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In this issue... Page Numbering in your Book


Page Numbering in your Book

by Bruce L. Cook

What could be more simple – a book has 250 pages – 1 to 250. Wrong! ... (continued below)










Anthology (continued)... (continued)

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Page Numbering in your Book

What could be more simple – a book has 250 pages – 1 to 250.


Think of the “front matter” in a normal book. There might be a title page, usually with copyright and publisher information on the back of the page.

Then might come a Table of Contents, Prologue or Preface, dedication page, etc. These would be pages i through x or something, if indeed the page numbers are printed at all.

After the front matter, the “correct” page numbers start with page 1 of numbered pages. In the example above, the book would have 10 pages between i and x and then 240 numbered pages.

That’s fine, one might say, but be aware that a copy in a PDF file or another preview system is likely to list the page numbers without considering the “i to x” pages or even the title page, which might not be in the numbering system at all. Thus, if the book has a Table of Contents or Index, their numbers will be correct for the book’s numbered ages (1 – 240) but not be the same when viewed in a preview system or PDF file. In the case above, you would need to add ten to the number in the Table of Contents.

As long as we’re looking at page numbering, how is this handled in Microsoft Word – virtually the standard for writers worldwide? Well, a document is separated into sections. Then, by highlighting some text within the desired section, go to Insert>Footer>Edit Footer and select whether to have page numbers continue from the previous section.

A Table of Contents for Your Book: What about the Table of Contents? Highlight the section headings and assign Header 1 style to them. Once that’s done, go back, locate and click on the point where the Table of Contents is to start. This is usually a new page. Then go to References tab and select Table of Contents, choosing your preferred style. This will insert a well-formatted table which accurately reflects the page numbering in your main text.

Amazingly, you can update the Table of Contents when needed so that it will display pages and chapter titles dynamically, as you make changes. After first creating it, if you make changes in the text (as is likely), click in the Table of Contents and, under the References tab, select “Update Table.” Choose whether your edits are to affect the headings or just the page numbers. If both, choose to update the entire table. Otherwise just update the page numbers. (Be sure to do a final update when you settle in the final version if your book.)

As a further note, if the Table of Contents is contained in the front pages section, it will reflect page numbers from the main numbering section and also reflect page numbers for front matter pages (providing you have marked their headers as style h1 or h2, etc.)

An Index for Your Book: What about the Index? Here is another Microsoft Tool with surprising capabilities. To set one up, simply go to the first word you want indexed and highlight it. Then press Alt-Shift-x (shortcut) or go to References>Mark Entry. In the Mark Index Entry window that appears, be sure to click “mark all” (assuming you want every occasion of that word in the text to be indexed).  Repeat this for all other words you want indexed. (Note: If the word you select is capitalized or has special formatting [e.g. Bold, Italic, and underline], only words with that formatting will be included in the index. In that case, enter a plain text version of the word in the Mark Index Entry window. (If, despite this caution, your index ends up with words having special formatting, you can make changes in the index in the same way you make corrections in the text. However, these “edits” will disappear every time you update the entire table – not just page numbers. In that case, edit again.)
You insert the Index by clicking within the document text, at the end, by selecting references>Insert Index. Once you have inserted the Index, you can update it under the Insert Index icon. Warning – be certain non-printing characters (e.g., paragraph marks and index codings) are not visible when you create or update the index. Use the shortcut Ctrl-Shift-8 or Ctrl-*) to make the offprinting characters disappear. Otherwise, page numbering will be wrong.

I remember a professor who wrote a major broadcasting textbook. Because these conveniences did not exist, he had to take a whole week off work to write his own index. Try to remember that when you feel stymied by this sometimes confusing but effective process.

A Table of Contents and Index will make your document very professional.

Best of luck. You’re in the numbers!




Humanity´s existence is on peril. Its worst enemy is not only violence, war or terrorism, but also a profound lack of love, sensibility and empathy. A complete change for all of us is possible, but only will arrive from an innovative thought and a serious research on the possible ways out. 

The solution to our problem hides in this book…Let us find the cure to this severe illness that is causing the decadence and perhaps death of our blue planet Earth. 



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Publishing New Writers,

July 2016 (no. 1707)


Dr. Bruce L. Cook
1407 Getzelman Drive
Elgin, IL 60123

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