Getting Page Number Formatting Changes to Stick

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated March 5, 2019)

When Meredith right-clicks the page number in the header and changes the font and font size, then she clicks back off of the format pane, the font and font size go right back as if she had never made a change. She wonders what she needs to do differently to change the font and font size of the page number in the header.

There is any number of reasons that this could be happening. In order to examine the reasons, it is important to realize that for most versions of Word there are two ways a page number can be added to a document. First, you can add the page number within a text box or, second, you can add one as part of a header or footer on the page, outside of a text box.

If you choose Page Numbers from the Insert menu, you tell Word to insert a page number within a text box in the header or footer area of your document. If you subsequently click the text box holding the page number, and then try to apply formatting, it won't "stick." Instead you have to make sure you select the text of the actual page number (the page number itself) and not just the text box. In that way you should be able to successfully apply the formatting you want. You could, as well, simply forego selecting the text and instead just modify the Page Number style, which will affect the page number as desired.

The other way to add a page number to your document is to use a field. This is the method used if you add a page number using the tools on the Header and Footer toolbar. When you use a field to put the page number directly within the header or footer, then you need to apply the formatting by selecting the entire field used to generate the page number. Make the formatting changes and they should be reflected in what you see on the screen or on your printout.

Regardless of how you add the page number, make sure you actually select the page number before doing any formatting. (Unless you choose to change the Page Number style in the first instance; in that case you don't need to select the page number first.) If you simply put the insertion point next to the page number, without it actually being selected, changing the character formatting will have no effect.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (6958) 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

Using Dot Leaders in Special Tables

Adding dot leaders before page numbers in a table of contents or table of authorities can make the finished table look ...

Discover More

Setting a Transparent Color for an Image

Want to "see through" an image you place on a worksheet? You can do so by using the steps in this tip.

Discover More

Combining Worksheets from Many Workbooks

Do you need to pull a particular worksheet out of a group of workbooks and combine those worksheets into a different ...

Discover More

Learning Made Easy! Quickly teach yourself how to format, publish, and share your content using Word 2013. With Step by Step, you set the pace, building and practicing the skills you need, just when you need them! Check out Microsoft Word 2013 Step by Step today!

More WordTips (menu)

Automatic Page Numbers across Multiple Documents

Word allows you to specify the starting page number for a document, which comes in handy if you have multiple documents ...

Discover More

Using Only Odd Page Numbers

Do you need to number the pages of your document using only odd page numbers? Word doesn't provide a way to do this, but ...

Discover More

Changing the Type of Page Numbers Used in Headers or Footers

Like to have your page numbers displayed using different types of numbers? Here's how you can choose from the several ...

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

If you would like to add an image to your comment (not an avatar, but an image to help in making the point of your comment), include the characters [{fig}] in your comment text. You’ll be prompted to upload your image when you submit the comment. Maximum image size is 6Mpixels. Images larger than 600px wide or 1000px tall will be reduced. Up to three images may be included in a comment. All images are subject to review. Commenting privileges may be curtailed if inappropriate images are posted.

What is one more than 5?

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.

Newest Tips
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.