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How to Add Page Numbers in InDesign

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What You'll Be Creating

Looking up how to add page numbers in InDesign? Well, you're in the right place! In this quick tip, you'll learn how to add page numbers in InDesign for all your design project needs.

We'll be using this Dessert Cookbook Template for this tutorial. You can also find many other InDesign templates on Envato Elements which you can use for this project—any file is fine, as long as it has multiple pages.

Cookbook Template InDesign Tutorial

So you're making a document with a lot of pages, and you've paid close attention to your design. You've been selective with your images, and everything is going great. As you add pages to your document, however, adding the page numbers can get annoying to deal with. Then, if you need to change the order of your pages, you have to go through all of them again to ensure they are in order. Wouldn't it be nice if the page numbers were automatic and you didn't have to worry about it?

Luckily, InDesign automatic page numbering does exactly that. By adding automatic numbers to our pages, we can focus more on our design instead of the small technicalities. The great thing about this approach is that it leaves less room for human error.

Follow along with us over on our Envato Tuts+ YouTube channel:

How to Add Page Numbers in InDesign

Step 1

For the first step, open up your InDesign document.

Make sure the document you're using has multiple pages in order to take advantage of InDesign automatic page numbering.

Open InDesign Project Add Page Numbers

Step 2

Now, seek out the Pages panel in your workspace. If you don't see it, you can find it by going to Window > Pages.

Open Pages Adding Page Numbers to InDesign

Step 3

With the Pages panel open, double-click your master page to open it.

Tip: If you have a setup with pages facing each other, you will have two master pages.

Select Master Page for InDesign

Step 4

Now select the Text Tool from the toolbar, and then click somewhere on the right page to start a text box.

InDesign Page Number Insert Text

Step 5

Now we'll go to Type > Insert Special Characters > Markers > Current Page Number.

Insert Page Numbers InDesign

Step 6

It's that simple to insert a page number in InDesign. InDesign will put the A symbol here on the master page.

Now we'll repeat this process again for the right page of the spread.

Insert Page Number into Document InDesign


Step 7

Next, double-click on the right master page and repeat the process again by placing text down and going to Type > Insert Special Characters > Markers > Current Page Number.

Adjust and move the A symbol to where you want to place the page number so that both master pages have a page number. Take time to adjust the character styles so they match your document.

InDesign Master Pages

Step 8

Now, if you go through your pages, you will see that the page numbers have been automatically numbered in the same style. So if you change the style of this symbol on the master page, the style of the page numbers will also change on every page.

Go ahead and click on page 4 in the Pages panel.

Add Page Numbers

Step 9

Click through your pages to see the page number count. Pretty handy, right?

One of the great things about this technique is that the page number is now on every page. One of the bad things about this technique also happens to be the fact that the page number is on every page! This includes the cover and inside page of our book.

In this case, I want to start counting from the contents page, but the cover and the inside of the cover are both being counted.

Page Numbers InDesign

Step 10

On the Pages panel, right-click the page you want to start from and select Numbering and Section Options.

Add Page Number Section

Step 11

This will bring up the Numbering and Section Options dialog window. Check Start Section.

Start InDesign Page Numbering Section

Step 12

Select the dialog option which states Start Page Numbering and then type in the page 1.

Adding Page Numbers InDesign

Step 13

Now we need to select a name for our new section. Let's just call it Main. In the Section Prefix area, type in your section name Main.

Note: The name can be anything and is just for your reference.

Add Page Section Prefix for InDesign Page Number

Step 14

There are some other interesting features here, such as markers which can be applied to different sections. But for our purposes, this should suit us just fine.

Now go ahead and select OK!

InDesign Page Numbers

Step 15

Notice that there is a small arrow above the page to indicate the start of a new section.

Now you can see that the page numbering starts at our new section! Scroll through your pages to see the numbers in action. Now, when you update your document with extra pages, you don't have to worry about the page numbering anymore!

Add Page Number InDesign Section

Cleaning and Organizing

Remember that you can add as many sections as you like! There may be some cases where you would want to reset numbering based on different sections such as a textbook. To do this, go through the same process, adding new numbering sections where they are needed.

You may need to do some cleanup on pages where you don't want to see numbers. One simple solution for special pages which don't require page numbers is to remove that page from the master. To do this, right-click the page and select Override All Master Page Items. This works great if there are just a couple of pages that don't rely on master page content.

If you want to keep master page elements but just remove the page numbers, then you could make an additional master page which doesn't include the InDesign page numbers.


You just learned how to add InDesign page numbers automatically. From here, you can use this for books, magazines, design briefs, and presentation documents—even your resume if it's big enough! You'll save yourself a lot of time and effort on larger projects now that you know how to add page numbers to InDesign.

We hope you enjoyed this quick tip tutorial. If you found this useful, then check out these other amazing InDesign tutorials from Envato Tuts+.

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