How to add Page Numbers in InDesign

How to add page numbers in InDesign blog header

InDesign is the go-to graphic design software when it comes to creating multi-page publications. And where there are multiple pages, page numbers always come in handy. Our video tutorial delves into the features offered by InDesign that can help you place and automate your page numbers.

Magic numbers

In five simple steps, Matt from Solopress shows you not only how to insert discreet page numbers, but also how to automate the process. Matt’s method will also ensure page numbers never become muddled during the editing process and that your double-page spreads always stay facing one another.

Smart sections

You’ll also learn to differentiate chapters with Section Markers that help your reader navigate your publication. Your chapter heading will conveniently appear next to your page number, and when you add or remove pages to and from your sections, these headings will update automatically.

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What if you’re designing a magazine and you want a full-page ad to appear without a page number, but for numbers to resume straight after? Or maybe one of your pages features a dark background, requiring the page number to appear in white? You’ll learn to deal with these eventualities through our invaluable video tutorial:

Video Tutorial: How to add page numbers in InDesign

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When it’s time to send your publication to print, Solopress offer high-quality print over a range of paper stocks on Brochures or Magazines.

Video Transcription

In this Solopress tutorial, I’m going to give you five easy steps for adding page numbering and section naming in InDesign. Let’s take a look.

Step one

When setting up automatic numbering on InDesign, you have to do it in your Masters pages, but you’ll see at the moment I haven’t got any numbering set up. That’s because I always like to start with designing the numbering on an actual page that’s got some design work on it just so you can get a feel for how it’s going to sit within the design.

Another thing I would recommend is having your own layer for the page numbers, so you can keep it separate and be organized. Right, so I’m happy with this design that I’ve created for this page, and it’s basically going to show you the page number, and also I want the name to change depending on what section of the book I’m in.

What I can do once I’m happy with the design is copy it and delete it. I don’t need it there anymore. And I can go to our Masters page and paste it in place, and now it’s a case of setting this up to be automated.

Now there’s a lot more to page numbering than you may realize, so please stick around through these quick steps and you’ll be well-armed for future projects.

Step two

In my Masters, I’ve just added another page number on the other side, and I’ve switched the page, the section name and the page number and right-aligned it. Now we need to add the special characters to these to make them automatic.

What you do, you highlight your page number, go up to Type, come down to, Insert Special Character, add a Marker, and Current Page Number. And then for the section name, again we go to the same place, Type, Insert Special Character, Marker, but this time put the Section Marker in.

I’m going to do the same over this side. So, Section Marker, go to Type, Insert Certain Special Character, Markers, Section Marker, and this one for the page numbers: Type, Insert Special Character, Marker, Current Page Number.

And then when I click on one of our pages in our design, you can see that it’s updated it to the page we’re on. If I click on page five, there we go, page five. And you’ll notice the section name is missing. That’s because we need to set that up in our next step.

Step three

To define our sections so they appear down here, I need to do that within these thumbnails here, but before I do that there’s one important thing to do.

Where there are any spreads that you don’t want to be disturbed, I just select all the pages, and then come up to your menu, and just make sure this one’s unchecked that allows Selected Spreads To Shuffle. I don’t want that to happen, I want them to always stay as spreads. If I didn’t do that, it would start shifting pages along and we’d end up in a bit of a mess.

Anyway, so what we do, we’re going to start a new section here on page two, our “Gulls” page. We’re going to right-click, come down to Numbering & Sections Options, and automatically it will start a new section, so that’s checked, and then you’ve got two options. You can either automatically page number, so it’ll recognize these page numbers here and update it like that, or you can start new page numbering for each section, and I’m going to do that so every section I’ve got, I’m going to start at page one.

And then here, I’ve got this bit here – Section Prefix – this is my first section, so I’m going to call it “a”, and all that means is it will show me a little “a” here, so when I’m getting organized in my thumbnails, I can see what section I’ve got. You can also include that prefix here by checking on this box, which is Include Prefix When Numbering Pages. But I don’t want that – I don’t want there to be an “a” before my number.

And then style of numbering, you’ve got these options here, even Roman numerals, but I’m going to just stick with normal numbering for this one. And section marker, that’s the name of our section and so we’re going to call this one “Gulls”. And then I can OK that, and you can see that it’s updated, so we’re in page one of “Gulls”. And if I come across here, page two of “Gulls”, and if you come down to this new section, “Stacks”, you’ll see it’s still called “Gulls”. That’s because we need to define the new section for the “Stacks”.

You’ll notice as well, these little arrows that appear above the thumbnails, this is showing you where a new section starts. So let’s just quickly do this one as well then. This is going to be our “Stacks” section. I’m going to right-click, Numbering & Sections Options. Yes, I want to start a new selection. Yes, I want to start page numbering at one again for my new section. Section Prefix, I’m going to call this one “b”, because it’s my second section. And that’s going to change this “a” here to a “b”. I’m going to stick with normal numbering. And this section marker, I’m going to call “Stacks”. Click OK.

And I go to my “Stacks” page. You can see that I’m on page one of “Stacks”, and then “Stacks” page two. And you’ll see on this page, we’ve got a dark background. We’re going to come to that in a minute, how we’re going to fix that.

But what you can do now, you’ve got this setup – say I wanted another four pages within my “Stacks” section – this is my “Stacks” section “b”. I can insert some pages, and it’ll update all the page numbers. If I go Insert Pages, and I’m going to go After Page “b2”, so it’s going to be after this page. And I want another four pages in that section. And at the moment I’ve only got one Master, A-Master. So if I click OK, it’s put in four new pages and they should all be numbered correctly to be in “Stacks”. So this should be number three “Stacks”, “Stacks” number four, and so on.

So the beauty of this is when you’ve got, when you’ve got your booklet design and as and when you’re adding pages, it’s just always going to automatically update the name of the section and the page number.

Step four

Going back to our dark page here, obviously, we can’t see these page numbers, but we’ve got two options here.

You might decide that you don’t want page numbering on these ones, or for example, you might have an advert in your magazine and you don’t have page numbering there. So all you can do is pull down this Master page that says none, and you can put that onto the page and it will just, it will just take away the page numbering.

But I don’t want to do that. I want this to be seen on this page. So what I’m going to do is create another, a duplicate of this Master page, and basically just make it white. I’m going to select both these pages, duplicate Master spread A, and then all I’m going to do, I’m going to keep the line red, but I’m going to change the style of these letters to white. Same for this side. So they’re updated.

Now I can either drag those down individually onto this page, or I can select both these pages, and then Apply Masters To Pages. So “c1” and “c2”, that’s those pages, but I want those to be the B-Master. Click OK, and it’s fingers crossed – there you go!

So this section is called light, and that’s page one of light. Hang on, let me just hide my guides. That’s page one of light, that’s page two of light, and then so on and so forth, I can add more pages.

Step five

If you think there’s anything you could add, please share your knowledge in the comments below for fellow viewers, and don’t forget, we’re adding to the channel all the time if you want to subscribe. As always, we appreciate your likes and comments, and thanks for watching, and we’ll see you for the next one.