How to change page numbers in LibreOffice

I know I’m not the only one who has wrestled with page numbers in a LibreOffice Writer document. The content of your book (excluding the front matter) should start on page 1. Sure, but in your document, the good stuff starts on page 7. How do you change those pesky numbers?

I was looking into this today and found several explanations to try to achieve that. When I tried them, they didn’t work and, worse, messed up my formatting. Then I started playing around with various options. I thought I discovered the secret, but that, too, altered my formatting, though ever so slightly. Try again. Jackpot! You won’t believe how easy it is.

On your first numbered page, place your cursor in front of the page number in your header or footer. For this example, that would be document page 8. Choose Edit — Fields. The Edit Fields dialogue box that pops up will have three columns; Type, Select, and Format. Below the Format column is a narrow box that says “Offset.” Enter a negative value of the number of front matter pages in your document. For instance; my book has six pages of front matter that I don’t want numbered, and the first chapter begins on page 7, but I don’t have a number field on that page, so I’ll enter -6.

Number Change

Page 8 has now turned into page 2, and all even numbered pages should have also changed.

Number Change 2

Repeat the process on the next page to turn 9 to 3. All the odd pages should automatically change. The lower left hand corner of your document window will show the actual page number (page 2 in your header or footer will show as page 8 of xxx).

There you have it. Quick, painless, and no unwanted alterations to your carefully formatted pages and header/footer styles.

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