Software

Spell out page numbers in Word

Page number is simple in Word, if you want digits. If you want to spell out the number, include a special field switch.

You probably know how easily you can add page numbers to a Word document. In Word 2003, you choose Page Numbers from the Insert menu and follow the bouncing ball. In Word 2007 and 2010, it's even easier, once you find the right option. All three versions display digits for the page numbers, which is the most commonly-used format. What if you want Word to spell out the numbers instead? You might be surprised to learn how little effort it takes to just that!

Using a little-known feature, field switches, you can turn numbering digits into their word counter-parts. First, you need some page-numbering fields to alter. Word 2003 offers a couple of methods for entering page numbers, but the following method is probably the most common:

  1. Choose Header and Footer from the View menu. If the document already has a header or footer, just double-click the header or footer space to open it in edit mode.
  2. In the header, enter the word Page, followed by a space.
  3. Click Insert Page Number on the Header and Footer toolbar (opening the header or footer automatically displays this toolbar).
  4. Enter another space, followed by the word of, and another space.
  5. Click Insert Number of Pages.

That's all there is to it in Word 2003. If you're using Word 2007 or 2010, do the following:

  1. Double-click the header or footer area to open it.
  2. On the Design tab, in the Header & Footer group, click the Page Number dropdown.
  3. Choose Top of Page, but don't choose one of the displayed formats. Instead, thumb down a bit until you see the Page X of Y format and select it.

Now, you're ready to force those page-number fields to display words instead of digits, using field switches. The technique is the same in all three versions:

  1. Double-click the header to open it (if you closed it earlier).
  2. Click the first digit to select the {PAGE} field. Word will highlight the number with a gray background.
  3. Press [Shift]+F9 to display the code. If you don't see the code, try step 2 again. You didn't correctly select the field.
  4. Position the cursor at the end of the Page field code, but before the closing bracket and enter the following field switches: \*CardText \*Caps. (That's a grammatical period after Caps; it is not part of the switch.)
  5. Press [Shift]+F9 to return to normal display.
  6. Repeat steps 2 through 5 to convert the Number of Pages field.

It's amazing how little work goes into this conversion from digits to words! For more information on Word's field switches, start at Switches.

About

Susan Sales Harkins is an IT consultant, specializing in desktop solutions. Previously, she was editor in chief for The Cobb Group, the world's largest publisher of technical journals.

6 comments
Kalumbal
Kalumbal

First time I tried it did not work. Looking to see what I could have done wrong I noticed that I did not leave a space between the word "PAGE" and the backslash. I repeated the steps with a space and it worked.

jody.burton
jody.burton

I've never specifically wanted to do this, but if I ever do I'll know how. It looks like something that would be useful for legal or formal documents. Thanks for the tip, Susan.

ssharkins
ssharkins

It's true, it's a bit obscure, but it's one of those things, that if you need it, you really need it, and using a switch isn't exactly intuitive.

khannah
khannah

The first part works for me (replacing the numeral 1 with text); however when I take the exact same steps to replace the numeral 2 with text, everything after the word "of" (ie., step 1 of...) disappears when I press Shift F9. Any ideas what I'm doing wrong? Thanks, Karen

khannah
khannah

Thanks so much - I'd never have thought of that! Karen

jbackerman
jbackerman

in Word 2007, after you make your first change and have done the Shift+F9 you need to hit F9 alone to up date the field. Then you can edit the second number as previously described.

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