Page numbers have an important function in your Microsoft Word documents, but they can be a bit boring. If you want to draw attention to page numbers, try adding color and graphics.
When you add page numbers to a Microsoft Word document, you may not think much about what they look like. However, there are several built-in formats that you can use to make them stand out a bit. If you want to add a little spice to make them really stand out, try adding images and bright colors to the page number. In this tutorial, I’ll show you three easy ways to make page numbers stand out in a Word document. You can download the demo file.
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I use 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 are not exactly design-worthy: I’m just showing you the possibilities.
How to Insert Page Numbering Field in Word
Before we can spice up the page numbers, we need to add the page numbering field to a document. Normally you would enter one, but we will enter more than one so there are a few to work with.
To enter a few page numbers, follow these steps:
- Click the Insert tab.
- In the Header & Footer group, click Page Number.
- In the resulting dialog box, choose Top of Page.
- Select Plain Number 1 from the resulting submenu (Image A).
As you can see in Image A, Word adds the page numbering field to the header of the document. We didn’t open the header, but Top of Page always ends up in the header. Likewise, the bottom of the page always ends up in the footer. Use this option to add some page numbers to the left margin and current position. With a few page numbering fields in the document, we’re ready to spice them up a bit.
How to display a shape after the page number in Word
An easy method is to display a shape after the number. To illustrate this method, open the header so we can work with that page number:
- Click the Insert tab.
- In the Illustrations group, click Shapes.
- In the Basic Shapes section, choose Hexagon from the drop-down list.
- Click in the header and drag to place the hexagon after the number. If necessary, resize or drag the shape to move it. While you are adjusting the shape, you can see the number. When you’re done, you won’t (Figure B).
- To make the number visible, send the shape to the back by choosing Send Behind Text from the Send Backward drop-down list in the Arrange group.
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.
Using text effects to format the page number in Word
Another way to have a little fun with page numbers is to format the number using text effects. To illustrate this method, select a page number and do the following:
- If necessary, click the Home tab.
- In the Font group, click Text Effects and Typography.
- From the drop-down list, select one of the options (Figure D).
As you can see in Figure DI chose a blue outline option.
You can do this with page numbers in the header or footer, but it’s a little easier to work in the body of the document. Later, you can paste the formatted song in the header if you want.
Combine shapes in Word
A simple shape after the number is easy to implement, but let’s combine a few shapes to suggest a little movement. You can move the shape when you’re done creating it, so you don’t have to worry about placing the combined shape after the page number. Stick it anywhere and move it when you’re done.
Now let’s combine two shapes as follows:
- Using the Shapes option on the Insert tab, add a circle and change the color if you want. You can change it to match a color in your organization’s logo. Hold down the Shift key while enlarging the circle to make sure you get a perfect circle.
- Use the Shapes option and insert the Arrow Pentagon in the Block Arrows section.
- Choose white from the Shape Fill option in the Shape Styles group on the Shape Format contextual tab. Place it on top of the circle.
- Select both shapes and choose Group from the Group option in the Arrange group on the Shape Format contextual tab.
- With the two shapes grouped together (Digits E) you can move them together to the page number.
- To make the number visible, as shown in Figure FSend the shape to the back by choosing Send Text Behind from the Send Backward drop-down list in the Arrange group.
Using built-in formats in Word
So far we’ve used a few images to make page numbers stand out a bit, but Word provides a few that are ready to use – you don’t have to build them yourself. You can see one of these in Image 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 creating page numbering markers, take a look at the options already available. To find them, click the Insert tab and use the Page Number drop-down list in the Header & Footer group. All categories offer several. Figure G shows some and there are many more.
Regular page numbers are fine for most documents. If you want to highlight page numbers, use images and color to make them stand out. This is especially useful when the header or footer area has more content than the page number.