How to Fix Page Numbers in Word

What to do when the page numbering isn't continuous in Word

What to Know

  • To reset page numbers, go to Insert > Page Number > Remove Page Numbers. Do this for each section.
  • To adjust page numbering, go to Insert > Page Number > Format Page Numbers. Make sure Start at is set to 1.
  • To make page numbers continuous, go to Format Page Numbers and choose Continue from previous section.

This article explains how to fix page numbers in Word 2021, 2019, 2016, and Word for Microsoft 365.

How Do You Reset Page Numbers in Word?

If your page numbering if off in Word, the easiest solution is to remove the page numbers and start over. To remove page numbers in Word, click anywhere in the document, go to the Insert tab, then select Page Number > Remove Page Numbers. You can then adjust the numbering settings and add page numbers to your Word document as you please.

If you have section breaks, you might need to reset the page numbering for each section. Page number options are also available under the Header & Footer tab.

Insert tab and Page Number in Word

How Do I Fix Messed-Up Page Numbers in Word?

To adjust the numbering settings, go to the Insert tab, then select Page Number > Format Page Numbers.

Format Page Numbers in Word

From here, you can choose a number format and even include chapter information. Under Page numbering, make sure Start at is set to 1. Select OK to save changes.

To start numbering on the second page, set Start at to 0.

Start at in Page Format Options for Microsoft Word

Why Is My Page Numbering Not Continuous in Word?

If you tried to manually add or adjust page numbers, it can throw off the numbering for the whole document. Section breaks can also cause the page numbering to be inconsistent. Another possibility is the page number format settings have been changed.

To view sections breaks, go to the Home tab and select the Show/Hide icon (¶) in the Paragraph group.

How Do I Make Continuous Page Numbers in Word?

If you notice the page count starts over, it's probably because you set up a section break with a different number scheme. You can remove the section break, but there's an alternative. To make the page numbers continuous:

  1. Click on the page with the incorrect number, then go to Insert > Page Number > Format Page Numbers.

    Page number and Format Page Number in Microsoft Word
  2. Choose Continue from previous section. Select OK to save changes.

    Continue from previous section in Page Number Format box in Microsoft Word


The section break will remain while keeping the page numbering consistent with the previous section. Repeat for each section to make the numbering sequential for the whole document.

How to Add Page Numbers to Different Sections in Word

If you want to break your document into sections with separately numbered pages, follow these steps:

  1. Click in the body of the document where you want the new section to begin, then select the Layout tab.

    Layout tab in Microsoft Word
  2. Select Breaks and choose Next Page under Section Breaks.

    Break and Next Page in Microsoft Word Layout tab
  3. Click in the header or footer (wherever the page number is) and deselect Link to Previous in the Navigation group.

    Link to Previous in Microsoft Word Header/Footer tab
  4. In the new section, go to Insert > Page Number > Format Page Numbers.

    Insert tab and Format Page Numbers in Microsoft Word
  5. Select Start at and set the value to 1. Select OK to save changes.

    Start at 1 highlighted in Page Number Format box in Microsoft Word
FAQ
  • How do I fix page numbers in a table of contents in Word?

    After you have created a table of contents in Word, you can customize the way it appears. Choose Update Table from the Table drop-down menu to update page numbers. You can also go to References > Table of Contents > Custom table of contents to customize your existing table of contents.

  • Why does my Page Number say page merge format in Word?

    If you see { PAGE \*MERGEFORMAT } instead of page numbering, you have field codes turned on in Word. Press the shortcut key combination ALT - F9 to display the field, or page numbers, instead of the field code.

Was this page helpful?