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Making Sure a Document Always Has an Even Number of Pages

Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Word versions: 97, 2000, 2002, and 2003. If you are using a later version (Word 2007 or later), this tip may not work for you. For a version of this tip written specifically for later versions of Word, click here: Making Sure a Document Always Has an Even Number of Pages.

Zelda would like to be able to automatically add a blank page at the end of a Word document when that document contains an odd number of pages. She would like this to happen because she produces many separate documents that are combined in Adobe and created as PDFs for double-sided printing.

There are two things you can try to get the desired extra page. The first (and perhaps the easiest) is to add a field code to the end of your document that adds the extra page, but only if there are an odd number of pages in the document. Here's the field code:

{ IF { =MOD({ PAGE \* ARABIC}, 2)} = 0 "" "<page break>" }

This should be placed immediately after the last paragraph at the very end of the document. You create the field braces by using Ctrl+F9, and where you see <page break> you should actually add a page break by pressing Ctrl+Enter. The field only adds the page break if the page on which the field occurs is an odd page number. This approach (using the field) is very similar to the approach discussed on this page at the Word MVP site:


The other approach is to use a macro to add the extra page. This doesn't have to be a fancy macro; something as simple as the following will do:

Sub AddPageIfOddNumberOfPages()
If ActiveDocument.BuiltInDocumentProperties("number of pages") Mod 2 <> 0 Then
    Selection.EndKey Unit:=wdStory
    Selection.InsertBreak Type:=wdSectionBreakNextPage
End If
End Sub

Of course, this macro should only be run a single time, just before you print the document for the first time.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (3843) applies to Microsoft Word 97, 2000, 2002, and 2003. You can find a version of this tip for the ribbon interface of Word (Word 2007 and later) here: Making Sure a Document Always Has an Even Number of Pages.

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Comments for this tip:

Steve Wells    16 May 2015, 18:20
In a previous job, I had been told to place "This Page Intentionally Left Blank" on otherwise empty even pages. I hate that message, because it is self-falsifying. It it's got a message, the page is NOT blank.
But there is a point to being clear that an empty page is not a printing error. So…

I set up the company's (printed) manuals to automatically end each chapter on an even page (after a final pre-printing command to update all fields.) At the end of each chapter, I manually placed a nested field group to control everything. The field made no visible changes if it was on an even numbered page, and with non-printing characters showing, it looked like a lone paragraph mark, or when hiding the non-printing characters, it was invisible. It contained the following fields:


In the above, curly braces are the field markers and tiny dots are blank spaces, which are important to have exactly right. The items in angle brackets are inserted: a manual page break and a soft return (Shift+Enter). I set the entire STYLEREF field as bold text and the outermost field as 12pt Arial, single spaced, centered, which matched the other text, but other than centering, it's not crucial.

What did it do?
If this end-of-chapter field happened to be on an even page, nothing of it printed. If it had been on a formerly odd page, but text was added or deleted, any previously expanded incarnation collapsed back to its non-printing marker form.
If this end-of-chapter field happened to be on an odd page:
It inserted a page break to place it on the next (even) page, pushed the text down to somewhat above mid-page, added the words "This•page•concludes" and placed the chapter's name (the previous Heading 1 entry) on the next line down in bold text.

It might look like (other than centering, which I can’t format in this comment):
Avoid Lying About Blank Pages

It worked perfectly and was TRUE! The page actually did conclude the chapter of that name. Nobody ever questioned the meaning or the wording, not even the guys who wanted a "Blank" message.

A note: For my appendix chapters, which used a different heading, I used my Appendix Heading style for the STYLEREF. Otherwise, it would have used the name of the last regular chapter.

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