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How do you omit the page number on the final page of a Word document?

I was asked this recently by someone who is using Lulu.com’s self-publishing service. Lulu had asked her to resubmit her book with a completely blank final page – no page number, nothing. Finding the solution to this seemingly simple request proved to be frustrating.

In fact, the solution is simple, but not entirely obvious.

Omitting first page numbers

Word certainly makes it easy to omit the page number on the first page of a document. For example, to begin numbering a document on page 2 using Word 2003:

  1. Click on the first page of your document and then click Insert Menu -> Page Numbers to display the Page Numbers dialog box.
  2. Select the positioning for your page numbers.
  3. Uncheck ‘Show number on first page’.
  4. If you’d like to display ‘1’ on page two (that is, you want to start the actual page numbering count on the second page), click Format and set the value of the Start At box to 0.

Here’s how to do the same thing in Word 2007:

  1. Click the Insert tab and in the Header & Footer section click Page Number.
  2. Click Top of Page, Bottom of Page or Page Margins to select a location for the numbering and select a numbering format from the gallery.
  3. On the Design tab, check Different First Page.
  4. To start the page numbering count on the second page, on the Design tab click Page Number -> Format Page Numbers and set the Start At control to 0.

An alternative method is to create a different first page header/footer in your document: simply use the ‘Different first page’ option in the Page Setup dialog. In Word 2003, it’s File -> Page Setup -> Layout tab -> Different first page; in Word 2007 it’s Page Layout tab -> Page Setup -> Layout tab -> Different First page.

Omitting last page numbers

Although things are not quite so obvious when you want to change the header or footer on the last page, it’s still easy to do and there are a number of ways to do it. The easiest methods involve creating the final page in a separate section.

Method 1: De-link the final section.

If you’re using Word 2003:

  1. Create your document as usual with page numbering in your header or footer.
  2. Go to the end of the last page containing text in your document.
  3. Click Insert Menu -> Break.
  4. In the Break dialog box, select Next Page in the Section break section and click OK. This will add a section break and a new page with the same page numbering format as the preceding pages.
  5. Double-click in the Header or Footer. You should see the words ‘Same as previous’ above the header/footer.
  6. Click the Link to Previous button on the Header and Footer toolbar. The ‘Same as previous’ message will vanish and you can now delete the contents of the Header/Footer and doing so will affect only the last page.

If you’re using Word 2007:

  1. Create your document as usual with page numbering in your header or footer.
  2. Go to the end of the last page containing text in your document.
  3. Click Page Layout -> Breaks and, under Section Breaks, click Next Page.
  4. Double-click in the Header or Footer. You should see the words ‘Same as previous’ above the header/footer.
  5. Click the Link to Previous button on the Header and Footer toolbar, then edit the page header/footer as needed.

Method 2: Use a different ‘first’ page on the final section.

In Word 2003, follow steps 1 – 4 in the de-linking instructions above to add a single-page section at the end of your document. Then:

  1. Click File Menu -> Page Setup -> Layout tab.
  2. Check the ‘Different first page’ box.
  3. In the Apply To drop-down box, select ‘This section’ and click OK.

If you’re using Word 2007, follow steps 1 – 3 in the de-linking instructions above and then:

  1. Click Page Layout and click the Page Setup button (the arrow at the right of the Page Setup section).
  2. On the Layout tab in the Page Setup dialog box, click ‘Different first page’. Make sure ‘This section’ is displayed in the Apply To box and click OK.

That’s not so hard, and it should be apparent that you can use similar techniques to add multiple sections to a document, each with its own page numbering format.

  • http://www.facebook.com/jaqdhawkins Jaq D Hawkins

    Thank you. You’ve just cured me from 3 days of total lunacy in trying to get these page numbers to stop linking.

  • EmilyGoodall

    Thanks for taking the time to wade through this. All these years and Microsoft is still struggling with this program. Stuff like this is a productivity killer.