Freaking stupid Microsoft Word

Freaking stupid Microsoft Word…
But hopefully not too stupid a question…

I’ve been using MSW for over a decade, and I’ve never had this problem, although I know there are quirks.

I want my 37-page document to be numbered, in the footers, “Page 1 of 37,” “Page 2 of 37,” etc. To my knowledge there are 2 ways to do this: (1) use the icons on the Header/Footer toolbar to insert both the page number and the number of pages; (2) use Insert Autotext in the H/F toolbar to insert “Page X of Y,” which sounds like a nice shortcut.

Unfortunately, it doesn’t work. Oh, it works fine on the screen. But as usual for Microsoft products, WYS is not WYG. Although onscreen it says “Page 1 of 37,” “Page 2 of 37,” etc., when I print, it says “Page 1 of 1,” “Page 2 of 2,” etc.

It’s consistent - hasn’t worked right yet. Both methods outlined above generate the same result - fine onscreen, wrong when printed. My document has no section breaks.

Any advice? I used to think I was a Microsoft Word pro, but now I want to go eat worms. And kick Bill Gates, of course.


Instead of using the AutoText thing, I would simply insert the page number in the appropriate spot. In the footer, delete whatever you have there already, and simply type “Page of 37”. Then between “Page” and “Of”, insert the page number.

I’ve had similar kinds of problems with autotext features in MS products… my suggestion is to save the file before trying to print; you shouldn’t have to do this but it often makes a difference. Good luck…

It’s a bug. I had that problem too.

One fix is to check the “Reverse print order” box. Don’t ask me why it works, but it does.

Zev Steinhardt

You are correct-i-mundo, Zev. Reversing the print order DOES work, but only if you then print the whole thing back-to-front. If you print a only a range (say 1-3), you get “1 of 3,” “2 of 3,” “3 of 3” which is an improvement, I guess. But when you print the whole darn thing, it works. Thanks!

Borborygami, I’ve had some times when your suggestion was the only thing to do, but unfortunately it doesn’t work in this instance. MsWhatsit, your idea is very direct and of course it works, but I’m one of those people who needs to do it “the right way.” Anyway, the total number of pages is subject to continual change. But thank you both anyway!


Probably because the total count is adjusted as the rendering engine formats pages, and when you do it in reverse order, it has to layout the entire document before it prints anything. Check and see if reverse printing a partial document makes it print something like “9 of 9”, “8 of 9”, etc.

Typical sort of bug to get in products of this type, but you would have thought they’d have hammered it out in something as mature as Word. I suspect it was introduced when somebody did some optimization somewhere along the line to avoid having to recalculate layout when it didn’t need to.

This is a known problem.

See this Microsoft Knowledgebase article that lists all of the possible solutions. Usually the easiest solution for me is to turn off Show/Hide, that symbol that makes paragraph and space symbols visible on the page.

The MS knowledgebase is very handy, if you can put in the right search words. And if the search engine isn’t disabled, like it is as I type this. [sub]grumble, grumble[/sub] Good thing I have that link stored elsewhere.


I have written a thesis and a book in MS-Word, and each time it was a friggin’ disaster when it came to page numbering. It was sorely tempting to reprogram the computer with a sledgehammer.

For the book, I was reduced to doing them BY HAND and letting my publisher worry about it. MS-Word stands in stark contrast to WordPerfect in this regard. WP’s page numbering system couldn’t be simpler. But Microsoft’s typical “Mother Knows Best” attitude toward programming makes it extremely difficult to do a pretty simple task. I’m pretty ticked off that WP hasn’t become the standard, as I’d much prefer it.

My favorite MS-Word '97 stupidity is the little hand at the bottom of the screen that writes in the book when you’re typing. Thanks Bill - I need a reminder to let me know when I’m typing…

Jeyen: Thanks for doing my homework for me :slight_smile:
I was in such a crunch at work, I knew the SDMB would actually solve my problem faster than Microsoft’s website would. But it’s nice to know that it’s an actual bug, it’s documented, and it’s so easily worked around - three methods, no less, not to mention the fix. And here I had expected Microsoft to claim it was a feature, not a bug.

Grok, couldn’t agree with you more, pagination in Word is a disaster generally. Do they test drive the apps before they ship them, or what?

But hey, it beats using a typewriter. Someday, I’m gonna get a job where I don’t have to type at all, I swear :wink:

Lordy, does anyone really use Word? I thought it was just a common-ground format that we all translated to and from when exchanging word-processor files!

Yeah jeyen beat me to the punch, but another quick fix for the X of Y printing problem is to turn off Background Printing in Tools/Options.

Word blows big hairy balls.

LaTeX forever!!

Word 97 might be worth staying with, if you don’t want to learn WordPerfect.

I haven’t used Word 2000, but have heard that it has a few few problems.

Then there’s the new version coming out soon, MS Office XP.

According to Woody’s Office Watch,, OXP had a beta released a couple of months back, then Release Candidate 1 came out a month ago (with features that were already excluded from production), and has now gone to production even before all the testers have received RC1.

It might be a good idea to wait a while before updating.

I’ve been using O2k for a year or two now. Personally, I’m completely underwhelmed by it. Bloated, buggy, typical microsoft “update.” Stay with o97 if you can.

Using Office2K, employer (really large state agency) is dumping WordPerfect and Lotus 123 in favor of Bill’s stuff. Agree, I like WP (even v6 we were stuck with) better than MSO. Altho’ I haven’t had the page numbering problem, and I use Page X of Y all the time (from within the header/footer function - not footnotes).

My big gripe is the Tables in MSWord are much dumber than in WP. I often compile long lists of review comments from multliple reviewers (of tech reports, etc.). I use a 3-column table (Comment #, Page # of error, the comment). In WP I set up a formula that added “1” to the value in the cell in the preceding row. When I added comments (thus, rows) in the middle later on, I just copied the formula into the new row(s) and WP would renumber everything. I can’t figure out how to do this with MSWord2K. So, once the table is done, I get to type 1[down arrow] 2 [down arrow] [etc.] The math functions are nearly non-existant. And no, I don’t want to do the table in Excel and import it, Excel’s text functions are almost as bad as Word’s tables are with math.

Why did we switch? “It is the industry standard.” Of course, our state is run by a Bush.