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Indesign Basics: Numbering Pages

InDesign Magazine issue 106: Hidden Color Tools
This article appeared in Issue 106 of InDesign Magazine.

InDesign can number your pages, but a little bit of setup goes a long way.

Page numbering is a basic navigation tool in most publications—so basic that we rarely even think about it. It’s practically hidden in plain sight! The process of working with page numbers in InDesign is mostly automated, which is as it should be. But when working with page numbers, you should allow for some planning and execution, to ensure you get all the right numbers in all the right locations, in every (possibly tricky) situation.

This article will help you make the right choices when you’re planning and executing. Along the way, as you work with page numbering, you might make use of sections, prefixes, layers, and text variables, ending up with something very elegant. But regardless of how you create it, or what it looks like, in the end, every page number has the same simple purpose: to smoothly guide the reader throughout the finished document.

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Erica Gamet

Erica Gamet

Erica Gamet has been involved in the graphics industry for over 30 years. She is a speaker, writer, trainer, and content creator focusing on the Adobe InDesign ecosystem, Apple Keynote, and varied production topics. She is a regular presence at CreativePro Week’s InDesign Conference, speaks frequently at Canada’s ebookcraft and Making Design in Oslo, Norway, and is a CreativeLive instructor. When she isn’t at her computer…oh, let’s be honest, she’s always at her computer. Both Erica and her computer live in Seattle, Washington.
Erica Gamet

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5 Comments on “Indesign Basics: Numbering Pages

  1. To add to all of Erica’s Page Numbering goodies, ID Extras has today just unveiled their latest script, Page Numbers to Words, which allows you to substitute InDesign’s page numbers with any text needed: written-out numbers (one, two, three) in any language, but also anything else you may need (apples, pears, oranges?).

    More info here:

    -Satisfied ID Extras User

  2. I think you have Figure 2 and Figure 3 swapped.

    Regardless, some great tools, and a good reminder that page numbering has a lot of flexibility beyond just the basics. Thank you.

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