In this guide, you’ll learn everything you need to know about page numbering in Word.

When adding page numbers into your Word document, several methods are available.

However, this guide focuses only on the best approaches that give the most ease and flexibility.

I’ll show you all the secrets.

Let’s dive right in.

How do you insert page numbers in word

Page numbering in Word is very easy. In fact, I know a shortcut with which you can insert page numbers in under five seconds.

At the same time, it can be very complicated, depending on what document you are working on.

  • Are you starting the page numbering from page one, page two or page three?
  • Do you want the page numbers to be Roman numerals, alphabets or ordinary numbers?
  • Where do you want to insert the page numbers? – Is it in the footer? In the Header? Or in the side margin?

All these factors count when it comes to inserting page numbers in Word.

So, in order to not confuse you, I’ll begin from the basics with examples and screenshots on every action or step.

Without wasting much time, let’s get started.

The quickest way to add page numbers (For Beginners)

This is so far the quickest way you can use to number your pages in Word.

NOTE: With this method, I assume that you just want your pages to be numbered starting from the first page to the last page.

Below are the steps you can use to perform quick page numbering in Word:

  • Identify where on the page you want to insert the page numbers. Whether in the footer (bottom of page) or in the header (top of page). In this example, we’ll insert the page numbers in the footer section.
Identify the location of your page number
  • Now, go to any page of your choice. It could be page one or page 10, it doesn’t really matter.
  • Double-Click on the page’s Footer area to make it editable. Alternatively, right-click in the Footer area, then click on Edit Footer. The same thing applies if you are inserting the page number into the header section.
  • Whilst in the Footer editing mode, press Shift+Alt+P on your keyboard.
  • Now press the Escape (Esc) key to exit the Header & Footer.

After performing the above simple steps, Word will insert page numbers on all the pages in the document.

Below is a very short video illustration of the steps outlined above:

Page numbering in Word: The Official Method (for beginners)

This is yet another way you can insert page numbers into your Word document.

I call this method the Official Method because that’s what lots of people know and teach.

It involved using the Page Number commands in the Insert tab, or Header & Footer tab when active.

Following the steps below, you can also add page numbers into your Word document.

  • Go to the Insert tab, in the ‘Header & Footer’ group, click on ‘Page Number’ to display the page numbering options.
Go to Inser>Page Number

You can also find the ‘Page Number’ command in the Header & Footer tab. However, the Header & Footer tab shows only when you are editing headers or footers. So you can double click either in the Footer or Header section to make it editable.

  • From the ‘Page Number’ drop-down menu, choose your page numbering style to automatically insert the page numbers into your document.
Select page numbering style

Use the ‘Top of Page’ option if you want to insert page numbers on top of the pages. Or use ‘Bottom of Page’ option to add page numbers to the bottom of the pages.

This is how you can add page numbers to your word document.

The two approaches explained above are the basis for learning how to insert complex page numbers in Word.

Now let’s look at more advanced ways you can insert or tweak page numbers to suit your needs.

Numbering your pages with Roman numerals or alphabets

Word gives you the flexibility of choosing the page numbering style that works well for you.

You are not only limited to using the standard ordinary numbers when numbering your pages in Word. You can number pages with Roman numerals. You can also use alphabets.

Therefore, without further ado, below are the steps you can follow to change your page numbers to Roman numerals or other numbering styles.

  • First, insert the page numbers.

To insert roman numerals as page numbers, you first have to insert the page numbers with the default ordinary numbers, and then format it to display the roman numerals.

In case you forget, to insert page numbers, go to the Insert tab, under the Header & Footer group, click Page Number and then specify the location and style you want for your page numbers.

  • After successfully adding the page numbers, go to Page Number > Format Page Numbers in the Insert tab.
Go to Page Number>Format Page Numbers
  • From the ‘Page Number Format’ dialog, click the ‘Number format’ options and select the numbering style you want. You can select alphabets or roman numerals.
Select the page number format - Roman numerals
  • Click on the OK button.

This few steps will change your page numbers to roman numerals.

NOTE: You can also include different page numbers in the same document. For instance, you can use Roman numerals for the introduction pages, and start page 1 on the main part of the content. This technique is discussed later in this article.

Removing page number from the first page

Perhaps you want to remove the first-page numbering since it serves as your cover page.

Or for any other reason, you can remove the page number from the first page of your Word document using the following editing steps:

  • Double-click the Footer/Header section to activate the ‘Header & Footer’ tab. Alternatively, right-click the footer area and Click on Edit Footer.
  • From the ‘Header & Footer’tab, select ‘Different First Page’.
Select "Different First Page"

As soon as you check the ‘Different First Page’ checkbox, the page number on the first page disappears.

NOTE: Even though there’s no page number on the first page anymore, it is still counted. This means that the second page will still display page number 2 instead of page number 1. To start numbering page 1 on the second page, keep reading below.

Numbering pages starting on page 2

After removing the page number on the first page, you realized that the second page still has page number 2 instead of 1.

This is because the first page is still counted, it’s just that the page number is not visible.

There are two ways you can number pages in Word starting on page 2:

  1. Start the page numbering at 0 (zero). This way, the first page will be page 0 (which is hidden anyway), and the second page will be numbered page 1.
  2. Use Section Breaks to separate the first page from the rest of the pages. This way, you can delete the page number on the first page and it will not affect the other page numbers on the rest of the pages.

In this section, I’ll show you how to number pages in Word starting at 0 (zero) instead of 1 (one).

  • First, insert the page numbers into your document. If you don’t know how to insert page numbers, refer to the previous sections. If you already have your pages numbered, move to the next step.
  • In the Insert tab, go to Page Number > Format Page Numbers.
Go to Page Number>Format Page Numbers
  • The ‘Page Number Format’ dialog appears. Under the page numbering section, type 0 (zero) in the Start at box.
type 0 in the Start at box
  • Click OK.

At this point, the page numbering will start with 0 (zero) on the first page which is not visible. Then the second page will be numbered N1, and so on.

TIP: Not every page needs to be on page 1. Therefore, just like starting to number at zero, you can also start your numbering at any number (except negatives) depending on the layout of your content.

As mentioned already, the second method to perform this task involve using section breaks to separate the first page from the rest of the pages. I’ll cover this approach in the next sections where you’ll learn how to insert page number in Word starting from a specific page.

Insert page number in word from specific page

Yes, it is possible to start page numbering from any page in your word document.

In the previous section, we already talked about how you can start numbering your pages from page two using the ‘Different First Page’ option.

With the ‘Different First Page’ method, you can only start numbering your pages on page 2. You cannot really insert the page numbers on other specific pages like page 3, page 4 or page 5.

To skirt this limitation, you need to use what is called Page Breaks to break your pages into sections. This way, each section can have independent headers and footers, which means that they can also be numbered independently.

To understand how this works, let’s demonstrate how to start page numbers on page 3.

Starting page numbers on page 3 or any other page

NOTE: The following steps will show you how to start numbering your pages from page 3. However, you can apply the same idea to add page numbers from any specific page you want, like page 5.

The diagram below illustrates the goal of this section:

Insert Page numbering from specific page

In the diagram above, the first section (first and second pages), is the introduction – with no page numbers. And the second section (starting from the third page), is the main content – which contains page numbers, starting with number 1.

If you follow the steps below carefully, you will achieve awesome results.

Without further ado, let’s dive right into the action:

  • Identify the page from where you want to start the numbering. In this example, it’s page 3.
  • Place the insertion pointer at the start of the third page (main content page).

NOTE: If you are working on a document on which you want to start numbering from a particular page, use that page instead of the third page as illustrated in this example.

  • Go to the Page Layout tab, in the page setup group, click on Breaks and then select Next Page from the extended list of commands.

At this point, the section break is inserted. It separates the document’s first two pages from the rest of the pages. Thus, starting from page 3 is a new section.

  • Confirm the section break

After inserting the section break, Word doesn’t actually make the effects visible. Everything happens in the backend.

So, to be sure that the section break is really inserted, Press Ctrl+Shift+8 on PC or ⌘+8 on Mac. This will make all the paragraph marks visible including section breaks.

If you see the section break line just before the third page, it means that inserting the section break was successful. It tells Word that the next page (page 3) begins a different section which may have different header/footer.

  • Unlink the header/footer for the second section from that of the previous.

To unlink these two sections:

Double-click to activate the Footer section on page three. This displays the Header & Footer tab, in the Navigation group, click on Link to Previous to deselect that command. Do the same for the Header.

When the “Link to Previous” item is selected for any given header or footer, it means that the header or footer is the same as that for the previous section. If you want to fix page numbers on specific pages, you don’t want that setting active.

Now follow the rest of the steps to insert the page numbers on page 3.

  • Go to the Insert tab, in the ‘Header & Footer’ group, click on ‘Page Number’ to display the page numbering options.
Go to Page Number>Format Page Numbers
  • From the ‘Page Number’ drop-down menu, choose your page numbering style you want.

Use the ‘Top of Page’ option if you want to insert page numbers on top of the pages. Or use ‘Bottom of Page’ option to add page numbers to the bottom of the pages.

After adding the page numbers, you’ll notice that each section has its pages numbered separately. Section one, which has only two pages will be numbered from page 1 to 2. Then section two, which begins with page three will also be numbered starting from 1.

You can change the numbering styles of the introduction pages to say roman numerals.

We’ll talk about how to do that in the last section below.

How to insert different page numbers in word

You can use different page numbering styles within the same document.

Perhaps you want to use Roman numerals for numbering the introduction and then start over with page number 1 for the main content.

For instance, consider a document with two separate sections, as shown below:

Section 1 is the introduction which uses Roman numerals to number the pages. Section 2 contains the main content – which uses the standard ordinary numbers to number the pages, starting with page number 1.

This is entirely possible if you following the steps below very carefully.

  • Open your document. If you haven’t written the content yet, you can finish writing it before you make the settings.
  • Using the steps in the preceding section, insert a page break to separate the first section from the second.
  • After dividing the document into sections, insert page numbers using the steps I showed you from the beginning.
  • Change the page numbers in section one to Roman numerals. This is already covered in the previous sections.
  • Format the page numbering in the new section too.

You can use the techniques discussed on this page to solve many page numbering problems in Word.

This is enough information to help you fix page numbers in Word.

Now it’s your turn to take action.

If you have any questions, suggestions or corrections, let me know in the comments section.