Incorrect Page Counts Shown in Status Bar

Written by Allen Wyatt (last updated September 21, 2019)
This tip applies to Word 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, and Word in Microsoft 365


John notes that at the bottom of the Word window, on the status bar, it normally shows "Page X of X." He's got a document, though, where the incorrect information is shown; he sees "Page 13 of 1," for instance. John wonders how this can be fixed.

The first thing to note is that what John is seeing is on the status bar, not within the document itself. This means that this isn't a manifestation of the historical "X of Y" bug that plagued Word for so many years. So, changes to document content won't help with what John is seeing.

I've seen similar behavior with some documents right after I open them—where the page notations on the status bar don't reflect reality. In my case, the numbers in the status bar sort themselves out after a while, after Word has had the opportunity to do its normal background repagination. For me, this typically happens with very large documents. (I'm talking on the order of several thousand pages here.) If it happens with a shorter document, it could be related to the complexity of the document that Word is trying to repaginate.

Speaking of pagination, it could also be that the background repagination is turned off, which could cause some goofy numbering to appear on the status bar. If you are working with your document in Print Layout view, then background repagination is always on. If, however, you do your work in Draft view, then background repagination can be turned on and off. If it is off, then your pagination, as shown on the status bar, may not make any sense. Here's how you can check the setting:

  1. Display the Word Options dialog box. (In Word 2007 click the Office button and then click Word Options. In Word 2010 and later versions, display the File tab of the ribbon and then click Options.)
  2. At the left side of the dialog box click Advanced. (See Figure 1.)
  3. Figure 1. The Advanced options of the Word Options dialog box.

  4. In the General area of the dialog box (scroll down a bit to find the area), look for the Enable Background Repagination check box. If the check box is clear, then background repagination is turned off.
  5. When you are done checking, close the Word Options dialog box.

If background repagination is turned on and you are working with your document in Print Layout view and the problem only crops up with a single document, then it is possible that the document is corrupted and is giving Word fits. You can check this out by opening the document on other systems and seeing if the same behavior is manifest. If it is, then you'll want to try out the standard method of dealing with corrupt documents:

  1. Open the corrupt document.
  2. Create a brand-new document.
  3. Switch to the corrupt document.
  4. Press Ctrl+Home to go to the beginning of the document.
  5. Press Shift+Ctrl+End. This selects everything between the current insertion point and the end of the document.
  6. Hold down the Shift key as you press the Left Arrow key. This makes sure that the very last character in the document (the ending paragraph mark) is not selected.
  7. Press Ctrl+C. This copies, to the Clipboard, everything that is selected.
  8. Switch to the new document (the one created in step 2).
  9. Press Ctrl+V. The contents of the Clipboard are pasted into the blank document.
  10. Save the new document.
  11. Close the document you suspect is corrupted.

If that doesn't do it for you, you can always copy the information from the corrupted document into a text editor (such as Notepad), close the corrupted document, and then copy the information from the text editor into a new Word document. This gets rid of anything except the bare text, so you'll have a lot of work to do in getting things formatted properly, but it should take care of any lingering corruption issues.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (13677) applies to Microsoft Word 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, and Word in Microsoft 365.

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 two less than 3?

2019-09-22 02:59:45

augustin coppey

Sometimes, saving a corrupt document in .RTF format, then opening that .RTF and saving back into .DOTX can do the trick of purging whatever is problematic inside the original MS-WORD document. It has the advantage of not loosing most of the formatting.

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