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How to Add Page Numbers in Word for Your Papers? [For Students]

May 16, 2024
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As a student, adding page numbers while writing your research papers, dissertations, and theses etc., can be tricky; especially if your document uses a specific formatting style. But, it's not impossible. How can you add page numbers in Word without any complications? After using Word for multiple papers of my own, I have identified the quickest and easiest way of adding page numbers in Word. In this article, I will show you exactly how.

How to Add Page Numbers in Word for your Papers?


Typical Issues with Adding Page Numbers in Word

It is common for students to encounter a number of different problems while inserting page numbers in Word. Let’s walk through each of these problems and solve them. Here are a few typical issues you might have come across while adding page numbers in your document:

1.Locating the “Insert Page Number” Option

You can normally find the “Page Number” option in the Insert tab on your Toolbar to add page numbers like below:

Page Number option in Insert tab



2.Errors While Adding Page Numbers

Some students have also encountered an error while adding page numbers by clicking the button “More page numbers from Office.com”. This further gives the resulting error, “no online content available”. To prevent this error you should follow the below steps to diagnose the problem:

  • Update your Office to ensure that everything is up to date or;

  • Disable add-ins;

  • Check for permissions.

In case the above options don’t work, you can try troubleshooting via the system, and proceed with using the built-in templates of page numbers without accessing online content.

3.Formatting Page Numbers

As per the format you will be using for your paper or thesis, you will need to format your page numbers accordingly. There are a variety of ways you can display your page numbers and edit them.

For this, we will explore all the ways you can do this in the guide below:

How to Add Page Numbers to Your Paper in Word [Basic]

In my experience, it was quite simple to add page numbers in my documents, and only got a little tricky when I wanted to format them. I can understand that for some students with a nearer deadline, this can be a frustrating experience. This is why I’ve compiled all the different ways you can add a page number to your paper in Word. To demonstrate, I’ll be using WPS Office, which is easy to follow along and compatible with all Word document versions and devices (Mobile, Windows, or Mac).

Step 1: First, open the document where you want to add in your page numbers.

If you haven’t started on your document yet, that is okay. You can add in your page numbers and continue your writing later.

Step 2: Head over to your Toolbar and go to your Insert tab to add in your page numbers

Step 3: In your Insert tab, you will see the option of “Page Number” and click on it.

Page Number option in Insert tab



Step 4: After clicking on “Page Number”, you will see a number of different ways you can display your page numbers.

These are built-in templates. Choose the one that best fits your needs.

Page Number format options



Note: It might be helpful for you to note that certain academic writing styles require you to use only specific number formats.

For instance, if you are writing your thesis or research paper in APA, MLA, or Chicago format, your page number should be on the top right corner.

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How to Add Page Numbers Starting from a Specific Page in Word

For certain academic documents you don’t need page numbers on specific pages, and sometimes you do. It can get a little annoying when you delete a page number from the first page but the next page is still numbered at 2.

It can be helpful to note that if your document is in APA or MLA format, your title page should be page numbered at 1. However, if you’re following the Chicago format, your title page should not have page number at all.

Here’s a simple number of steps you can follow to add page numbers starting from a specific page in Word:

Step 1: Go to the specific page you want your page numbers to begin.

Step 2: Insert a section break - “Next Page”  in your previous page.

Section Break Options



If you have already written your paper, there are pretty good chances you have already inserted your section breaks. Well done on that!

Step 3: Double click on either the Header or Footer of the page (where you want to add the page number)

Step 4: Uncheck the box that says “Link to Previous”

Link to Previous option in Header/Footer tab



Step 5: Go to the Insert Tab

Step 6: Click on “Page Numbers” and choose the format you want

Page Number Format Options



If you want your page number to start from 1, follow these steps after the above:

Step 7: Click on “Page Numbers” once more and scroll down the menu to “Insert Page Number…”. This will open a pop-up box.

Insert Page Number Option



Step 8. In the pop-up menu, go to the option “Start at” and enter 1.

Start Page Numbering at Option in the Insert Page Number Pop-up



Your page numbers will be in line after this. While this process may seem a little lengthy, it is always helpful in my experience to make sure that you insert your section breaks while you are writing your paper. This helps in giving your paper a finished look, makes creating your table of contents easier, and will make many formatting tasks simpler in the long-run.

Using this, you can even use different number formatting styles for different sections of your page, as per your writing format (APA, MLA or Chicago). For instance if you want to use Roman numbers in the initial sections:

  • Repeat Steps 1-7.

  • In the pop-up menu, go to the option “Number Format” and select the formatting you want.

Types of Page Number Formats in Insert Page Number Pop-up


Advanced Format of Page Numbers in Word

If you’ve been tasked with formatting page numbers as “Page X of Y'' in Word, there is no need to worry. This method adds clarity, enhances professionalism, and makes your paper easier to navigate for your reader.

You don’t need to manually add this in, as I’ve noticed some students attempt to do so.

While adding these page numbers manually is possible, I would not recommend it. Why? Here are a few downsides to it. If your document is long and consists of 200+ pages, you might be up all night adding these page numbers.

Secondly, even if your document is short, as soon as you add in an extra page in your paper, all your previous total page numbers will automatically be incorrect and you will have to go back in to edit them out.

Word, especially WPS, makes this a lot easier and makes this process a lot more dynamic. Let’s dive into this process:

Step 1: When inserting page numbers, go to the Insert tab and the “Page Numbers” Option

Step 2: When the menu opens up, go to Format Page Numbers

Step 3: In the Format Option, select “Page 1 of X” and click Ok.

Types of Page Number Formats in Insert Page Number Pop-up



Now it will be easier for you and others to navigate through your paper. I have also noticed that it is also easier to refer to or bookmark pages in this particular case.

Use WPS AI to Refine Your Papers

With AI monopolizing the industry, I have found WPS Office readily equipped with everything I need for my writing. When writing research papers, theses, dissertations, WPS AI offers me invaluable assistance in refining my papers and adds finesse to them.

WPS AI Writer



Using WPS has set aside any difficulty that I normally encountered in my writing. With all my writing easily proofread, I can also use simple word replacements and grammar checks to present my arguments in the best way possible.

Here is how students can make use of WPS AI during academic writing, whether it's a thesis or a class assignment:

Step 1: One of the uses of WPS AI would be to utilize the WPS AI spell check feature to ensure your work is error-free. To do this, visit the Review tab in WPS Writer.

Step 2: Next, click on the "AI Spell Check" button to open WPS AI Spell Check.

WPS AI Spell Check Feature



Step 3: With WPS AI spell check open on the right side of the screen, where all the grammatical errors will be displayed, click on "Accept All" to avoid going through all the corrections.

Accept all corrections suggested by WPS AI Spell Check



Step 4: Furthermore, WPS AI spell check can be tailored according to the academic style being followed. To do this, click on the "Set Goals" button.

WPS AI Set Goals feature



Step 5: Now, set the Domain as "Academic", and then click on the Academic Format of your choice.

Set Academic Style



WPS AI can also be used to improve writing, or we can also use it to shorten or elongate the content that we have.

Step 1: Open your academic document on WPS Writer and use your cursor to select the text that you want to improve.

Step 2: Now, right-click to open the context menu, and then click on the "WPS AI" button.

Enable WPS AI



Step 3: This will enable the WPS AI assistant, which provides a couple of options for students such as "Improve Writing", "Change Layout", "Make Longer", and others.

WPS AI options for Students



Step 4: Once you have chosen any option, WPS AI will process your request, and the results will be displayed. If you're not content with the results, click on the "Rewrite" option.

Ask WPS AI to Rewrite



Step 5: Students can also decide to "Replace" or "Discard" the results accordingly.

WPS AI Replace or Discard Results



WPS AI is not just a simple addition to office suites anymore. With the introduction of AI, it acts as an assistant for students, capable of helping them at every step, from brainstorming ideas to refining their work. So why wait? Download WPS Office now and see how it is making life easier for thousands of students!

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Converting Your Papers to PDF While Preserving the Format

As a student, most of your submissions require your papers and documents to be in a PDF format. There are a number of ways you can convert your papers to PDF, however there is no guarantee that your format will remain the same.

Sometimes, converting from Word to PDF will either change your font, or add something on a different page or mess up your alignment.

WPS makes your life easier by having a built-in option to convert your Word documents to PDF while preserving your format.

To make it simpler for you, follow the below steps to do the same.

Step 1: Go to the Menu.

Step 2: Click “Export to PDF”.

Export to PDF Option in the Menu



Step 3: Select “Common PDF” and then “Export to PDF”.

Export to PDF Pop-up



You can go through your document as well and you will find all your formatting intact.

FAQs about Adding Page Numbers in Word

Q1. How do I stop page numbering from a specific page in Word?

There are different ways you can remove page numbers from a specific page or stop page numbering in Word. You can follow the below steps and you will successfully remove your page number.

  • Click on the page number that you want to remove

  • Press Delete

If, however, you only want to remove the page number from the first page of the document, then you can simply go to the Header/Footer tab, and select “Different First Page”.

Q2. How do I exclude a page from page numbering?

If you want to exclude certain pages from page numbering, you can follow the below steps to make it simple:

Step 1: Go to the specific page you want your page number to be excluded

Step 2: Insert a section break - “Next Page”  in your previous page.

Step 3: Double click on either the Header or Footer of the page (where you want to delete the page number)

Step 4: Uncheck the box that says “Link to Previous”

Step 5: Go to the Insert Tab

Step 6: Click on “Page Numbers” and click “Remove Page Number”.

Q3. How to create different headers or footers for odd and even pages

Here is a straightforward guide on how to create custom headers and footers in Microsoft Word:

Step 1: Open the Word document you wish to customize. Double-click on the header section of the document.

Step 2: In the Header and Footer ribbon, locate and select the option for "Different Odd & Even Pages."

Step 3: On an odd page, click on the header or footer area you want to edit. Enter your document title, then press Tab twice.

Step 4: Go to "Page Number", select "Current Position", and pick a style.

Step 5: Move to an even page. Repeat the process for page numbering on the even page.

Step 6: Press Tab twice and type in your document title.

Step 7: Finally, click on "Close Header and Footer" or press Esc to conclude.

Q4. Can we customize the appearance of page numbers in Word?

Word provides robust customization options for page numbers. You can adjust the font, size, color, style, and positioning of page numbers to align perfectly with your document's layout and design requirements.

Simplify Your Thesis with WPS Writer: Effortless Page Numbering

At the end of your thesis, adding page numbers will be one less problem for you now. With all the tricks up your sleeve on how to add page numbers in Word as per your need, you can format your file exactly the way you want to. WPS, a student-friendly Office-Suite, makes your life easier in more than one way. Download WPS Writer now, to get the full experience.

15 years of office industry experience, tech lover and copywriter. Follow me for product reviews, comparisons, and recommendations for new apps and software.