Page numbers serve an important function in your Microsoft Word documents, but they can be a bit boring. If you’d like to draw attention to page numbers, try adding color and graphics.
When you add page numbers to a Microsoft Word document, you might not give much thought to how they look. However, there are several built-in formats that you can use to make them stand out a bit. If you want to add a bit of pizazz so they really stand out, try adding graphics and bright colors to the page number. In this tutorial, I’ll show you three simple ways to make page numbers stand out in a Word document.
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I’m using Microsoft 365 on a Windows 10 64-bit system, but you can use earlier versions. Word for the web doesn’t display headers and footers, but if you print from the online version, Word will print them. The examples aren’t particularly design worthy: I’m just showing you the possibilities.
Before we can perk up the page numbers, we need to add the page-numbering field to a document. Normally, you’d enter one, but we’ll enter more than one so there’s a few to work with.
To enter a few page numbers, do the following:
As you can see in Figure A, Word adds the page-numbering field to the document’s header. We didn’t open the header, but Top of Page will always end up in the header. Similarly, Bottom of Page will always end up in the footer. Use this option to add a few page numbers to the left margin and the current position. With a few page-numbering fields in the document, we’re ready to spice them up a bit.
One simple method is to display a shape behind the number. To illustrate this method, open the header so we can work with that page number:
As you can see in Figure C, the number is visible on top of the shape. Feel free to change the fill color, add a border, and so on.
Another way to have a bit of fun with page numbers is to format the number using text effects. To illustrate this method, select a page number and do the following:
As you can see in Figure D, I chose a blue outline option.
You can do this with page numbers in the header or footer, but it’s a bit easier to work in the body of the document. Later, you can paste the formatted number into the header if you like.
A simple shape behind the number is easy to implement, but let’s combine a few shapes to suggest a bit of motion. You can move the shape when you’re done creating it, so don’t worry about positioning the combined shape behind the page number. Insert it anywhere and reposition it when you’re done.
Now, let’s combine two shapes as follows:
So far, we’ve used a few graphics to make page numbers stand out a bit, but Word offers a few that are ready to use — you won’t have to build them yourself. You can see one of these in Figure A. Look for the one with the vertical line between the word Page and the page number. I didn’t create that. I simply inserted it from the Page Number dropdown.
Before you spend too much time building page-numbering highlights, review the options already available. To find them, click the Insert tab and use the Page Number dropdown in the Header & Footer group. All of the categories offer several. Figure G shows several of them and there are many more.
Plain page numbers are fine for most documents. When you want to highlight page numbers, use graphics and color to make them stand out. This is especially helpful when the header or footer area has more content than the page number.