Specifying the Exact Pages to Print

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated September 5, 2015)


Frank wants to print pages 4 and 5 of his document, and just those two pages. Howver, there are two sections in the document, one section for front matter (pages i through ix) and the other for the main document (pages 1 through 32). When Frank tries to specify that he wants pages 4 and 5 printed, Word prints pages iv and v instead. He wants to know how to print the real pages 4 and 5.

When you indicate that you want to print pages 4 through 5 (to continue Frank's example), Word assumes that you want to print the very first pages 4 and 5 that occur in the document. So, as Frank found out, that is what it prints.

Some people believe that if you wanted to print the "real" pages 4 and 5, you need to add to those page numbers the number of pages in the front matter. That means that you should ask Word to print pages 13 (9+4) and 14 (9+5). This doesn't work, however. If your document is long enough, it will actually print Arabic-numbered pages 13 and 14 from the document (not 4 and 5), unless there are over 14 pages in your front matter—in that case it would print pages xiii through xiv. (If there were only 13 pages in your front matter, then Word would actually print a total of 15 pages, numbered xiii through 14.)

This can be very frustrating, but there is a trick to printing specific pages from your document when you have multiple sections in that document. Frank has multiple sections in his; he has to have multiple sections in order to have the front matter numbered differently than the main document.

Pull up the Print page in Word; the easiest way is to press Ctrl+P. You want to pay particular attention to Pages box. (See Figure 1.)

Figure 1. Getting ready to print.

In the Pages box you would normally place 4-5 to indicate you wanted to print pages 4 and 5. The trick is to be more specific in your page references. What Frank actually wants to print is page 4 of section 2 through page 5 of section 2. So, he would enter "p4s2-p5s2" (without the quote marks) in the Pages box. Word then knows, precisely, what you want to print.

If you ever forget this notation, just hover your mouse pointer over the information icon just to the right of the range box. (The information icon looks like a lowercase "i" with a circle around it.) Word helpfully provides some advice on how to specify what you want to print. (See Figure 2.)

Figure 2. Word shows you how you can enter page ranges.

It is problaby already obvious from Frank's example, but you specify a range by separating the beginning and ending pages with a dash. If you want, you can specify non-contiguous pages by separating the pages with a comma. Thus, if Frank had wanted to print pages 4, 5, 7, and 11 from the main body of his document, we would have entered "p4s2-p5s2, p7s2, p11s2" (again, without the quote marks) into the Pages box.

Once you understand how to specify ranges in the way that Word expects, printing specific ranges of pages is a snap!

Oh; one other thing—there are alternative methods of printing just a few pages. You could, for instance, display the page you want to print and then choose in the Print settings to print just that page. Or, you could select the pages you want to print and tell Word to print just the selection. Honestly, though, if you want to print whole pages, then specifying in the range box of the Print settings exactly what you want to print is the fastest and easiest.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (2546) applies to Microsoft Word 2007, 2010, and 2013.

Author Bio

Allen Wyatt

With more than 50 non-fiction books and numerous magazine articles to his credit, Allen Wyatt is an internationally recognized author. He  is president of Sharon Parq Associates, a computer and publishing services company. ...


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Comments for this tip:

If you would like to add an image to your comment (not an avatar, but an image to help in making the point of your comment), include the characters [{fig}] in your comment text. You’ll be prompted to upload your image when you submit the comment. Images larger than 600px wide or 1000px tall will be reduced. Up to three images may be included in a comment. All images are subject to review. Commenting privileges may be curtailed if inappropriate images are posted.

What is 8 - 1?

2015-09-08 10:47:18

Chris P

Oh the paper my company wasted for years! We finally removed the Roman numerals in the front pages of our specifications and just use Arabic to eliminate this problem which also occurred when printing PDF versions. Had we only known...

I too will now be on the look-out for the info symbol. As with other things in Word, the solution was not at all intuitively obvious.

So glad I found this website! Will be sharing with my team. THANKS!

2015-09-08 10:35:48

Jessica Letteney

Very helpful. I always just turned it into a PDF, but that sometimes took time. Thanks.

2015-09-07 07:02:21

Daryl Griffiths

Gosh! I too had struggled with this problem for years and had never noticed the 'i' symbol either!

Thanks for this excellent tip.

2015-09-05 19:48:05


Thank you! I never remember how the page/section notation should be entered. I'd never noticed the info symbol before. I wonder how many of those I do not notice!

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