InDesign tip : #30

adding automatic page numbering to your InDesign document is easy. just create a text frame on your master page and then hit cmnd-opt-shift-N or choose this from your Type menu :
screen grab of insert special character flyout menu
you can style the page number the same way as you would any other text. if you type in “page ” before the page number, your master page will look like this :
screen grab of master page with basic page numbering
and your document page looks like this :
screen grab of document page with basic page numbering
but you probably already knew that.

you’ll notice that in the insert special character flyout menu there are a few other markers including one called ‘section marker’ which we’ll talk about in a moment. but there’s no marker for ‘total pages’ — so how do we get automatic numbering in this format? :
screen grab of extended page numbering on document page

well, it’s a bit of a mystery why adobe decided to put that particular functionality in a different place. but here’s where you’ll find that second special character from the Type menu :
screen grab of text variables flyout menu

ok, now, you can also add a ‘section marker’ from the insert special character flyout menu. on the master page it looks like this :
screen grab of master page showing complete numbering line
just to make things clear, that’s : {section marker}+” ~ page “+{current page number marker}+” of “+{last page number text variable}

then you need to specify what you want the section marker to say — under your numbering and section options :
screen grab of numbering and section options

which will render your document page thus :
screen grab of document page showing complete numbering line

so far so good.

unfortunately…
the last page number text variable is just a tad clunky — even in CS6. so far we’ve been looking at page two of this document :
screen grab of pages panel showing six pages in two sections
six pages with a two-page section followed by a four-page section. and the text variable has been used with these options :
screen grab of last page number text variable options
notice that the scope is set to ‘section’. so we get ‘2 of 2’ because there are only two pages in the section.

but, if we change the scope to ‘document’ we don’t get ‘2 of 6’ :
screen grab of page numbering showing '2 of 4'

why? because the text variable is for ‘last page number’ (4) not ‘total page count’ (6). your challenge is to come up with even one scenario where you’d want to number your pages in that fashion.

you’d have to agree that that’s pretty crap. at the very least, InDesign should offer the option to use absolute page numbering for that text variable — maybe one day.

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