How to Add Page Numbers in Word 2010

wordYou’re writing a research paper, a report for work, or even a draft of a novel, and after a while, something doesn’t look right. After scrolling through the pages in Microsoft Word, it hits you: page numbers! You can’t have a lengthy document in Microsoft Word without having page numbers! Their benefits are obvious: page numbers keep your document in order, act as an easy way to reference specific points in your paper, and just make things look more professional and prepared.

In this guide, we’ll go over how to add page numbers in Word 2010, and other tips involving headers and footers to improve the look and utility of your documents.

Headers and Footers

In most versions of Microsoft Word, including Word 2010, it’s easy to add and customize headers and footers in your document. Before we talk page numbers, it’s important to know about how this feature works.

You can learn about additional features in this introductory Microsoft Word 2010 course.

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To add a header or footer, click on the Insert tab to the right of the main Home tab, and select Header or Footer to select from one of the pre-designed choices. You can also just double-click at the very top or bottom of a page, or right click in the same area and select the Edit Header/Footer option from the context menu. You can format your headers and footers the same way you format text in your document.

You might be tempted to add page numbers this way, but before you go through the pain-staking task of doing so (believe me, you wouldn’t be the first), remember that Microsoft Word 2010 allows you to automatically add and format page numbers to all the pages in your document, instantly. Let’s learn how!

Adding Page Numbers to a Word Document

The page numbering feature in Microsoft Word 2010 works the same way headers and footers do, by adding text to the top or bottom margin of your pages. This is why it’s useful to know where the header and footer options are located, and how they work. However, the process of adding page numbers is slightly different, with additional elements to take into account.

Step 1 – Prepare your document

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First, you need to start out with your document, preferably one with many pages, but you can add numbers to a document with just one or two pages too! There’s no minimum page requirement to begin. The document in our example is 20 pages long, with a title page at the front.

Step 2 – Insert > Page Number

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When you’re ready to add page numbers, navigate to the Insert tab, and select the Page Number option to the right of the Header and Footer options, in the “Header & Footer” section. Selecting Page Numbers will prompt a series of context menus.

The first one will let you choose where you want your page numbers to appear.

  • Top of Page: Choose to have your page numbers appear at the top of each page, in the header.
  • Bottom of Page: Choose to have your page numbers at the bottom of each page, in the footer.
  • Page Margins: Choose to have your page numbers in the side margins of each page, at the left or right.
  • Current Position: Generate a page number and page number style wherever your blinking text cursor is located in your document.

Additional Options

  • Format Page Numbers: Provides additional formatting options for page numbers, allowing you to change counting style (1, 2, 3 or A, B, C or I, II, III and so on), include chapter numbers, which number to begin counting at, etc.
  • Remove Page Numbers: A quick and simple option to clear all existing page numbers from your document.

Step 3 – Select a style, and add!

The context menus after that will help you determine your page numbering style.

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There are many different styles. Plain numbers with different alignments, numbers between, under, or over dividers, and other interesting designs – some less utilitarian than others, but it all depends on the purpose of your document!

For the sake of visibility, we’ll go with a conspicuous one: a big, blue numbered circle at the top center of each page.

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And there you have it! Page numbers! From here, you can format the numbers further with that Format Page Numbers menu, or use the Font section in the Home tab to stylize your page number’s look.

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But wait! After the excitement of having these awesome, conspicuous page numbers fades down a bit, you start to realize that having a page number on the first page looks a little awkward. Lucky for you, there’s a quick fix.

Removing Page Numbers on Page 1

Your title page may technically be page 1 of your document in Microsoft Word, but it isn’t the first page of your report, or your book, or your essay. What if page 1 needs to start at page 2?

All you need to do is double click in the header or footer where your page number is located, or go to the Insert tab, click Header or Footer (again, depending on where your page number is), and click Edit. Whichever way you do it, you should see a Design tab opened at the top of the screen. In the Options section will be a check box. Check the Different First Page box, as shown below circled in red.

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In our example, the title page is now page numberless! Success again!

Begin Page Numbering On Page 2

Except… now page 1 is labeled “page 2,” and everything is off. Don’t worry. Remember that Format Page Numbers box?

We can just open it up, and have the page numbering start at 0, instead of 1.

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Now the first page in your Word document (the title page) is left numberless, and the second page in your Word document (Page #1) starts counting pages at 1.


There’s a lot more you can do with the page numbering feature in Word 2010; this was just a basic overview. For more tutorials, check out this Word 2010 made easy course, or consider taking an intermediate Microsoft Word class to learn more about the software’s advanced features.