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Limiting Document Page Count

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: Limiting Document Page Count.

Dick creates a newsletter on a monthly basis. This newsletter must be no longer than eight pages, so he wonders if there is a way to "lock" the document so that it doesn't go any longer than eight pages.

The short answer is that there is no way to do this in Word. The reason is pretty fundamental—Word is not a page layout program; it is a word processor. Page layout programs, sometimes called desktop publishing programs, include software such as Publisher, InDesign, and Quark. They are built around the concept of adding pages to a layout and then putting content or objects onto those pages. Word, on the other hand, is built around processing words and flowing them onto however many pages are necessary based on the formatting applied to the document and the text.

When I'm limited to a certain number of pages in a document, one of the last steps that I do is to press Ctrl+End to jump to the end of the document, and then look at the status bar to see what page I am on. This isn't a firm guarantee that the document will be the same number of pages for someone else, of course. (The reasons are complex and varied, having been covered in other issues of WordTips.) I can only be sure of the page count when I print or when I create a PDF from the document.

If jumping to the end and looking at the number of pages is bothersome, you could approach this in a different manner. One workaround is to put the following nested field at the beginning of your document:

{IF {NUMPAGES} > 8 "DOCUMENT TOO LONG"}

As long as the document is eight pages or less, the field doesn't display anything. When the document is over eight pages and you update the fields, the wording "DOCUMENT TOO LONG" appears at the beginning of the document. This can be a flag to you that you need to make some adjustments.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (9533) 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: Limiting Document Page Count.

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