Microsoft Office

How do you insert page numbers in Word from a specific page?

insert page numbers in Word
Brought to book: get your page numbering sorted

You’re writing a book or brochure in Microsoft Word and you – naturally – want to insert page numbers. You’re a class act, after all. However, you don’t want the page numbers to start from the beginning of the document, where your front cover, foreword, contents and such forth will reside. So how do you insert page numbers in Word from a specific page?

It’s harder than it should be but relatively easy when you know how.

How to insert page numbers in Word from a specific page

So, let’s take a document such as this.

Page 1 is the cover, p2 is the inside cover, p3 is the foreword and pp4&5 are contents (all of which are yet to be written). The guts of chapter 1 starts on p6, which is what we want to be called p1.

How do we make Word understand that’s where we want the numbering to start?

Well, first go to p5 in the document and select the Layout tab, then Breaks then Next Page. Note – it’s really important to select Next Page and not just Page from this confusing drop-down menu.

This breaks your document into sections, allowing you to control the numbering for each.

To turn that numbering on, you now need to double-click in the header or footer area of p6 (the very top or the very bottom of a page, depending on where you want the page numbers placed). Now click the “Link To Previous” option, to unlink this section from the previous one.

Next, click on the Page Number dropdown from the left-hand side of the screen and choose the numbering option that you want.

When you’ve got the style you want, click Page Number, then Format Page Numbers and select the option to start from page 1, as shown.

Note that you can click the Footer option in the menu to play with more fancy designs and to include other information alongside the page numbers, such as the book or chapter name.

NOW READ THIS: How do I use superscript in Word?

About the author

Barry Collins

Barry has scribbled about tech for almost 20 years for The Sunday Times, PC Pro, WebUser, Which? and many others. He was once Deputy Editor of Mail Online and remains in therapy to this day. Email Barry at

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