Page Numbers in Word 2003

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Think Like the Computer

Note: This article is separated into several steps. After reading a page, scroll down to see additional steps.

Creating Page Numbers

Editing page numbers is one of the most frustrating and difficult things for students to learn. It seems to be especially difficult in Microsoft Word 2003.

The method may seem straightforward enough if your paper is a simple one, with no title page or table of contents. However, if you do have a title page, introduction, or table of contents and you've tried to insert page numbers, you know the process can get pretty complicated. It's not nearly as simple as it should be!

The problem is that Microsoft Word 2003 sees the paper you have created as a single document stretching from page 1 (title page) to the end. But most teachers don't want page numbers on the title page or the introductory pages.

If you want the page numbers to start on the page where your text actually begins, you'll have to think like the computer thinks and go from there.

The first step is to divide your paper into sections that your computer will recognize. See next step below to get started.

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Creating Sections

Microsoft product screen shot(s) reprinted with permission from Microsoft Corporation.
Microsoft product screen shot(s) reprinted with permission from Microsoft Corporation.

First you must divide your title page from the rest of your paper. To do this, go to the bottom of your title page and place your cursor after the very last word.

Go to Insert and select Break from the drop down menu. A box will appear. You will select Next Page, as shown in the picture. You have created a section break!

Now, in the mind of the computer, your title page is an individual element, separate from the rest of your paper. If you have a table of contents, separate that from your paper in the same manner.

Now your paper is divided into sections. Go to next step below.

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Create a Header or Footer

Microsoft product screen shot(s) reprinted with permission from Microsoft Corporation.
Microsoft product screen shot(s) reprinted with permission from Microsoft Corporation.
Place your cursor on the first page of your text, or the page where you want your page numbers to begin. Go to View and select Header and Footer. A box will appear at the top and the bottom of your page.

If you want your page numbers to appear at the top, place your cursor in the Header. If you want your page numbers to appear on the bottom of each page, go to the Footer and place your cursor there.

Select the icon for Insert Page Numbers. In the photo above this icon appears to the right of the words "Insert Auto Text." You aren't finished! See the next step below.

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Edit Page Numbers

Microsoft product screen shot(s) reprinted with permission from Microsoft Corporation.
Microsoft product screen shot(s) reprinted with permission from Microsoft Corporation.
You will notice that your page numbers began on the title page. This happens because the program thinks you want all of your headers to be consistent throughout the document. You must change this to make your headers differ from section to section. Go to the icon for Format Page Numbers, shown in the picture. See the next step.
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Start With Page One

Microsoft product screen shot(s) reprinted with permission from Microsoft Corporation.
Microsoft product screen shot(s) reprinted with permission from Microsoft Corporation.
Select the box that says Start At. When you select it, the number 1 will appear automatically. This will let the computer know that you want your page numbers to begin with 1 on this page (the section). Click on Okay. Next, go to the icon named Same as Previous and select it. When you selected Same as Previous, you were actually turning off the feature that makes every section connected to the one before. See next step below.
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Page Numbers by Section

By clicking on the Same as Previous, you were breaking the connection to the previous section (title page). You have let the program know that you do not want a page number relationship between your sections. You will notice that your title page still has the page number 1. This happened because the Word program assumes that you want every command that you make to apply to the entire document. You have to "uncommand" the program.

To get rid of the page number on the title page, just double-click on the header section (the header will appear) and delete the page number.

Special Page Numbers

Now you see that you can manipulate, delete, and change page numbers everywhere on your paper, but you must do this section by section.

If you want to move a page number from the left to the right side of your page, you can do this easily by double-clicking on the header section. You then highlight the page number and use the normal formatting buttons on your tool bar to change the justification.

To create special page numbers for your introductory pages, such as your table of contents and list of illustrations, simply make sure that you break the connection between the title page and the intro pages. Then go to the first intro page, and create special page numbers (i and ii are most common).

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Your Citation
Fleming, Grace. "Page Numbers in Word 2003." ThoughtCo, Mar. 3, 2017, thoughtco.com/page-numbers-in-word-2003-1856943. Fleming, Grace. (2017, March 3). Page Numbers in Word 2003. Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/page-numbers-in-word-2003-1856943 Fleming, Grace. "Page Numbers in Word 2003." ThoughtCo. https://www.thoughtco.com/page-numbers-in-word-2003-1856943 (accessed November 19, 2017).