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Number pages in Microsoft Word 2003

Tutorial showing you how to number pages properly in Microsoft Word 2003

If you use Microsoft Word to produce long printed documents, it makes sense to give the reader some indication of what page number they're on. Combined with a contents page, this makes your documents easier to read.

The simplest way to do this is to Insert | Page Numbers and follow the options there - you can specify that the page number is at the top of page (in a header) or the bottom (a footer). You can choose an option for alignment (left, center and right are self explanatory: Inside aligns the page number at the left margin of odd numbered pages and at the right margin of even numbered pages, outside does the opposite - aligns at the right margin of odd numbered pages and at the left margin for even numbered).

You can also click the Format button to set some formatting options for the page number. What you can't do from here is chance the font, colour, size and so on.

When you click OK, a page number is inserted where you specified. It's not a plain-text number - it's a calculated field, meaning that Word will work out what page number should be inserted on each page. It's placed inside a text box, too.

If you want to tweak formatting or positioning, you'll need to work on the text box by going to View | Header and Footer. Click the Switch Between Header and Footer button on the toolbar if you need to locate the number. Now you can use the full range of text and text box formatting options to produce the kind of number you want.

And because the Page Numbers command inserts a page number in a box, it is possible to position it anywhere you want on the page - it doesn't have to stay in the header or footer area. Simply drag the frame into position while in Print Layout view.

But the Page Numbers command isn't the most flexible way to insert page numbers into a document. A far better option is to use the Header and Footer toolbar, which has a handy Insert Page Number button. There's also an Autotext option to insert the even more useful Page x of y format.

Both of these insert the page number without a text-box frame, which keeps things simple. And both still use the page-number-calculation field, so Word works out exactly what number goes on which page.

More important, this approach gives extra flexibility for documents. You can, for instance, change the start page number for each section of your document (headers and footers can be associated with individual document sections).

To use this approach, go to View | Header and Footer. The screen will change to print layout view with the cursor sitting in a Header area at the top of a page; you'll also have the Header and Footer toolbar to work with.

You can type anything you want into the Header or the Footer areas (there's a button on the toolbar to switch from one to the other) and you can use the normal text and paragraph formatting options in the normal way - change the size, font, colour, whatever. You can even insert pictures or draw shapes in the header and footer. This is especially useful if you want a logo to appear on each page.

And you can insert fields. Click the Insert Autotext button and you'll see a selection of ready-to-use inserts, all of which involve field variables - Word works out exactly what information should appear when such variables are used, so the Page x of y option will appear as something like Page 16 of 45 if you're looking at page 16 of a 45-page document (or page 16 in a section that is 45 pages long, if you have set the document up to have separately-numbered sections).

Incidentally, you don't have to go back to page 1 to put a page number into the header. Word will work out which number to put on which page no matter where you're editing the header in your document.

In Normal view there's no indication of the presence or absence of headers or footers. In Print Layout view, you will be able see the header or footer displayed in grey text; double-clicking on that will take you immediately into editing mode for headers and footers.

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