style of page numbering to start – this would normally be the first page of the main text.

This time go to the PAGE LAYOUT tab. In the first pane, Page Setup click on the icon Breaks, it’s on the top of the right-hand column. On the drop-down menu click Next Page on the section breaks list. It’s easy to check that the page break is in the correct position by activating the ‘show and hide’ function (Ctrl+*) on the HOME tab.

Adding a page break
Adding a page break

Once the page break is in the correct position go back to the INSERT tab. This time you’ll need to click on either header or footer to activate the drop-down box and then right at the bottom click Edit to bring up the HEADER & FOOTER TOOLS DESIGN tab. First check that the first page of the header (or footer) box is now called section 2. If it is not something has gone wrong with the insertion of the section break, or perhaps you’ve got the cursor in the wrong place, so repeat the previous steps.

Activate the Headers and footers tab
Activate the Headers and footers tab

If you’re ready to start, then click the DIFFERENT FIRST PAGE box to start the numbering on a new page. Next, click on the icon LINK TO PREVIOUS – if the sections are linked this has a blue background, you want them to be unlinked. Once this is set, click on the PAGE NUMBER icon; this will activate the Page Number Format box. Here you can choose the style of numbering and finally make sure to click Start at 1, not continue from previous. All done – close the toolbox and the numbering should appear as designed in your document.

Step-by-step second set of page numbers
Step-by-step second set of page numbers
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