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Working With Page Numbers in Microsoft Word: Tips for Professionally Numbering Your Documents

To add a page number, choose Insert > Page Numbers into the footer of a Microsoft Word document. To get different pages to display page numbers in different locations requires a little more know-how by understanding how “sections” work.

Here’s an Example

(Note: These commands are in different locations in different versions of Word.)

Let’s say a document, such as a thesis, needs to have page numbers on the bottom center of the first page, but the rest of the pages need them in the upper right corner. First, double-click on the footer area of page 1 to make it active and choose Insert > Page Numbers. Choose “center” in the alignment pop-up. All the pages of your document now have page numbers centered in the bottom of the footers. Close the footer.

Moving Page Numbers by Adding Sections

To change how page numbers are displayed on different pages, a Section Break needs to be added. Section Breaks allow page formatting to change from previous pages.

Place the cursor at the beginning of the text on the second page and choose Insert > Break > Section Break (Continuous). The continuous setting allows text to continue from the previous page.

Double-click the header on page 2 and notice that there’s a message on the header stating “Same as Previous”. Even though a section break has been added, the header and footers from page 2 onward are set to look the same as on page 1. Now it’s time to make the change…

Uncheck the “Same as Previous” Button

Using the header/footer popup window (Word X or Word 2000) or the Formatting Palette for “Headers and Footers” (Word 2008 Mac) or the Page Layout tab (Word 2007 Windows), note that the “Same as Previous” setting is “on”. This needs to be turned “off”. Un-check the item and note that the “same as previous” statement on the header on page 2 is now gone. The headers on page 2 and the remaining pages are now independent of page 1. Scroll down to the footer on page 2 and perform the un-check procedure again. This will do the same for the footers on page 2 and beyond.

Make the Changes

Remove the existing page number from the footer on page 2. It will disappear from the remaining pages as well. The footer on page 1 will still have a centered page number.

Scroll up to the page 2 header and insert a page number. Choose “right” as the alignment. Now all the remaining pages have page numbers in the upper right corners, but page 1 will not.

Add More Sections When Formatting Changes are Needed

If more page number position changes are needed. add more sections at desired locations and format the page numbers as needed.



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