How to Add Page Numbers in Word and Modify Them If Needed

We show you how to insert page numbers in Word, including how to skip the first page number and access the various styling options.

Featured - How to Insert Page Numbers in Word

page numbering

Page numbers in Word are a valuable tool to help you order pages after printing or quickly reference information for other readers. Today, we're going to show you how to add page numbers in Word, format them, and skip the first page number if necessary.

Inserting page numbers in Word is easy, modifying them not so much

Though inserting page numbers in Word in the base form is quite easy, it gets more complex once you start to modify them to suit your exact needs. Word has a variety of styles, placement, and formatting choices that can make things feel a little overwhelming.

Not to worry, though – we'll be breaking down all the major options so you can quickly get your page numbering in Word looking exactly how you want. Let's get started:

How to Add Page Numbers in Word

If you're wondering how to insert page numbers in Word, the first place you might think to look is the “Page Number” tool. Thankfully, you'd be right. This makes the entire process very simple:

  1. Open the “Insert” tab of the ribbon and press “Page Number > Bottom of Page > Plan Number 2”

    Naturally, you can choose a different style for the page number if you like, such as the accent bar. You can also choose to have the number at the top of the page if you wish.

    Windows 11 - Word - Insert - Page Number - Bottom of Page - Plain Numer 2

How to Format Page Numbers in Word

After inserting page numbers in Word, you may want to format them to match the styling of the rest of your document. You can quickly change aspects such as font, text color, size, center/right/left justification, and more. Here's how:

  1. Double-click your page number and adjust the formatting options in the fly-out

    You should already be familiar with the options here – they're the same as they are for any other text. Once you've finished modifying the number, you can double-click anywhere that's not in the footer to return to your document.

    Windows 11 - Word - Edit Page Number

How to Start Page Numbers over in Word (Restart Numbering)

If you want your page numbers restart at a certain point, you need to make use of Word's section breaks feature. This is a useful tool in many situations, so it's worth familiarizing yourself with:

  1. Place your cursor at the start of the page you want to restart page numbers on and insert a “Next Page” break

    To do so, open the “Layout” tab of your ribbon, click on “Breaks” below it, then press “Next Page” under the “Section Breaks” heading.

    Windows 11 - Word - Place the Cursor - Layout - Breaks - Next Page

  2. Double-click the page number, then press “Page Number > Format Page Numbers…” in the ribbon

    To clarify, you should double-click the page number of the page you're planning to restart the page numbers on.

    Windows 11 - Word - Page Number - Format Page Numbers

  3. Tick “Start at” under the page numbering heading select “1”, and press “OK”


    Windows 11 - Word - Page Number - Format Page Numbers - Start at 1 - Accept

How to Skip the First Page Number in Word

In many cases when adding page numbers in Word, you'll want to skip the first page number. This happens most commonly when you have a cover page or title page. Here's how to make page numbers start on page 2:

  1. Double-click the first page number and tick “Different First Page” in the ribbon

    The “Different First Page” option can be found in the “Header & Footer” section of the ribbon, which should automatically appear once you double-click your page number.

    Windows 11 - Click on Page Number - Check Different First Page

  2. Delete the first page number

    Due to the “Different First Page” option, deleting the first page number now won't remove page numbers from the rest of your document.

    Windows 11 - Click on Page Number - Delete it

How to Change Types of Page Numbering in Word

As well as the style, position and starting position of page numbers, you can change the type of page number. For example, whether the numbers take the form of numbers, letters, or Roman numerals, and whether they use dots or dashes:

  1. Double-click your number and press “Page Number > Format Page Numbers…” in the ribbon


    Windows 11 - Word - Page Number - Format Page Numbers

  2. Press the dropdown arrow next to “Number format”, choose an option, and press “OK”

    The changes will automatically apply to all of the page numbers in your Word document.

    Windows 11 - Word - Page Number - Format Page Numbers - Choose One - Accept

How to Leave the Header and Footer or Design Bar

If you find yourself stuck in the Header and Footer or design bar with no way to edit the rest of your document, you can use the following trick:

Press the “Esc” button on your keyboard

This will instantly exit the header and footer bar and bring you back to your normal document view.

Windows 11 - Word - ESC to exit

Extra: How to Add Line Numbers in Word

As well as page numbers, you can add individual line numbers to your document so that you can reference part of it even more easily. Just follow our linked tutorial to do so.

Extra: How to Add a Page Border in Microsoft Word

While you're at it, you can add a page border to your Word document to ensure a clear margin for annotations once it has been printed. You can read our dedicated guide here to learn how to do so.

Windows 10 - Word - Design - Page Borders - Box - Result