How to Number Pages in Google Docs

Regardless of the length of the text you’re writing, it always looks more professional to add numbers to your pages. This way, the reader will easily know how far they’ve progressed through your document. But, as with any other program, you might struggle to find this option in Google Docs.

If you’ve been adding page numbers to each document manually, you’re not the first, and certainly won’t be the last to do so. However, adding automated page numbers to any Google doc is an extremely practical option to use.

Using page numbering, you don’t have to worry about skipping a page anymore. Now you can fully focus on writing and let Google Docs take care of the rest.

In this article, you’ll learn how to number pages in Google Docs, as well as how you can format the numbers to your liking.

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What Is Page Numbering in Google Docs?

The page numbering feature in Google Docs is similar to that in Microsoft Word. Of course, Google’s online tool doesn’t have all the bells and whistles Word has, but it’s pretty capable nonetheless.

By using the option to add page numbers to your document, you’re essentially allowing Google Docs to take care of that for you. Once you activate it, you’ll see a page number immediately appear on every page of your document.

Why Use Page Numbering in Google Docs?

Whether you’re reading a hard copy novel or an e-book, you’ll agree that it’s essential to know at what page you are at any given moment. Additionally, it’s great to know how many pages there are in total, so you can chart your progress.

The same applies to whatever text you’re writing. And that’s especially true if you intend to print it and share it with others.

As mentioned in the section above, with page numbering you get the benefit of automating this process. This allows you more mental room to focus on the topic you’re writing about and definitely save time in the process.

How to Number Pages in Google Docs

Getting rid of manual page numbering is crucial for your writing. This will not only save you time, but also make sure each page ends up with a proper number. In this section, you’ll learn how to add page numbers to your Google doc and how to customize them.

  1. Open your document in Google Docs.
  2. Click the “Insert” tab from the top menu.
  3. Click “Page numbers.”
  4. Choose one of the numbering layouts you prefer.
  5. Now you should see the page numbers in your Google doc.
insert page number

If you don’t want to use an existing numbering template, you can customize the layout by yourself.

  1. Click the “Insert” tab from the top menu.
  2. Click “Page numbers.”
  3. Click “More options.”

The “Page numbers” menu opens. Here you can choose whether the numbers appear in the header or footer. You can uncheck the option to include the number on the first page of your document, starting the numbering from the second page. Finally, you can choose the first number with which the numbering should start.

set page numbers

You might want to add the total number of pages to your page numbering as well. If so, follow the steps below:

  1. Double-click next to the page number in your Google doc.
  2. Depending on whether you chose your page numbers to be in the footer or header of your document, the appropriate one will open for editing.
  3. Now click to the right of the page number.
  4. Click the “Insert” tab from the top menu.
  5. Click “Page numbers.”
  6. Click “Page count.”

The total number of pages in your document will appear next to the page number.

To visually separate the two numbers, it’s best to add a character or some text between them. For example, you can add the “/” sign in between so that it looks like this: 2/3. You can use text to make it even more clear what these numbers represent: 1 of 2 pages.

Page Numbering in Google Docs FAQ

How to start page numbering from the second page?

If you don’t want to count the title page of your document into your page numbers, you can do that easily in Google Docs. Go to Insert tab > Page numbers > More options to open the “Page numbers” menu. First, deselect the option “Show on first page”. Next, in the “Numbering” section, enter number zero to the “Start at” field. Click “Apply” to confirm the changes.

How to format page numbers in Google Docs?

Formatting page numbers in any Google doc is quite simple. Just double-click any of the page numbers you’ve inserted previously. Next, select the page number. Now you can use the top menu to format the number as any other text. You can change its size, color, font, style, alignment, as well as anything else Google Docs allow you to do with text.

Can you start numbering the pages in the middle of a Google doc?

Unfortunately, no, you can’t. At the time of writing, Google still hasn’t enabled page numbering to start on the page of your choosing. You can start the numbering either from the first or the second page for now.

Will page numbers realign after I rearrange the pages?

Page numbering is automatic in Google Docs. You may want to cut the entire content of a page and paste it to another blank page in your document. This action doesn’t affect page numbering. The pages will retain their numbers according to their position in the document, regardless of the cut/paste operation.

Can I have page numbers both in the header and footer?

Yes, you can. The way to do this is to first add the page number to the footer, for example. Once you do that, you can go through the same process of adding a page number, only this time choose header instead. You’ll see that page numbers now appear both at the top and the bottom of the page.


Hopefully, this article helped you learn how to automatically number pages in Google Docs. The days of wasting time to number each page manually are now behind you. By leaving this portion of the job to an in-app feature you ensure there are no page numbers you might’ve skipped. With that sorted out, it’s time to fully focus on writing the best text you can.

About the Author

Kevin Kessler
Kevin J. Kessler is a published author of five fantasy novels, a professional wrestler, and a puppeteer (not all at the same time). Kevin is a content writer at Codeless.