Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Word versions: 2007, 2010, and 2013. If you are using an earlier version (Word 2003 or earlier), this tip may not work for you. For a version of this tip written specifically for earlier versions of Word, click here: Two Page Numbering Schemes in the Same Document.

Two Page Numbering Schemes in the Same Document

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated May 4, 2013)


Depending on your needs, you may want to create two independent page-numbering systems within the same document. This is not unusual, particularly in technical documents. For instance, in the header of each page you may want to show something like 'Page 2 of 7,' which means you are on the second page out of seven in the current section. On the footer of the same page, you may want something like 'Page 34,' which means you are on the thirty-fourth page of the entire document.

It doesn't work to just specify that the numbering in headers restarts at 1 in each section and the numbering in the footers continues from the previous section. While you can independently link headers and footers with their counterparts in the previous section, you cannot do that with page numbering. Page numbering is handled on a section-by-section basis; you set it once for each section, and it affects the page numbers used in all headers and footers for that section.

Since page numbering is a section attribute, you cannot have two distinct numbering schemes in the same section. Word does not provide fields that you can use for such a purpose. These are the only page number fields provided by Word:

  • PAGE. This field indicates the current page number. If you don't modify it (by restarting it for the current section or changing the starting page number), then it represents the current page number for the document as a whole.
  • SECTIONPAGES. This field indicates the total number of pages in the current section. If your document consists of a single section, then it represents the total number of pages in the document as a whole, the same as the results of the NUMPAGES field.
  • NUMPAGES. This field indicates the total number of pages in the entire document.

Using these fields, it is impossible to develop two numbering systems, because the PAGE field is the only field that represents an actual count that increments with each page.

Those familiar with fields may also think about using the SEQ field. This field is very useful for many purposes, but directly counting pages is not one of them. You cannot use a SEQ field in your header or footer. Doing so results in an error indicating that the SEQ field can only be used in the main document.

This means that you need to actually come up with some way to run two independent counters. One counter will serve as the page number within the current section, and the other will serve as the page number for the entire document. There are several ways that you can tackle this problem, but the solutions tend to be rather involved. For that reason, I will describe the first solution here, and then provide links to the other solutions.

To place two numbering systems in a document, follow these general steps:

  1. Make sure that you separate the sections in your document using a Next Page section break.
  2. Make sure that the headers and footers of each section are not connected to those of the previous section.
  3. Make sure that the page numbering for each section restarts at 1.
  4. Just before the section break, at the end of each section, add a bookmark as follows: Section 1 bookmark is A, Section 2 is B, ... Section 26 is Z, section 27 is AA, Section 28 is BB, etc.
  5. In the header of each section put the following text and compound field (the curly brackets indicate fields, which are added by pressing Ctrl+F9):
  6.      Page {page} of {pageref {section \* Alphabetic}}
  7. Update the fields in what you just entered. Word displays Page 1 of 3, Page 2 of 3, etc., where the first number is the page number in the section and the second is the total number of pages in the section, i.e., the page number where the bookmark is located. (The {section \* Alphabetic} field is an alphabetic representation of the section number, thus the reason that letters of the alphabet were used in the bookmarks in step 4.)
  8. In the footer of section 1 place {page} of {numpages}. This just gives the page number and the total number of pages in the document.
  9. In the footer of section 2 place the following compound field, which gives the number of pages in the previous section plus the page number of the current section:
  10.      {= {pageref A} + {page}} of {numpages}
  11. In the footer of section 3, place the following compound field:
  12.      {= {pageref A} + {pageref B} + {page}} of {numpages}
  13. In the footer of each subsequent section, place an increasingly long field-based formula, following the same pattern shown in step 9. You want each formula to result in the total count of pages in all sections prior to the section in which the footer is located, along with the page number within that particular section.

This may seem like a lot of work, but there is currently no way around it in Word.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (12609) applies to Microsoft Word 2007, 2010, and 2013. You can find a version of this tip for the older menu interface of Word here: Two Page Numbering Schemes in the Same Document.

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 eight minus 3?

2015-10-23 16:39:37


I was referred here in reply to my question. Before I got this answer, I worked out one of my own. It is similar in that there is a bookmark at the end of each section (I bookmarked the section break so it won't get accidentally deleted.) Our process requires "Page s of S" in each section AND Page x of y (for the document) in the header.
I inserted the field SECTIONPAGES for the number of pages in the section.
I use the Equation field to subtract the page number of the bookmark (the last page of the previous section) from the current document page. It looks like this for section 2 : { = { PAGE } - {PAGEREF Sec_1_end }} (I left out some switches). For each section, I just copied the whole "phrase" "Page s of S", and then changed the section number. Worked surprisingly well.

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