even odd number problem

Copper Contributor

My doc is a book.
I have even odd pages, both for headers and for page numbers which are in the footer.
The chapters are separated by section breaks (next page).
Each chapter starts with a 'new first page' so that I can remove the headers from that page.
However some chapters start on odd pages and others on even pages.
When a chapter starts on an even page the page number is on the right instead of the left.
If I move it to the left the the page numbers on the first page of all chapters are moved to the left, even when it's an odd page - even page 1.
If I delete the page number all the page numbers on the first page of a chapter get deleted.
I've tried doing an even page break for those chapters. Didn't work.
I've tried starting the numbering at the start of each chapter. Doesn't work.

18 Replies


To address the issue with page numbers appearing on the right instead of the left when a chapter starts on an even page, you can follow these steps in Microsoft Word:

  1. Place section breaks (Next Page) at the end of each chapter to separate them into different sections.
  2. Double-click on the header or footer area of the page where you want to adjust the page numbering.
  3. In the Header & Footer Tools Design tab, check the "Different First Page" option. This will allow you to remove headers or footers from the first page of each chapter.
  4. Ensure that the "Different Odd & Even Pages" option is also selected. This will enable you to have different headers or footers for odd and even pages.
  5. Click on the page number in the header or footer area to select it.
  6. Right-click on the selected page number and choose "Format Page Numbers" from the context menu.
  7. In the Page Number Format dialog box, select the alignment option that corresponds to the desired placement of the page numbers (e.g., "Left" for odd pages, "Right" for even pages).
  8. Click "OK" to apply the changes.

*The steps and the text are provide with AI's help.

By using the combination of "Different First Page" and "Different Odd & Even Pages" options, you can control the placement of page numbers for chapters starting on both odd and even pages. Adjusting the alignment of the page numbers for each section will help you achieve the desired result.

Note: Please always save a backup file before attempting anything.

Thank you @NikolinoDE,

I will try this. 



Use "Different first page" in order for header/footer content to be different on the starting page of each new section. 


Instead of a Next Page section break, use an Odd Page section break. This ensures that each new section starts on a right-hand page. You can change the type of section after it has been created by using the Page Setup dialog box. Change the "Section start" option.

Thank you, Stefan_Blom.
I've used different first page.
I tried Even Section Break, but it does not work. The problem is only on those chapters which start on an even page (the page number is on the right or odd).
I'll try the Section Start option again.

All when I'm back at my computer.
Hi NikolinoDE.
I've tried all these things. It is only the chapters which start on an even page which have their numbers on the wrong side. Even if I disable 'link to previous' and/or start page numbering again, when I move the page number to the even side all the page numbers on Chapters which start on an odd page move to the even side as well.
Hello Stefan_Blom,
Whether I replace my 'next page' section break with and 'even page' or an 'odd page' break all my page numbers disappear entirely.
If I change the layout option from 'new page' to 'continuous' the section breaks disappear altogether.



Deleting any section break will also delete section properties (page number restarts, header/footer content etc.), so it will be a lot easier to change the type of section. 


To get a clearer picture of what happens, display nonprinting marks, so that you can see all the section breaks more easily. Use the ¶ icon on the Home tab of the ribbon. Remember that a section break stores the formatting of the preceding section but displays the type of the following section. 


If this is Word for Windows, you can access the Page Setup properties for a particular section by clicking in that section and then using the dialog launcher icon (which is the little arrow on the bottom right) in the Page Setup group on the Layout tab. 




@Vera888 If you share a copy of the document, we will help you to get it sorted out.

Hello @Doug_Robbins_Word_MVP (MVP)
Thank you!
This means that I would upload it to OneDrive and share the link only with whoever would help?
I can probably figure out how to do that.
It is at this point an unpulished manuscript and we represent the author so I wouldn't want to post a public link.
I could also send it via email to whoever is taking a shot at it.

One alternative solution I haven't been successful with either is to insert a blank page before each chapter starting on even pages so that every section starts on an odd page. The book will cost a couple of cents more to print but that's okay with me.

I spent hours with a Microsoft Word help person who didn't know what odd even was or what printed book page numbers looked like.
@Stefan_Blom I always have formatting marks on (except occasionally when I look at it in Print Preview mode). The page setup is set to 'next page'. If I set it to 'continuous' it removes all section breaks.
On the alternative of inserting a blank page after chapters which end on odd pages, I also have to remove both the header and footer from the blank page. I disable the 'link to previous' before trying to do that, but then it removes ALL the even page numbers.
best response confirmed by Vera888 (Copper Contributor)

@Vera888 Hi Vera,


You can send the document to me at dougrobbinsmvp[atsymbol]gmail[dot]com

Thank you @Doug_Robbins_Word_MVP ! Just sent.
Thank you @Doug_Robbins_Word_MVP for solving the problem!

For anyone interested it was done with an Odd Page Break (instead of a Next Page Break). Although it added a few pages to the book it's solved for me.

Also, I had been making some progress by applying ALT+SHIFT+P to the errant page numbers but it seems there's a conflict between the section break settings and the even odd page settings. Some take and others bounce back to misalignment.

@Vera888 I am not sure whether your mention of using ALT+SHIFT+P was on the modified document that I sent to you or not.  I believe that the page numbering was all in order in that document and there would be nothing required to be done to it in that respect.

No, @Doug_Robbins_Word_MVP the ALT+SHIFT+P was something I was trying on misaligned page numbers in the meantime and it did work for some pages. I only mention that for general interest. There does seem to be conflict between the programming for 'new first page' in new sections and 'even odd' numbers in the footers.

Your solution, which was to replace my 'next page' breaks with 'odd page' breaks was easy and worked perfectly. It adds a few blank pages through the book but this is not an issue. Thank you again. My problem is solved.

@Vera888 It is only when the document is printed (or saved as a PDF) that Word inserts any blank pages that are required so that the page after an Odd Page Section Break will start on a recto page.

Thank you again @Doug_Robbins_Word_MVP !
1 best response

Accepted Solutions
best response confirmed by Vera888 (Copper Contributor)

@Vera888 Hi Vera,


You can send the document to me at dougrobbinsmvp[atsymbol]gmail[dot]com

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