Tips, tricks and tutorials for the technology you use everyday

Modifying Page Numbers in Word

If you’re having trouble with page numbers in Microsoft Word, you’re not alone. We’ve received tons of comments and questions from learners like you on our Headers & Page Numbers video.

One of the most common questions is, “How do I restart or reformat my page numbers partway through the document?” Apparently this is a common problem for students who are working on academic papers.

Your comments prompted us to look for an answer, and we found one. Special thanks to Jessica (our Design/Video Team Lead & Jack of All Trades), who discovered the solution while proofreading dissertations in her spare time.

Modifying Page Numbers with Section Breaks

The key to using different types of numbering in the same document is section breaks. Once you’ve added a section break to your document (you can add as many as you need), you’ll be able to restart your page numbers there, and/or apply a different style.

Here’s an overview of the steps you need to follow. These steps should work for Word 2007, Word 2010, and Word 2013.

  1. Place your cursor on the page where you want the first section to end.
  2. Go to the Page Layout tab, then click the Breaks command.
  3. Choose Next Page from the menu.
  4. A section break will be added, creating a new section on the next page.
  5. To continue, select your header or footer in the new section.
  6. Go to the Design tab, and deselect the Link to Previous command.
  7. Now you can modify the page numbers in your new section depending on what you need.
  • To restart your numbering, click the Page Number command, then choose Format Page Numbers. From there, you’ll be able to select Start at: 1.
  • To reformat your numbering, select the page number, then go back to the Home tab. You can change the font, color, size, and more.

What questions do you have about page numbers in Microsoft Word? Let us know in the comments. For more information, visit our lesson on Headers, Footers, and Page Numbers.

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Categorised in: Computers, Microsoft Office, Microsoft Word

124 Responses »

  1. Thanks for a good article. I have a Word2013 doc that I have divided into chapters and have chapter numbering such as 1-1, 1-2, 1-3, 2-1, 2-2, 2-3, 3-1 etc. I separated chapters with Section Break Next page and everything was fine. I updated the TOC and the numbering changed. The chapter numbers all stayed OK, but spage numbers in some of the chapters reverted to continue from previous. So chapter 5-1 suddenly became Chapter 5-23 (as Chapter 4 finished on 4-22). On closer inspection I noticed that in the corrupted chapters Word had changed my Section break Next page into Section break Even page. This causes the problem. How do I stop Word from doing this to me?

  2. This helped me for my thesis thank you

  3. I have to print numerous test copies that are currently numbered by hand. There is a header that is… Test No. and then we hand write the number. Is there any way to print that would autonumber the front page of each test? For instance, I have 1 document with 10 pages total and the front page is Test No. 1 and I want 25 copies where the first page is number consecutively… Test No. 1, Test No. 2, Test No. 3, etc. I hope this makes sense. Any help would be appreciated!

  4. As from a week ago I have been unable to do page numbering on any of the numbering systems in word. In fact, all my documents in the past that have been page numbered have been corrupted and now no longer have page numbers attached. The documents now state the imbeded code eg page{page} of page{pagenumber} and not Page 1 of Page 2. This happened after an update of word but I have uninstalled my new updates and the problem has not gone away. Can anyone help as I use this function several times a day.

    Dawn

  5. Works OK for 0 and 1 pages then none of the other pages are numbered in this 127 page section?

    • Hi, Charles—if you’re having an issue with page numbers in the second section of your document, you might want to try re-adding them in that section (just in case). If that doesn’t work, try checking/unchecking some of the options on the Design tab to see if that makes them appear. Hopefully this gets them working for you!

      • Hello. I was having the same problem as Charles. I realized that the problem was the “different first page” box was checked.
        Follow the above steps. In your new section add page numbers and be sure to uncheck the box. Everything should work fine.

  6. How does one omit the page 1 number on the first page (only) of a multi-page document?

  7. Thank YOU, Thank You, Thank You….!

  8. my problem with page numbers comes when I try to change page numbers in a booklet. If I start a new section on page 4 and renumber it to 1 it changes the inside, outside, and gutter to the opposite of what it should be. Any advice for this situation?

    • Unfortunately, I don’t know what might be causing this—page numbers can be buggy and difficult to work with sometimes. When I’m having an unexpected issue, I usually start clicking different options on/off on the Design tab. Often this helps the page numbers “reset” themselves (or leads to me discovering a solution). Hopefully this helps!

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