Advanced Page Numbering and Headers

“What is advanced page numbering and what are advanced headers?” I hear you cry. Well, take a look at a few of the books out there and you’ll see almost as many ways of numbering the pages and displaying information in the header. Page numbering strategies range from just starting the page number count from the first page of the front matter and just going for it, to (the most common) starting the page count on the first page of the forward, using Roman Numerals to render them, restarting the page count on any subsequent forwards (if any) rendered using Roman numerals in a different case, and so on and so forth till you reach the first page of the first chapter, where the page count is again restarted but this time rendered using the more familiar Arabic numerals (1,2,3 etc.) As for headers, some books eschew them altogether, others change them for each chapter and the forward and on various pages omit them entirely for various reasons e.g. if you are using the chapter title as the header, it is somewhat redundant to use it on the first page of the chapter, as it already has the chapter title on it.

My copy of Dead Souls showing how it lays out its header and footer.
My copy of Dead Souls has the book’s name in the left header and the chapter title in the right. It also puts the page number in the header, using Roman numerals for the introduction.

You’ll be pleased to learn that we can deal with almost any layout you choose to use, you also might be pleased to learn that just starting at page one and just going for it and not bothering with the header at all is also completely acceptable. But you do have to make a decision and stick with it. Take a look at a few books and see what you think will work best for you. Once you have done this we need to look at how we actually achieve what we want. Both page numbering and headers are controlled by using paragraph styles in combination with page styles via the “Break before. Really the page style doesn’t do a great deal, you just need a new one for each different numbering scheme and header arrangement you want to use (hopefully this will change in future versions of LibreOffice as it is irritating). You’ll notice as you play with this that the header and footers are set for all pages that use the same page style irrespective of whether or not the pages are contiguous i.e the upshot of this is that you often can’t reuse page styles as much as it would be logical too e.g you will need Novel-Page-First that is exactly the same as Novel-Page even though the change in page number is set in the paragraph style. Also if you wish to have the chapter title in the header you will need a new page style for each chapter.

My copy of Nation showing how it lays out it header and footer.
Nation also has the book's title on the left and chapter title on the right. The page numbers, though, are in the footer, and the chapter title and page number are omitted from the first and last page of each chapter respectively.

Ok we’ll step through setting up the first page in the Novel, hopefully that’ll give you enough info to enable you to go off in full control and create as many as you actually need. Once you get your head round, it isn’t really that tricky but it is error prone. It is very easy to miss that your page numbers have gone weird in the middle of your book when proof reading it.

My copy of Catcher in the Rye showing how it lays out its header and footer
Catcher in the Rye does away with the header and just has a page number in the footer

Let’s start with the page style. It is exactly the same as Novel-Page (13.34cm x 20.32cm in my example template, mirrored with margins of 1.91cm, 1.27cm, 1.02cm, 0.76cm; Register-True enabled and Novel-Paragraph selected as the reference style; Headers and Footers enabled etc.), though if you want to make sure your book starts on a right hand page you can change the layout to Only Right. Now call it Novel-Page-First (depending on what you end up going for you might need a Novel-Page-Very-First but we’ll keep it simple for now), and that’s it for the page style. The paragraph style will inherit from Novel-Chapter-Title and be called Novel-Chapter-Title-First (again, depending on what layout you go for you might need a Novel-Chapter-Title-Very-First), and all needs is to have in the Text Flow tab Breaks enabled (Insert checked) Type set to Page and Position to Before and With page style checked and Novel-Page-First selected and (and this is where the magic happens) Page number set to 1 (0 means carry on from the last page number), and that’s it. When you set your first Chapter Title to use the Novel-Chapter-Title-First paragraph style it will reset the page count to 1. Easy. Now to see your page number you are going to need to click on the footer, change the style to Novel-Footer and Insert->Field->Page Number. If you want to leave off the heading on this page it’s easy, just don’t add one. As a header is associated to a page style you can safely add the header to your normal Novel-Page page with out it affecting this one.

My copy of American Psycho showing how it lays out it pages
America Psycho has the page number back in the header along with the author's name on the left and the book's title on the right. You'll also notice that it doesn't bother with page breaks between chapters.

Honestly, once you get the hang of this, it is quite easy to achieve whatever it is you want to achieve, but it isn’t very intuitive and can get frustrating, so be prepared to spend a little time playing with this and looking at how I got it to work in the example book at the end of this section. Most problems are caused by not using a unique page style where you need one e.g. so one paragraph style is telling LibreOffice that a page style should start its page count at 1 where another is telling it that the same page style should just continue from the last number, or you’re adding a header on one page that uses a certain page style and deleting it on a different page that is also mistakenly using the same style, causing the first page to loose its header etc.

Series Navigation<< Character and Page StylesStyle Summary and Template >>

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *