Specifying the Exact Pages to Print

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated November 4, 2019)


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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What is three more than 1?

2021-02-19 12:37:45

Charles Molway

As you will see in my comment of 2021-02-18, I could not print p6s2 and p9s2. I tried p6s3. It worked! So did p9s3. Yet as far as I know, I still have only two sections. I can only hope I've found a solution, though not a cause.

2021-02-18 10:18:35

Charles Molway

After several years of this tip working for me, it stopped working a few days ago. For example, I can no longer print p6s2 and p9s2, or any other section two page within the range of the section one pages.
I have in the past used Troubleshooter out of the Settings page when this happened, and that worked, but Troubleshooter no longer finds the problem. I have disconnected the printer on a few occasions and that worked, but even that stopped working. I have unplugged the printer and not plugged it in and turned it on until after I have reopened the document, and I have tried rebooting my computer using Restart.
I don't know if this is a computer problem, an MSWord problem, or a printer problem.
Charlie M.

2021-01-12 06:52:53

Meredyth Sawyer

I've already had so much trouble with Word 365, I'm sorry I bought it. Previously, I had Word 2010. My problem is that when I try to print a specific page, in the Print menu, I get the page before, printed. I have no sections. The pages are numbered only by what Word calls them. I counted them to check and the page I wanted printed was 16 and that was also what Word said it was at the bottom of the document page. It printed page 15. I also see 2 pages in the preview, when I usually only see 1. I am a 70 year old woman & excellent touch typist, who doesn't use multiple printers or computers and I don't have a smart phone. I only use my computer. I do everything in word and have done for over 30 years. I used Word Perfect before that. So, don't ask me too many technical questions because during all this time, I've been using this word processing system in the simplest way but pushing boundaries on what I can do with 'drawing' for instance & how many pictures or drawn items I can comfortably fit into a document. The point is that I've been doing the same things all along and suddenly, when I change to 365, so other things changed. This page I want is in a file that has existed for years & was recently made compatible with 365. For some reason, it doesn't have the same numbering in Print mode that it does in the document. How can I get the Print menu to recognise the numbers correctly? As I said, the document is continuous without a separate section at the front. I would count from the first page anyway when selecting it to print. I haven't had this trouble before.

2018-07-26 19:05:53

David C.

I run into document, in Word 2016, where the document will not print a page range unless you provide a page and section numbers.
So like, let's say there is a 30 page document.
I put in 22-30.
Nothing is printed.

It will print the range if I go in and put the #p#s-#p#s - but then have to figure that out.

Why doesn't work use actual page numbers to print, if you do not specify any sections?

2017-08-15 15:56:58

John P. Feiler

This is still saving people (me!) two years after it was initially published. Love the hint about the "i" too! Who knew?!?

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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