A best practice that we recommend to our clients is to create a base/folio master –with styled and positioned footers and current page number special characters– on which all other masters are based. This allows a footer that may contain date or issue information to be updated once and the changes are reflected in all of the master pages. If your masters only have current page number special characters then you can just add them to each master and the page numbers will be reflected when each master is applied to your document pages.
If you’re a self-taught InDesign user, you may not have been introduced to automatic page numbering, one of the biggest time-saving features in the program. InDesign allows you to set up the page numbering feature in your Master Pages. Then, as you add or shuffle pages, InDesign updates individual page numbers accordingly. You can style the page number any way you like.

InDesign is a popular publishing software application released by Adobe. It is often used by graphic designers to publish books, magazines and brochures. Along with important elements like text, graphics and logos, page numbers are essential to these publications. It is possible to add the page numbers during or after the document's completion, if you know where to look. This article will tell you how to add page numbers in InDesign.

Running captions number figures, tables, and other items consecutively in a document. For example, the first figure caption starts with the words “Figure 1,” the second with “Figure 2,” and so on. To make sure that figures, tables, or similar items are numbered consecutively, define a list for the item, and then create a paragraph style that includes the list definition. You can also add descriptive words such as “Figure” or “Table” to the numbering scheme of the paragraph style.


When the “Current Page Number” placeholder sits on a master page, every page to which you assigned that specific master page will display this variable – the number will change automatically on every page. If you change the style assigned to the placeholder on the master page (let’s say you set it to bold), all page numbers will update to that style (all numbers will become bold).
Kate Cahill is a graphic designer, writer, and creative director who has developed content for print and web. As creative director, she has produced award-winning work for agencies focused on the pharmaceutical and health and beauty aid industries. She has also served as production manager, with responsibility for the successful fulfillment of long-run print contracts. Kate has been delivering training for Webucator clients since 2010. Her enthusiasm for cutting-edge technology, combined with hands-on practical experience, brings an added benefit to her classes. Kate teaches real-world techniques and integration of Adobe software, as well as Microsoft PowerPoint, to produce a fully developed and cohesive brand identity.
Inserting page numbers into your InDesign document is quick and simple. The first thing to realise is that InDesign numbers pages according to the page numbers listed in the Pages Panel (Window > Pages). Unless you want to spend the time manually inserting individual page numbers to override this, you should understand how to define sections in your document (see Step 2, below).
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There’s an old Steve Martin joke about how to make a million dollars which starts, “First, get a million dollars…” That’s the key to this trick, too: First, get a bunch of numbers. Here’s a file with 1,197 numbers in it. Now import or paste those numbers into a thread so that the numbers appear in the right place. If you need two matching numbers, just import it twice.

An InDesign document can only have one chapter, and these chapters are typically combined in an InDesign book. To insert a chapter number, create a text frame where you want the chapter number to appear on either a document or master page. Click on the "Type" menu, then "Text Variables," "Insert Text Variable" and then "Chapter Number." Update the chapter number if necessary to keep your chapter numbers consecutive by clicking on "Numbering & Section Options" in the Layout menu.
InDesign allows you to add a page number marker to a master page within the document. The master page functions as a template for every page it's applied to, so the consecutive page numbers appear on every page. InDesign updates the page number automatically as you insert, delete and move pages. To add a page number marker to a master page, create a text box on the master page by going to the Type menu and choosing "Insert Special Character," "Markers" and then "Current Page Number."
In the Bullet or Number Position section, set the Alignment to Right. The Left Indent is where the text will start. The First Line Indent is the amount of space that should be subtracted from the left indent to determine where the period after the number will be positioned. This was determined in the first step with the spacing placeholder text. Leave Tab Position blank and check Preview to see the options take effect in the highlighted text. Make any needed adjustments to the positions, and when you are satisfied, click OK.
I have a document where in I have to make two kinds of page numbering, A catalog (individually made) which should always start at page 1, and the other is a compiled version where the pages should be a continuous page. They both have the same content but with different output so I tried using layers, but fail to set the page numbering to auto. because setting them would affect both layers.

Numbering and Section options are available in the Pages Panel menu. These options allow you to define what page starts a section and how it should be numbered. A Current Page Number marker must be set on pages in order to use this feature. The Current Page Number is a special character inserted in a text frame on a page or master page (recommended) where the page number will appear, by selecting Type>Insert Special Character>Markers>Current Page Number.
It's also possible to consecutively number list items in InDesign. Create a text frame for your list and click the numbered list button to insert a list. Type your list items, pressing your "Enter" key between items. InDesign consecutively numbers the list automatically; you can change the number it begins with and the style of the numerals. Press your "Alt" key (Windows) or "Option" key (Mac OS) while clicking on the numbered list button to open a dialog where you can modify those options.
One of the harder things to do in Adobe InDesign, surprisingly for a page layout tool, is to create multilevel or outline format numbered lists.  The right way to accomplish this, according to the folks at Adobe, is to create a Style for every level of the list you’d like to have! Here are Adobe’s instructions on how to do so (This content is taken directly from https://helpx.adobe.com/indesign/using/bullets-numbering.html#create_multi_level_lists):
A quick way to create a bulleted or numbered list is to type the list, select it, and then click the Bulleted List or Numbered List button in the Control panel. These buttons let you turn the list on or off and switch between bullets and numbers. You can also make bullets and numbering part of a paragraph style and construct lists by assigning styles to paragraphs.
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