Working with Headers and Footers

In Word headers and footers can keep pages organized and can give Word documents a more professional look.

Adding page numbers

Word can automatically label each page with a page number and place it in a header, footer, or side margin. You can add page numbers to an existing header or footer, or you can insert page numbers into a new header or footer.

To add page numbers to an existing header or footer:

  1. Select the header or footer. The Design tab will appear.
  2. Place the insertion point where you want the page number to be. You can place it anywhere except inside a content control field.
    The Insertion pointThe insertion point
  3. From the Design tab, select the Page Number command.
  4. Click Current Position, then select the desired style. The page number will appear in the document.
    Selecting a page numberSelecting a page number

If you've already typed information into your header or footer, it's important to place the page number at the Current Position to avoid losing anything. If you select a page number from Top of Page or Bottom of Page, it will delete anything you've already added to the header or footer.

To insert page numbers into a new header or footer:

  1. From the Insert tab, click Page Number. A drop-down menu will appear.
  2. Select the desired page number style, and it will appear in your document.
    Inserting a page number at the top of the pageInserting a page number at the top of the page

To hide the page number on the first page:

In some documents, you may not want the first page to show the page number. You can hide the first page number without affecting the rest of the pages.

  1. Select the header or footer that contains the page number.
  2. From the Design tab, place a check mark next to Different First Page. The header and footer will disappear from the first page. If you want, you can type something new in the header or footer, and it will only affect the first page.
    Hiding the page number on the first pageHiding the page number on the first page

If you're unable to select Different First Page, it may be because an object within the header or footer is selected. Click in an empty area within the header or footer to make sure nothing is selected.

To format page numbers:

  1. Select the header or footer that contains the page number.
  2. From the Design tab, select the Page Number command.
  3. Click Format Page Numbers.
    Clicking Format Page NumbersClicking Format Page Numbers
  4. From the dialog box, select the desired Number format.
    Selecting a number formatSelecting a number format
  5. Next to Start at, enter the number you want the page numbers to start with.
    Selecting a starting page numberSelecting a starting page number

If you've created a page number in the side margin, it's still considered part of the header or footer. You won't be able to select the page number unless the header or footer is selected.

An alternative way to modify your page numbering is by using section breaks. To learn how to do this, read our article on Modifying Page Numbers in Word.