Page Numbering Gallery

We recently did a usability study on page numbering in InDesign. Participants worked through a series of page numbering tasks that I asked them to perform. Although I made a few changes to a couple of Help topics, I kept thinking that what people really needed was pictures of page numbering effects and brief descriptions of how to create those effects. So that’s what I’m doing here. Perhaps later, I’ll clean up the pictures and add this to Help.

Simple page number

page number simple.jpg

Adding page numbering isn’t the most intuitive task in InDesign. You basically create a text frame on a master page and insert the Current Page Number marker (choose Type > Insert Special Character > Markers > Current Page Number). If your document has facing pages, remember to add page number markers to both master pages. See Add basic page numbering in Help.

Simple footer

page number simple footer.jpg

 Besides page numbers, you may want to include other information such as the date or title. A common method is to create a text frame the width of the page and add information to the left and right side of the text frame. After you type the information on the left side of the frame, insert a Right Indent Tab (choose Type > Insert Special Character > Other > Right Indent Tab) and type on the right side of the page. If you need information to be left-aligned, centered, and right-aligned, use the Tabs panel. See the Set tabs topic in Help.

Change page numbering style

page number sections.jpg

When you change the page numbering style in a document, you create a new section. For example, one section can include Roman numerals (i, ii, iii) for a preface, and the next section can include Arabic numerals (1, 2, 3).To change the page numbering style, select the page where you want the new numbering style to begin and choose Layout > Numbering and Section Options. See Define section numbering in Help.

Page 01, 02, 03 . . .

page number 01 new.jpg

I added this one based on a couple of comments that I just discovered. How do you create an 01, 02, 03 effect? Simple. Go to the page where you want numbering to begin and choose Layout > Numbering and Section Options. Then Just choose 01, 02, 03 from the Style pop-up menu. You can choose these numbering formats:1, 2, 3, 4..01, 02, 03…001, 002, 003…0001, 0002, 0003…A, B, C, D…I, II, III, IV…a, b, c, d…i, ii, iii, iv…

Suppress page numbers on first page

page number suppress.jpg

Want to remove the page numbering from a page in the document? There are two ways. (1) apply a different master page or the None master. (2) Override and delete the master text frame on the document page. Ctrl/Cmd+Shift-click a master text frame to override it.

Page numbering in books

page number books.jpg

Need to make sure chapter numbers and page numbers are updated automatically in books? See Number pages, chapters, and paragraphs in a book in Help.

Page jumps (“continued on page…”)

page number jumps.jpg

If an article starts on page one and is continued on page 9, create a text frame that touches the bottom of the article on the first page and insert the Next Page Number marker (choose Type > Insert Special Character > Markers > Next Page Number). See Add automatic page numbers for story jumps in Help.

Page X of Y

page number x of y.jpg

This effect requires a combination of two features — page numbering and text variables. You insert the Current Page Number marker for the page number and the Last Page Number text variable for the “total pages” number. Choose Type > Text Variables > Insert Variable > Last Page Number. See Text variables in Help.

Running headers and footers

page number running footer2.jpg

Do you want the current heading to appear in a header or footer? Define a text variable. See Create headers and footers and Create variables for running headers and footers in Help.

Both page numbers on one side of the spread

page number double spread.jpg

I covered this issue in a different entry: Page Numbering on a Single Spread


That’s it for page numbering. Let me know if you think I should include other page numbering effects or if you think I should create galleries for other features. Leave a comment. By default, my blogging tool treats comments as spam, but I’ll monitor comments regularly…

48 Responses to Page Numbering Gallery

  1. Geert says:

    Very useful gallery, thank you!Here’s another trendy page number format I like to use sometimes: 01, 02, 03, …, 10, 11, 12. As long as you have no more than nine pages you could manually type in the leading “0”. Not sure how to prevent the “010” problem, though. Probably need to use sections, I guess.

  2. Jaxter says:

    “Adding page numbering isn’t the most intuitive task in InDesign.” – you seem to be a mild person ;) :)Thanks for summing this up. As a Indesign beginner I remember to have searched a lot to accomplish the ‘Page x of y’ variant because of the ‘y’ being a ‘variable’.. lolCheers

  3. Hi BobThe links to “Create variables …” and “Page Numberig on a Single Spread” are broken ?!?regards Frank

  4. Dave Courtemanche says:

    The page numbering challenge I always have is a fellow designer who likes to use 2 digit page numbers, so she like 01,02,03 etc. for her single digit page numbers. Is there a way to do this with creating sections?

  5. Bob Bringhurst says:

    Yes, there is an 01,02,03 style that you can choose from the Style pop-up menu that appears when you’re defining section numbering. I’ll add that to the gallery.

  6. Bob Bringhurst says:

    Thanks. I fixed the broken links.

  7. Dids says:

    Thanks for your clear explanation which is great for single files.Just wondering how you can use total page numbering in a book when you have to use the page x of y format.I am putting together a group of Indesign files each numbered 1 of y but when combined I want it to be page 1 of 24 etc.Is there a way that Indesign can calculate the total number of pages in the book automatically or do I have to insert it manually?

  8. Bobby says:

    I’m designing a catalog and want the pg numbering to start on the inside cover (which Indesign thinks is pg 2) How do I get it so that the inside cover becomes pg 1 as opposed to pg. 2?Thx!Bobby

  9. Bob Bringhurst says:

    Bobby – You’ll want to start the document with a two-page spread. It’s a clumsy procedure, but it works. The steps are documented here:

  10. Chris says:

    As a CS3 user, I don’t have all of those styles in the Numbering and Section options. I suppose I can create a new section that begins on page 10 (and a different set of masters to use that don’t have the leading 0 before the page #). Still, I’d love to be able to do this using the same master page.Is there any way to add new styles to the menu? It won’t let me type in new styles.

  11. Dan says:

    How do I create a PDF of my Indesign Doc page 8, but have it as page 1 in the PDF? Right now when I print pages 5,6 and 8 they show up as 5,6 and 8 in the PDF, I just want them as 1,2 and 3, with the ability to add a page on the front (my copyright page) which would push the page numbers down (1,2(was 1),3(was 2),4(was 3)). I’m not talking about the printed page numbers on the document, I’m talking about the pages in the overall document.

  12. You’ll get better results if you ask these questions in the user forum:

  13. Jeff says:

    I want to know how to apply a page numbering sequence just on the odd pages and then just on the even pages. The odds have a branding graphic and the evens just have a page number. I’ve made a Master A & B, but kinda stuck at this point.My document is a catalog and will be approximately 100+ pages. I’d like to not do this manually in the Page Numbering section as you can tell.[If I understand your question, all you need to do is place the branding graphic on the right-hand page of the master spread and place the page numbering text frame on the left page of the master spread. That should do it. Am I missing something? If so, please pose this question in the user forum:

  14. Daniel says:

    I too could use some help with InDesign.I’m having some trouble with page numbering.I create books with 6-7 chapters. Each chapter starts with page 1. The page numbering should look like this ‘a-b’, where ‘a’ indicates the chapter number, and ‘b’ the page number in the chapter.I just can’t find the way to place the chapter number beside the page number. The pages numbering in this form (chapter nr.-page nr.) must also be shown in the table of contents.Can anyone help me with that?Am new with InDesign, so a detailed instruction on how to do it would be very helpful.Thx in advance!Daniel!

  15. Tom says:

    Great Blog, Thanks. Okay, I’ve tried everything I can think of, and everything suggested here, no luck. Here’s what I’m trying to do, create a document with no numbers on page 1 or 2 and have the number 1 appear on page 3, but without sections. For some reason when I create a PDF from an Indd document with sections, the PDF created won’t load into the digital asset management program I am trying to load them into. PDF’s created from documents without sections work fine. If anybody has any ideas of how I might make this work within Indesign, or what may be causing the PDF’s to crash when I try to upload them to the DAM I’m using, it be greatly appreciated. The work arounds I’ve come up with are cumbersome, require there to be multiple versions of a file, and generally defeat the purpose of taking advantage of automatic page numbering.Thanks again,Tom

  16. Tom – I can’t think of any way to do what you’re asking without using sections. Please report the PDF section problem may also want to pose this question in the user forum:

  17. Welly says:

    But now I want to assemble several InDesign docs into a book and keep the automatic page numbering I used in each of the separate docs. I can’t find a way to do that. Suggestions?

  18. Margaretta Carolina says:

    Hello Bob.I’m crazy facing the same problem on ID CS4.Left/even Page number issues.I dont know where the problem is but if i export my A3 Projectbook into PDF, all my footers (such as name and the projectbook name) and my left pagenumbers on the left page (or odd page?) dont appear on the PDF.I had always exported them into acrobat pdf 4 and I’ve tried to export it again in every kind of adobe version. If I export my book into acrobat version 4 then the transparency or all effects such as the outer glow will be broken and gives black bar behind the outer glow doesnt look nice.Here is the screenshot of my strange exported document. help me anyoneee!!!!

  19. Bob Bringhurst says:

    For this kind of troubleshooting, go to the user forum, where experts will jump in and help:

  20. Jennifer Hayes says:

    I have several documents in a book. In each document’s master page, I inserted a text box for page numbers so that it will show [current page number] of [last page number]. The current page number is updated through out the book, but the last page number is not. For example, my book is 59 pages long. Chapter 8 has two pages and so the numbering reads Page 34 of 35 instead of Page 34 of 59. Is there a way to have the last page number reflect the last page number in the book instead of the last page number in the document?

    • Bob Bringhurst says:

      No, Last Page Number works only for the document. You may want to ask in the user forum to see if someone has come up with another solution.

  21. Louise says:

    Thanks, this helped me to make two sections one, the preface, which is numbered i,ii,iii,iv etc. followed by the main text numbered 1,2,3,4 – almost the absolute standard for most books. However… when I renumber starting from the new section, inDesign pushes the page over to the right, leaving a gap in the document. How do I fix this?!

    |二|二| last page of i,ii,iii,iv preface
      |二| New page (new section) of 1,2,3,4 (inDesign won’t let me have it as the left page of the spread)

    how I want it:
    |二|二| last page of i,ii,iii,iv preface
    |二|二| New page (new section) of 1,2,3,4

    • Bob Bringhurst says:

      InDesign doesn’t let you put even numbers on a right-handed page. While I wish InDesign would allow us to start page “1″ on a left-hand page, it makes sense not to allow it. Pick up any book or magazine off the shelf and you’ll see that odd numbers are always on the right page, and even numbers are on the left. You should add a blank page.

      • Louise says:

        Hi Bob, thanks, I’ll reluctantly put in a blank page, hadn’t thought of it but it’s a good enough solution :)

  22. Teresa says:

    Hi Bob, I could use some help with InDesign page numbering. I have a novel which has two master pages – “A” for chapter pages and “B spread” for regular pages. “B” spread has page number, “A” does not. Two chapters have page #s on the “A” pages and I can not override this. I’ve tried adding, deleting,etc. master pages to override and nothing has worked. Even over-riding with a “None” master hasn’t worked. It’s weird because it’s only two chapters of eleven that aren’t complying. Any thoughts of what to do?
    Thank you!

    • Bob Bringhurst says:

      There are several possibilities. The master items could have been overridden on the document pages. Can you select them? A work around is to draw a white box over the page numbers. I know that’s a hacky workaround, but without seeing the files, I don’t know what the problem could be. Besides, the forum is a better place for this kind of question:

  23. Russell says:

    I have a situation where I have solid colour backgrounds on all my master pages with automatic page numbers on each of several masters. On my document I would like to override the colours of the backgrounds but it causes the automatic page numbers to disappear when I Command-Shift-click on them on my document pages. The page numbers are enclosed within a circle frame.

  24. Wes says:

    I have a scenario where I simply want to add a page number and not a section number.
    I have 2 master pages, one for the cover and one for the main content, they are not facing pages and the document has no sections. When I go into the Main Content’s Master Page, I create a text frame, go to ‘Type’, ‘Insert special character’, ‘Markers’, ‘Current page number’. The Master page shows – 1. B, and the pages show 1. 2 with the 2 incrementing with each consecutive page.
    If anyone can shed any light on this it would be greatly appreciated as I’m running out of hair to pull out!

    • Bob Bringhurst says:

      One possibility is that your prefix is being displayed. Go to page 1 of your document (or wherever a new numbering section starts) and choose Layout > Numbering & Section Options. Turn off the option that displays prefixes.

      For this type of question, go to the user forum:

  25. Anthony Lauer says:

    Hi guys. I am having page number visibility issues. I have the Master page numbers created, but on pages that have full page photos, the page number is buried below the photo. I have tried to use Arrange, Font and Back, but they are not available for either the photo or the page number. Any help?

  26. Johan Vermulst says:

    Hi Bob, Is there a trick to have InDesign numer the pages a document from highest to lowest number, e.g. from 300 down to 1?

  27. kostas dakanalis says:

    i want to know if it’s possible to have two different spreads in a document… meaning i want to have two page numberings, each starting from 1, let’s say to75, in a 150 page document meeting in the middle…
    the first 75 pages will be normal orientation and the following 75 will be rotated 180 degrees…
    is this possible without having to export and rename each page separetly?
    thnx for your time…

  28. Bill Boyd says:

    I have come up with this more than once when printing raffle tickets or forms where the same form is duplicated on a sheet of paper and then cut in half to make 2 forms. We have a numbering machine and normally this is not a problem but today for instance I need to get this done quickly. Is there a way to print 2 different page numbers on the same page.

  29. George Post says:

    I have created a 200-page picture book using InDesign CS5. I put left-page and right-page numbering frames on the facing master pages, and as long as a page in the book has a white border, the page numbers show up properly down at the outer corners. But if I have a full-bleed photo on a page or spread, even when I send it all the way to the background and bring the master-page text frames all the way to the foreground, the page numbers don’t show up. Anyone know how I can accomplish this, short of manually placing page numbers on those pages with full-bleed photos?

  30. Alan Luckow says:

    I’m wondering if this is possible. I’m doing a manual that goes in a three ring binder. A customer gets the manual. Then, a month later, something is added to the manual: a new page. SO we send them the page.

    Is there a way to set up numbering so a page can be added, after say page 7, so it would be 7.1 as opposed to 8?

  31. Adva says:

    Is there a way to change the direction of numbering (i.e. the No “1″ would be on the right page of the spread and the No “2″ on the left side?


  32. I started a book design (document) in InDesign, but this whole page numbering/master has complicated things beyond recovery, it seems. I do not want to start a whole new document all over again, and lay out all of my text anew, but I do not know how to remove previously applied page numbering from the entire document.

    I applied a page numer to the mater, but want the actual content of the book (after the front matter and foreword) to begin on page 1. But the process of placing a page number text frame in the master make it apply to the whole document. Then I tried to change the numbering on the front matter and foreword to have a different numbering design (a, b, etc for front matter, and i, ii, etc for foreword).

    Nothing seems to work the way I want it to look. I need a way to clear this quickly, and cannot start all over again.

  33. Debora says:

    Bob, I am designing a 40 page program.
    For the client to proof and look at it, it in order 1,2,3 etc.
    but now I have to send it to the printer so I have to make spreads and the number the pages so it lays out to form a book
    page 40 -page1
    page 2 -page 39
    page38 -page3
    help, I know there is a easy way of dong this< it is taking me forever doing in manually all the time


    • Bob Bringhurst says:

      One option is to use the File > Print Booklet feature. Print Booklet is somewhat limited, so you might want to create a PDF file and then use an Acrobat imposition plug-in to print the PDF file as a booklet.

  34. George Moser says:

    I was reading the documentation for Indesign and stumbold onto your page numbering blog. Thank heavens.
    I still do not know if the document for my book (6×8.5 double sided) should be setup as landscape or portrait.
    I now I will need to set up left and a right master pages. This is a hole lot more complicated that I can consume in the 30 day trial period i got the program for,. !!
    Thanks for your time and understanding


  35. Kristine Dear says:

    I cannot seem to start my page numbering from page 10- the automatic numbering system is counting ALL the previous pages although I have chosen ‘none’ in master pages for these – the first 9 pages. Most frustrating!
    I’d like to start auto numbering my pages from page 10. How do I do this?

    • Bob Bringhurst says:

      On the first page, choose Layout > Numbering & Section Options, and then change the “Start numbering at” option to 10.

  36. ktm says:

    is there no way in Indesign to name page numbers to the imposition of a duplex booklet?