Take control of Word's 'Page x of y' numbering scheme

Adding a page count to your footer can be a nice touch, but not when the count doesn't reflect the number you want. This field code tweak and Start At adjustment will put you in charge of your page number display.

If you have an explanation or quick fix that would make a good SolutionBase article, we invite you to submit it using this form.


I hit a page-numbering snag in a 20-page Word document. I wanted to use the Page X of Y AutoText entry in the footer, but I didn't want the footer to appear on the title page. I fixed that problem by selecting the Different First Page option in the Layout tab of the Page Setup dialog box, which left the footer on the title page blank. One problem remains, though: The total number of pages in the document is still 20, so the page after the title page says Page 2 of 20. I want it to say Page 1 of 19, since the title page doesn't count.


Word builds the Page X of Y AutoText entry from a pair of fields: Page and Numpages. You can manipulate the Numpages field to return the page count you're after. Then you can use Word's Start At setting to display page 1 for the page following your title page.

Tweaking the Numpages field

  1. Open the footer and press [Alt][F9] to display field codes. You should see this:

Page { PAGE } of { NUMPAGES }

  1. Highlight { NUMPAGES} and press [Ctrl][F9] to create a new field that nests the Numpages field, like this:

Page { PAGE } of { { NUMPAGES} }

  1. The insertion point will be where you need it, between the two opening braces, so just type =.
  2. Click between the two closing braces and type -1. Here's what you should have:

Page { PAGE } of { = { NUMPAGES} -1 }

  1. Highlight the contents of the footer and press [F9] to update the fields.
  2. Press [Alt][F9] to switch to results mode, and you should see this:

Page 2 of 19

Start at zero

Now you just need to make the 2 appear as 1. Stay in the footer and click Format Page Number on the Header And Footer toolbar. Enter 0 in the Start At text box and click OK. Word will then number the title page as 0 (invisibly) and change the footer on the second page to Page 1 of 19.

Next Steps: Build your skills with these hand-picked resources
>Page X of Y gives wrong numbers
>How to control the page numbering in a Word document
>Ins and outs of page numbering in Word
>One NUMPAGES Field That Appears in the Body of Your Document Is Updated at a Time in Word 2003

About Jody Gilbert

Jody Gilbert has been writing and editing technical articles for the past 25 years. She was part of the team that launched TechRepublic and is now senior features editor for Tech Pro Research.

Editor's Picks

Free Newsletters, In your Inbox