How to Insert Page Numbers in Word Without Losing the Header

For many, this is a frustrating problem—once the header is set up to satisfaction, inserting the page number causes the header to vanish, and reintroducing the header makes the page number go away—the two are seemingly mutually exclusive.

Here is what I am talking about

Let us start with a blank document, without header or page number.

Click on the Insert tab on the Menu Bar. The Ribbon changes to the Insert Menu. Click on Header and select any one of the Blanks to insert as Header. Here, we have chosen Austin, but any one of them will do.

To identify the header, we have named it My Document. Click on Page Number and insert a page number at the Top of Page.

You will get the page number, but unfortunately, it has replaced the header you had inserted earlier.

The above anomaly happens because Word treats both the Header and the Page Number as building blocks, and each will replace the other. So how to get both?

How to insert Page number without losing the header?

In this post, I will share 2 methods:

  • Insert Page number in Footer
  • Insert Page number in Header

Lets start

Method #1: Insert Page Number in the Footer

If you have noticed, we had inserted the page number at Top of the Page, and the Header vanished. However, if we insert the page number anywhere other than the Top of the Page, we can have both the header and the page number appear on the same page.

For instance, go to the Page Number menu (Insert>Page Number) and then click on either Bottom of Page, Page Margins, or Current Position.

This will put the page number where you want, and leave the Header untouched.

Method #2: Insert Page Number in the Header

When the position of the page number must be within the header, follow this simple method.

Step1: Insert the header you want (Insert>Header>Austin/any other). Double-click anywhere within your header, and position the cursor where you want the page number to appear.

Step 2: Insert a PAGE field by pressing Alt+Shift+P. A simple page number will appear in the PAGE field.

Step 3: If instead of a simple page number, you would rather have a fancy page number, use the Current Position setting in the Page Number menu (Insert>Page Number>Current Position) and choose from the gallery.

Final Result: This is how the Page Number along with Header appears on our document


It may seem confusing at first trying to insert a page number and the header together, only to have them replace each other. However, the two methods explained above can solve the problem and one can place a fancy page number within a well-designed header.

8 thoughts on “How to Insert Page Numbers in Word Without Losing the Header”

  1. Thank you for the help. I just moved to Microsoft Word from Google Docs and I can’t believe this procedure is more complicated on a paid software.

  2. Hello,
    I followed the instructions listed here to add page numbers to a header but it only added to my first page and I have 10 pages which need to be numbered. Is there a way to have this on each page?


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