Tech and Biz Ramblings

Reset Page Numbering in OpenOffice Writer

How many times have you wanted to change the page numbering for your document but didn't know how to? After 10 minutes of trying all options that you know, twice, to no avail? At the end of all that frustration and time wasting, you decide that, “Hey, maybe I didn't really need to change the page sequence. Nobody will notice. Much..”

Fret no more, here's help.

Before we talk about resetting the page number, let's talk about page breaks. When doing word processing, inevitably you will need to start a new chapter/paragraph/sentence on a new page (like the figure on the right).

Less savvy users will simply spam the Enter key enough times until the cursor crosses over to the next page. Savvy users click on the Insert option in the menu bar. Then on Manual Break. In the dialog box, choose Page break. Experienced users use the key combination CTRL+Enter to bring the cursor to the next page immediately.

Needless to say, redundant enter keys are not recommended at all - especially if you are typing a report or a book. Using the “Experienced” method of the key combination helps you break to a new page, but it doesn't help in changing the page number for the new page. Strangely enough, it is the “manual” method that will help you create a new page number for the new page.

When prompted with the screen that asks you to select the type of manual break (see figure below), make sure “Page break” is selected. Next, select the style of the page. When I have the time, may be I will explain the concept of page styles in another post.

For now, if you don't know what your page style is, close this dialog box first. Then click on the menu bar Format > Styles and Formatting. A Styles and Formatting window will appear. Hover your cursor over the 4th button from the left. The tool tip should say “Page Styles”. Click on this button and the highlighted entry in that entry is the style of your page.

If you have not played with page styles before, the highlighted entry for you is probably default. Now, open the manual break dialog box again. This time, click on the Style drop-down menu and choose the entry that is your current page style. Once you do that, the options below the drop-down menu become active.

After selecting your style, click on “Change page number”. Doing so will make 1 appear as the default value below. You can change this number to any value you like. Click on OK and observe that the page number of your new page will become your specified value.

I'm using OpenOffice to write a book now and have discovered so many wonderful features in Writer that are so under-utilised. If you have any questions about OpenOffie Writer, please add it to the comments below. If I can answer your question, I'll probably do a follow-up post.


P.S. If I recall correctly, this method probably works in Microsoft Office 2003 and earlier as well. It's been a long time since I've touched MS Office. I prefer OpenOffice as it uses the Open Document Format (ODF). If you have always been using MS Office, do give OpenOffice a shot. It's free!

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