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It always surprises me how popular any post that we write on indesignsecrets.com is if it has anything to do with manipulating the automatic page numbering in InDesign. Seriously, it's just amazing how many people around the globe need to do something different than what InDesign can offer, and they ask us how to help. So here I'm going to show you some of our favorite tips. The top three I'd put it. Starting with the very basic one, that surprisingly not many people know about, to ones a little bit more gnarly, that you may enjoy and find to be very useful.
First, a basic one that I hear a lot is, how do I make the automatic page number say one of and then tell me the total number of pages in the document and have it automatically update as I add or remove pages? So in this document, which is 25 pages long, we want two trees, olive oil one to say one of 25, two of 25, three of 25. Well, that's done by going to the master page, where all page numbering should be done. And just go to these text frames, and zoom in. So, right after the marker for the automatic page number which, in case you don't now, is here under, insert special character marker, current page number.
Add this to any page, especially the master page, to do your folios. We're going to add a space. And then insert a variable because there's a variable that will do this for you called last page number and we want to add the word of in front of it there we go. And then we'll do the same thing to the other side. So there's the page number, let's do space of and then add our variable. I wish that InDesign had better markup of the variable, you know color them red or something because it's really hard to tell what's happening.
That's it so if we jump to say page six and seven, six of 25. Seven of 25 and so on, if I added some pages, I'm just pressing Cmd + Shift + p to add a bunch of blank pages, it automatically increments up. If we didn't want to include the cover in our page count, we could go to page two, right click and say, in number and section options, start page numbering at page one there. And don't worry about that alert, so now, that jumps over to the right hand side, but even though there are 30 pages in this document, it still is three of 29 because you're not going to going to cover.
This is page one of 29, see? That makes sense. Let me undo that numbering in section option to show you another page trick. One that I hear a lot and I don't know why, but from more than probably ten people in the past year was how do I add the current page number and the previous page number? Well, they don't want a current page number on each side of a spread, they only want to put the page number on one side of the spread, but they want to show previous and current. And I have set this up already, just show you.
If we start scrolling through this document, you can see. Let me actually change it to preview. Previous page four, this is page five, previous page six, this is page seven. Nothing on the other side. How is that done? Again, it's via our friend the master page. Jump to the master and down here, let me get out of preview and go to normal, here's previous page as a text frame. This page is a text frame. Here are our two number placeholders. Let me zoom in a bit. A and A. But this frame is special. Do you see, it's anchored? If I go to the View menu and I choose Extras > Show Text Threads, you can see, this frame is actually anchored to an empty frame on the other master page.
So it's reporting the current page number of this page on the left. Then I anchored it and dragged it over here because it's a custom anchor. It can spread across the spread, and that's how that little bit of magic is done. So this is page two from over here. It's reporting on the text frame in which it's anchored. That's what the current page number marker does. And finally, ladies and gentlemen, for my last trick, we get a lot of people asking, let me hide that layer. They want to have a spread count, not a page count. Like, this would say spread number one.
The next would say, spread number two, spread number three. And they want that to automatically increment. Or they might want the same thing repeated on both sides. But say, like, this is the Spanish page, this is the English page. Spanish, page one, English, page one. Spanish, page two, English, page two. That is possible to do, but not with automatic page numbers. Instead, you have to do list. You have to create a numbered list. One for the left side. And if you want to do both sides, a different one for the right side. So I've already done that in paragraph styles.
I have a paragraph style called left number that, if we look at bullets and numbering, I created an actual list called left, and just to keep things straight, I added the phrase left with a hyphen and then here's the number placeholder. So any text that you want to appear in the list, you can put right here in the numbering style in the number field. And I did the same thing with right page number. So I have a paragraph style called right number. And in bullets and numbering, I added right number, and its own list, right. And then, on the master page, I created, let me show that layer.
A text frame on the left, and a text frame on the right. And I added one space, and then assign that paragraph style. So if I click here and look at the paragraph styles, you can see I assigned left number to this one and right number to that one; and they start out just by saying one. It has to be at least an empty line or a space, otherwise the automatic list numbering won't work. Now when I go to my pages, let's go down here to the spread. It will still say left one right one, because automatic numbering lists, they don't really increment and you'd either have to draw them one by one on each document pages or put them on the master as I just did.
And then override them on every document page. Now it's kind of a pain that you have to do this, but it is faster than doing them yourself, and it will automatically increment. So I'm Cmd Shift-clicking on both of these, and then I'll come down here and Cmd Shift-click and now it says left two, right two, left three, right three. And again if I just wanted a spread count, I could have just on the master page put a frame on the left hand side, and called this spread number one, spread number two. So you can get like a spread count that automatically increments.
So that's about it. Three cool tricks for numbering your pages in your InDesign documents.
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