Jun 29

Ever had this little problem? You set up a range of pages to be printed in MS Word and somehow the printer prints a different range… or even prints nothing at all. Well it’s happened to me on more than one occasion. Here’s the answer, or at least one that explains the problem and seems to help most times.

This printing problem seems to occur if your document has sections. You may have used sections for breaking a document, for example, between chapters or between say introductory material and the main text. You’ll know if you have sections in your document (or one that’s been sent to you) if you see thin double dashed lines and the message Section Break (Next Page) over the lines . The printing problem seems to occur if different page numbering has been used in each section and this numbering may be visible in the page footer. Very often an author may skip numbering (or use use a different style like Roman numerals) in the introductory section and start the main numbering with the main text.

Word page numbering

In the case shown above (using Word 2010), looking at the overall page numbering in the bottom left corner tells us we’re on the 71st page of 75, but because there’s an introductory section with 3 unnumbered pages, we’re actually at the 68th page of the main text.

Problem is that if you didn’t know about the different sections and wanted to print the page range from here to the end of the document, printing the page range 71-75 would definitely not give the correct result. You actually want to print the page range as indicated in the page footer, i.e. pages 68-72. Just a little counterintuitive isn’t it?

So if you want to print the 3-page unnumbered page range at the beginning, well instead of indicating the range as 1-3, which wouldn’t work, what you have to do is tell Word that the range is in the first section, i.e. p1s1-p3s1, that is from page 1 to page 3 in section 1. But I’ve found that this type of section printing just doesn’t work out sometimes and I haven’t figured out why yet.

Final tip, if you’re just not sure if you’ve set up Word correctly to print the correct page range, just print the first couple of pages in the range initially rather than setting your printer going on a huge range of pages. See how that goes and then adjust the range accordingly. Hope this helps.

Of course, if you have any helpful tips on printing page ranges in MS Word, drop a comment below.

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