Answered By: Jeff Beuck
Last Updated: Apr 03, 2020     Views: 426317

See Also: How do I add page numbers in Microsoft Word?

To use different page numbering schemes in different sections of your Word document, there are two tricks: 1) you must include a "Section Break - Next page" between each section of your document where the numbering will change, and 2) you must "unlink" each section's footer from the one before it.

To start, temporarily turn on the viewing of hidden formatting symbols by clicking the "Show/Hide" symbol on the "Home" tab in the "Paragraph" box -- this will enable you to see the Section Breaks between sections of your document.


One of the required page numbering changes for your thesis or dissertation is that you need to use Roman numerals (e.g., "i, ii, iii") for your introductory sections (Abstract, Table of Contents), and then switch to Arabic numerals (e.g., "1, 2, 3") and begin the page numbering at "1" at the start of Chapter I of your main text.

If you do not already have a "Section Break" between these two sections of your document, you will need to add one.  Place your cursor at the very end of the text in the first section (after your Table of Contents and any Lists of Tables and Figures), being careful NOT to place it in the footer where the page number is (if the text above becomes grayed out, you are in the footer – try clicking higher).


Add a "Section Break – Next Page" by selecting the "Page Layout" tab on the menu, clicking the arrow next to "Breaks", and selecting "Next Page" under Section Breaks.


After doing this, you should see a "Section Break (Next Page)" code inserted into your document.  This tells Word that the next page begins a new section which may have a different header or footer.


Go down to the next page below the section break (in this example, the first page of Chapter I), and click on the page number in the Footer.  If your cursor is in the Footer, you should see "Footer -Section [#]-" to the left, and "Same as Previous" on the right.


You should also see a new tab appear on the menu, labeled "Header & Footer Tools: Design".  Select this.  (Be careful not to confuse this with another tab labeled "Design" between the "Insert" and "Page Layout" tabs.)  In the "Navigation" section of this tab, you will see a highlighted button labeled "Link to Previous" which tells Word to link the footer in this section to the previous section and to continue its page numbering scheme.  Click the "Link to Previous" button to UNSELECT it.


After clicking this, the "Link to Previous" button should no longer be highlighted.  The "Same as Previous" box to the right of your footer should also disappear.


Confirm your cursor is still next to the page number in the Footer, then go back to the Header & Footer Tools – Design tab on the menu, and in the "Header & Footer" section, select Page Number > Format Page Numbers.


The "Page Number Format" window will appear.  Select the appropriate "Number format" for this section ("1, 2, 3," or "i, ii, iii", etc.), and tell Word whether to continue the page numbering from the previous section or to start at "1" or another number.  In this example, we want Section 2 (which begins at Chapter I and contains the main text of our thesis or dissertation) to use Arabic numerals and to start numbering this section from page 1.  Click "OK" to finish.


You will notice that the page numbering for the current section has now been corrected, and if you unlinked it properly from the previous sections, the numbering in those sections should remain as it was before.


Next, you will need to change the page number format to lower-case Roman numerals (i.e., "i, ii, iii, ...") for the section with your Abstract and Table of Contents.  Click your cursor on the footer of your Abstract or Table of Contents page.


Open the "Format Page Numbers" window by going to the Header & Footer Tools – Design tab on the menu, and in the "Header & Footer" section, select Page Number > Format Page Numbers.


Next to "Number format", select the "i, ii, iii, ..." option for lower-case Roman numerals, then click "OK".


The page numbering for the section with your Abstract and Table of Contents should change to lower-case Roman numerals.  As long as you correctly unlinked the following section from this one, the page numbering in the following section, the main body of your text, should remain Arabic numerals starting with 1.


You will also need to remove page numbers completely from the title page and other preliminary pages of your thesis or dissertation.  To do this, you will use the same method as above, but delete the page numbers from the first section of your document.

Place your cursor at the very end of the last page which will not be numbered (probably your approval page, dedication, or acknowledgment), being careful NOT to place it in the footer where the page number is (if the text above becomes grayed out, you are in the footer – try clicking higher).


Add a "Section Break – Next Page" by selecting the "Page Layout" tab on the menu, clicking the arrow next to "Breaks", and selecting "Next Page" under Section Breaks.

After doing this, you should see a "Section Break (Next Page)" code inserted into your document on the page before your Abstract.


Go down to the next page below the section break (in this example, the Abstract), and click on the page number in the Footer.  If your cursor is in the Footer, you should see "Footer -Section [#]-" to the left, and "Same as Previous" on the right. Be sure you are not in Section 1 of your document.


On the main menu, select the "Header & Footer Tools: Design" tab, then in the "Navigation" section of this tab, click the "Link to Previous" button if it is highlighted to UNSELECT it and unlink this section from the section above.  This will allow you to modify the page number in the first section without affecting this or subsequent sections.


Return to your Title Page (or any page in Section 1 which will not be numbered) and click on the page number in the footer.  Click-and-drag your cursor over the page number to select it.


Click the "Delete" key on your keyboard to delete the page number from this section.  As long as you removed the "Link to Previous" connection from the next section, you should the page number disappear from the first section, but remain in the following sections.


If your paper includes additional sections (for example, if your Approval Page was added as a separate section from your Title page), you may have to experiment with linking and unlinking sections from each other -- unlink a section if its page numbering will be different from the one before it, but link together any sections where the page numbering will continue from the one before it.  It is generally a good idea to start with the last section of your document and work your way backwards.

When you are finished, don't forget that you can hide the formatting symbols to make it easier to view your text by turning off the "Show/Hide" symbol on the "Home" tab in the "Paragraph" box.


Footer Sections and page numbering can be very complex, especially if your document has multiple sections.  If you need additional assistance getting your page numbering correct, contact Jeff Beuck at 216-523-7486 to set up an appointment.

Comments (97)

  1. Very helpful
    by Tashy on Nov 16, 2017.
  2. what to do when section break does not show
    by kriti thakur on Feb 25, 2018.
  3. Thank you so much!!!
    by Wraith on Feb 26, 2018.
  4. Excellent and easy to follow instructions. Exactly what I needed.
    by Mira on Mar 12, 2018.
  5. Thanks Sir So much. You are very kind to people.
    by Nur Alam on Apr 04, 2018.
  6. Thank you so much! This was extremely helpful and a total time saver!
    by Brittany on Apr 10, 2018.
  7. Thank you, it really is helpful
    by Sadia on Apr 29, 2018.
  8. Wow impressive it was very helpful to me. Am glad with the informative words and direction. Shalom.
    by Josphine Gwehona on May 17, 2018.
  9. EXTREMELY Helpful - Thank you so much. I learnt something too
    by TIM on May 25, 2018.
  10. Interesting
    by Dawit Yosef on Jul 02, 2018.
  11. Thank you, your article is very helpful
    by Andre Kurniawan on Aug 14, 2018.
  12. it worked well for me..thank you sir..
    by Kalya on Aug 18, 2018.
  13. Useful for me. Thanks very much.
    by Kwesi on Aug 19, 2018.
  14. This was of great help, thanks
    by Euny on Sep 12, 2018.
  15. Very helpful, concise and comprehensive. Keeps it up Jeff!
    by Nawas on Sep 15, 2018.
  16. Wow very informative and helpful. Thanks!
    by Uchy Masika on Sep 19, 2018.
  17. You are so good, thank you
    by olanrewaju balogun on Oct 25, 2018.
  18. super very helpful. I finally understood it.
    by Michael on Nov 22, 2018.
  19. This has been very helpful. Thank you.
    by J on Nov 30, 2018.
  20. Thank you so much for this, it is so helpful!
    by thankfulalmostmaster on Dec 04, 2018.
  21. This post was a life saver. It was crunch time and I underestimated the pagination of my APA action research. "Hidden formatting symbol", "Section Break"? I NEVER would have thought to do those things. Thanks to you I submitted at 11:51 pm, lol, in the nick of time, lol.
    by KMo on Dec 13, 2018.
  22. This really was the most useful ''how to'' on the topic - I really battled with the other sites.
    by Francois on Dec 28, 2018.
  23. Very detail with clearly explained, simple and helpful
    by Dave T on Jan 06, 2019.
  24. Very helpful....
    by Reginescorner on Jan 08, 2019.
  25. Thank you so much
    by Augustine on Jan 10, 2019.
  26. EXCELLENT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    by Natasha on Jan 11, 2019.
  27. Great tip. Thanks for adding. I had the same question for my thesis.
    by Manuel Duarte on Feb 08, 2019.
  28. This was so helpful and clearly presented; I would have never figured it our otherwise - thank you!!!
    by Janice on Feb 26, 2019.
  29. Great help πŸ‘πŸ½πŸ‘πŸ½πŸ‘πŸ½
    by Nge on Mar 01, 2019.
  30. Spot on! Thanks!
    by Jonathan E on Mar 15, 2019.
  31. awesome procedure.
    by Derick Musi on Mar 31, 2019.
  32. Thank you! Saved me.
    by KK on Apr 01, 2019.
  33. very helpful, thank you
    by silas on Apr 04, 2019.
  34. Thank you for this elaborate explanation. Very helpful.
    by Prucy on Apr 18, 2019.
  35. Brilliant! Got me a first !
    by Bob on Apr 25, 2019.
  36. noice
    by ye_boi on Apr 25, 2019.
  37. very very helpful, thank you.
    by Lucy Jackson on Apr 28, 2019.
  38. This was really helpful and straightforward.
    by Deeya on Apr 30, 2019.
  39. Jeff Beuck is the Hero we deserve
    by anonymous on May 05, 2019.
  40. Thank you from the University of Kansas!
    by Owen on May 14, 2019.
  41. THANK YOU! your info help me a lot (",).
    by AURORA on May 15, 2019.
  42. Exceptionally helpful - thank you!
    by Karin W on May 28, 2019.
  43. Thanks! I watched a couple of youtube videos before seeing this and had been struggling with pages refusing to take any number at all. It's all useful, but the most satisfying statement here was "begin at the bottom".
    by Tracie Hall on Jun 04, 2019.
  44. Life is saved!
    by Uki on Jun 05, 2019.
  45. Useful
    by Naveed on Jun 08, 2019.
  46. But how do you get the roman numbers to show up on the initial pages when you generate a contents page? All my page numbering is now correct, but my contents page does not reflect this, it just has 1, 2, 3 etc. I want it to look like i, ii, iii, iv, 1, 2, etc :-)
    by Rachel on Jun 09, 2019.
  47. Very helpful indeed
    by Mwanakasale Muche on Jul 09, 2019.
  48. So helpful! Thank you very much for the detailed tutorial.
    by Jes on Jul 17, 2019.
  49. Very helpful
    by Shauri Mbugua on Jul 21, 2019.
  50. Thank you very much.
    This is the best material I have ever read on this subject.
    The writer wrote in detail.
    by Abraham on Jul 26, 2019.
  51. Thanks so much, very useful
    by Henlee on Jul 29, 2019.
  52. Thank you
    Very helpful
    by Zayn on Aug 02, 2019.
  53. Very very useful, i didnt have any idea to number different sections.
    by Rashid Mwatebela on Aug 07, 2019.
  54. It resolve my querry.... really very helpful
    Great workπŸ‘
    by Shikha on Aug 11, 2019.
  55. very helpful and thank u😍
    by madhushi on Aug 17, 2019.
  56. Thanks,just got it.
    by Emmanuel on Aug 21, 2019.
  57. Very helpful
    by Monseur on Aug 26, 2019.
  58. I am so grateful for this important information. i have used it successfully insert preliminary pages in my report.

    I am so grateful.
    by Caroline N. Ateenyi on Aug 28, 2019.
  59. Incredibly helpful. I looked at several different sites for an answer to this, and none of them mentioned the section break (I thought page break did this for me). Thank you for explicitly detailing every step.
    by Jeremy on Sep 07, 2019.
  60. This was amazingly helpful and straight to the point. Other people have made fifteen minute long videos to explain what this post does in a quick five minute read. Thank you kindly for putting this online!
    by Kate F. on Sep 07, 2019.
  61. Very helpful indeed
    by JOJO on Nov 04, 2019.
  62. Very very helpful
    by Mbogora Malima on Nov 07, 2019.
  63. A detailed step by step explanation. Thank you.
    by Kavitha Gopalakrishnan on Nov 11, 2019.
  64. Very helpful find it hard to change page number by section but after i've seen this info its way more easier by now
    by Omni.shade on Nov 26, 2019.
  65. it was very useful.
    by Esther on Dec 06, 2019.
  66. Thank you ...really clear instructions saved me a lot of time.
    by Rich on Dec 14, 2019.
  67. Thank you very much. Very helpful!
    by Dusan on Dec 16, 2019.
  68. Super helpful, thanks.
    by PhD Student on Jan 24, 2020.
  69. Very helpful, sorted out such a frustrating problem I couldn't work out.
    by Labeeb on Feb 10, 2020.
  70. Thank you so much. This material was much more helpful than YouTube videos. Very detailed. God bless the writer. Totally time saving.
    by Judith on Mar 09, 2020.
  71. Very helpful article indeed. This has solved a very important for my articles. Many thanks!
    by Jamil Ahmed on Mar 21, 2020.
  72. This is very helpful. Thank you so much!!
    by Glen Parry on Mar 27, 2020.
  73. Was very helpful. Thank you.
    by Hunja Amos on Apr 16, 2020.
  74. Excellent description, it worked for me. Thank you !!!
    by Akshay on Apr 20, 2020.
  75. Your information saved me some embarrassment. It works like a " where there is no doctor" strategy. I gratefully appreciate you.
    by DAMIAN BAKYENGA on Apr 26, 2020.
  76. Very helpful, thank you!
    by Tugce on Apr 30, 2020.
  77. Thank you SO MUCH for this easy-to-follow tutorial. You made my day!
    by Don, Graduate Student, CSUN on May 02, 2020.
  78. This is very helpful and thank you a million.
    by Tafirenyika Gwenzi on May 12, 2020.
  79. Thank You!! This was Helpful!!!
    by Kehinde Miracle Alabi on May 18, 2020.
  80. So clear and helpful🧑
    by Wel on May 25, 2020.
  81. Very helpful indeed!
    by Havelinus Shemuketa on Jun 06, 2020.
  82. These instructions were excellent - very clear and detailed - user friendly. I had viewed some videos here on Google and they were not as clear as these instructions. Thank you!!
    by Sharon W. on Jun 06, 2020.
  83. very helpful. thank you very much
    by verah Tena on Jun 12, 2020.
  84. This really helped me
    by Berto on Jun 12, 2020.
  85. THANK YOU!! Very clear and helpful directions!! Thank you!
    by PhD Student on Jun 15, 2020.
  86. Very Helpful. Thank you so much
    by Amanuel Zinare on Jun 17, 2020.
  87. Many thanks
    by Melosum on Jun 21, 2020.
  88. Extremely helpful!!!
    by Esther on Jun 23, 2020.
  89. Thank you so much for this. Very helpful for my dissertation.
    by Amelia on Jun 25, 2020.
  90. Thank you so much
    by hadi on Jun 28, 2020.
  91. Thanks a lot for evrything this saved me
    by Sasikafsal on Jul 03, 2020.
  92. This was really helpful. Exactly what I needed. Thank you. πŸ‘
    by PAP on Jul 03, 2020.
  93. This was very helpful. Thank you so much for providing such a detailed description.
    by Zainab on Jul 07, 2020.
  94. Very useful. Thank you.
    by Issah on Jul 16, 2020.
  95. Thank you so much....i have really been battling with numbering pages....your guide made it very smooth..
    by Eben on Jul 16, 2020.
  96. Great work. This is the best guide for inserting page numbers on thesis. Great relief for me. Thanks a lot.
    by abdul quddus on Jul 19, 2020.
  97. Thanks alot
    by Yasser on Jul 24, 2020.

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