Dealing with the X of Y Bug

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated January 27, 2017)

Often it is helpful to have not only a page number in your document header or footer, but also an indication of how many pages there are in the entire document. For instance, you could include information such as Page 1 of 432 (or however many pages are in your document). This is easy enough to do with Word, and the program even provides an AutoText entry that allows you to easy add the Page X of Y notation in your header or footer.

The problem is that it may not work properly or consistently. Sometimes the correct numbers appear when you use Print Preview, but they don't print properly. Sometimes they print properly, even though they don't show up correctly in Print Preview. The exact behavior of this feature depends on the version of Word you are using, and perhaps the current phase of the moon. (Just a little tongue-in-cheek lunar humor there. The moon has no discernable effect on the performance of Word, as far as I can tell.)

The X of Y problem first cropped up in Word 97, and has amazingly (and persistently) continued into later versions of the software. The general guidance is to update to the latest service pack for whatever version of Word you are using. (Service releases for Word are available at the Microsoft Web site.) Understand, however, that there have been reports that the latest service packs don't always fix the problem.

If you would like more information on the X of Y problem, including workarounds that you can use in case the service pack updates don't do the trick, make sure you visit the Word MVP site:

http://wordmvp.com/FAQs/AppErrors/PageXofY.htm

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (1311) applies to Microsoft Word 97, 2000, 2002, and 2003.

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. ...

MORE FROM ALLEN

Adding Serial Commas in a Sentence

Part of the job of an editor is to apply standards of grammar to text written by someone else. One standard that may need to ...

Discover More

Tracked Changes Won't Go Away

Track Changes is a great tool when editing a document, but the ways that it affects your document can sometimes be confusing. ...

Discover More

Getting Rid of the Jaggies in WordArt

Sometimes the fonts you use in your WordArt creations can look smooth and clean on the screen, but when printed, have jagged ...

Discover More

The First and Last Word on Word! Bestselling For Dummies author Dan Gookin puts his usual fun and friendly candor back to work to show you how to navigate Word 2013. Spend more time working and less time trying to figure it all out! Check out Word 2013 For Dummies today!

MORE WORDTIPS (MENU)

Printing Odd or Even Pages

You can instruct Word, when printing your document, to print only the odd- or even-numbered pages. This tip explains how you ...

Discover More

Printing in White

Word allows you to print in every color of the rainbow, but not in white. (Bad comparison; white is not a color of the ...

Discover More

Two Printed Copies to Different Paper Trays

Many modern printers include multiple paper trays that can be used for different types or colors of paper. Word allows you to ...

Discover More
Subscribe

FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in WordTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

View most recent newsletter.

Comments for this tip:

There are currently no comments for this tip. (Be the first to leave your comment—just use the simple form above!)

This Site

Got a version of Word that uses the menu interface (Word 97, Word 2000, Word 2002, or Word 2003)? This site is for you! If you use a later version of Word, visit our WordTips site focusing on the ribbon interface.

Subscribe

FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in WordTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

(Your e-mail address is not shared with anyone, ever.)

View the most recent newsletter.

Links and Sharing
Share