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: Two Page Numbers per Physical Page.

Two Page Numbers per Physical Page

Written by Allen Wyatt (last updated October 26, 2023)
This tip applies to Word 97, 2000, 2002, and 2003


It is not unusual to need to print information on half sheets of paper. For instance, you may need a page size of 5 1/2" x 8 1/2" for your document. This is a handy size, as you can get exactly two pages on a landscape-oriented letter-size piece of paper. You can easily use Word's column feature to set up your document to print in two columns on the paper, and then cut the paper in half after printing. The problem comes in when you want to print page numbers on each of your mini-pages. Word calculates page numbers based on the physical page, not on some virtual page you may want to set up. There are ways around this particular problem, however. The first (and easiest) solution is available if you are using Word 2000 or a later version of the program. Simply follow these steps:
  1. Do not use columns to set up your document, unless you want columns to appear on each of your mini-pages.
  2. Place your page numbers in the page headers and footers as you normally would.
  3. Choose Page Setup from the File menu. Word displays the Page Setup dialog box.
  4. Make sure the Paper Size tab (Word 97 and Word 2000) or the Margins tab (Word 2002 and Word 2003) is displayed. (See Figure 1.)
  5. Figure 1. The Margins tab of the Page Setup dialog box.

  6. Choose the Landscape button.
  7. Display the Margins tab.
  8. Select the 2 Pages Per Sheet check box.
  9. Adjust page margins as desired.
  10. Click on OK.
  11. Print your document as normal.
Word takes care of placing two pages on each physical page printed. If you are using an older version of Word, then you need to use the columns approach to set up your own virtual pages on each physical page. To place the page numbers (and have them work properly), you need to use calculations within nested fields. The following two fields show, respectively, how you would create the page number for the left virtual page and the right virtual page on each printed page:
{= {PAGE} *2-1 \* MERGEFORMAT }
Each pair of braces in this code is created by inserting a field using Ctrl+F9. In other words, position the insertion point where you want the first page number, press Ctrl+F9, and type the contents. To create the {PAGE} field, again press Ctrl+F9 and type the word PAGE within the resulting field braces. When you are done inserting the fields, they should look just like what is shown above. To find out more information on the topic of multiple page numbers per page, visit the Word MVP Web site:

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (201) 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: Two Page Numbers per Physical Page.

Author Bio

Allen Wyatt

With more than 50 non-fiction books and numerous magazine articles to his credit, Allen Wyatt is an internationally recognized author. He is president of Sharon Parq Associates, a computer and publishing services company. ...


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What is six more than 3?

2020-07-05 04:36:50

Shervin Marsh

Thanks. That was just the tip I needed.

2017-05-09 05:34:00

Pam Wells

Using 2 pages [A5] to A4 - 2 pages per sheet - I, cannot seem to get the page numbers in the centre of both pages, as I have different margins left and right, for binding as a book. Is it possible to centre the both?

2017-03-10 13:25:28


Worked like a charm, I haven't tried printing yet but this is making life such a breeze compared to trying to deal with columns in a long document. Thank you.

2017-01-09 01:42:57


I have a word document with multiple pages. In the header, I want to mentioned page number of the current page and in the footer I want to add reference to next page (just like continued on page 2). I have tried this but the word inserts the same page numbers in both the fields.

2016-05-03 16:47:03

Steven D. Greco

I have a similar problem as Stregevsky.

I create 8-1/2x11 manuals to MIL Spec and have diagrams that are on 11x17. Each 11x17 must have two page numbers together (e.i. 3-3/3-4). the first number of each page number is the chapter number and the second number is the page number. Presently, I generate the first number and then manually type in the second number.

I must also create a table of contents that include both page numbers automatically. Presently, I manually type in the second number.

2016-03-25 12:28:44

Paul Franklin Stregevsky

Unfortunately, this won't yield the result I need. I'm writing a technical proposal whose client allows double-size (11 by 17-inch) pages; BUT each double-size page must count--and be numbered--as two pages. And the proposal must be numbered straight-through, from pages 1 to 35.

I have a table that fills three 11 by 17 pages. The table comes in the middle of the 35-page proposal. So it will need to be numbered like this:


Since the table is 15 inches wide, must span the entire width, I can't partition the physical page visually into two logical pages.

Any suggestions?

2016-03-09 20:59:49

Josue Francois

Awesome. I never heard about this one. Thanks for sharing it.

2015-08-24 21:31:10

John Graham

Dear Allen Wyatt

I used the 'two pages to a sheet' setting in Page Setup yesterday to facilitate page numbers.

I wished to add some extra text to the odd and even pages. The extra text to the odd pages (left) is the same for all odd page but the extra text for the even pages (right) will need to change as the chapters change. I thought I could do this by de-selecting 'Link to previous' but I can only delete the extra text before the chapter I started on. If I try to delete the extra text after the chapter I'm working on, it deletes all the extra text on the even pages (right). Can you help with this?

The other thing I noticed is that when adjusting the margins using two pages to a sheet the inside and outside margins appear to set the opposite margins.

Regards John

2015-01-19 20:16:07


When using the mergeformat field codes, I get a syntax error with the second code: {= {PAGE} *2 * MERGEFORMAT }

Do you know how to fix this?

I'm using Word 2011 on a Mac.

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