How to add page numbers to a PDF file using Acrobat X or Acrobat XI

Learn how to add page numbers to PDF documents using Acrobat X or Acrobat XI.

By Donna Baker – March 23, 2012


In this tutorial, learn how to edit PDF by adding page numbers to PDF documents using Acrobat X or Acrobat XI.

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How to add page numbers to a PDF file using Acrobat X or Acrobat XI

Donna Baker – March 23, 2012

Acrobat remembers numbers for all the pages in your file. In the Page Thumbnails pane, click Page 1 to see the notation (1 of 23) shown in the Page Navigation area. Don’t confuse page numbers assigned to the document's pages with a text number on the page, like a footer.

Let’s add some numbering to the document. Click the Page 1 thumbnail, then press Shift + click the Page 2 thumbnail. In the Document Processing tools, click Number Pages to open the Page Numbering dialog box. We don’t have to specify pages since we selected the thumbnails. Click the Style drop-down arrow and select the lowercase Roman numerals. Click OK to close the dialog box. You see the pages show the lowercase numbers below their thumbnails. The number field in the Page Navigation tools shows the page number in lowercase numeral style, while the page and total show in brackets as before.

Now let’s add basic numbering to the rest of the document. Click the Options button on the Page Thumbnails panel and click Number Pages to open the Page Numbering dialog box. This time we have to specify pages. Click the From: field and type 3; click the To: field and type 23. Click the Style drop-down arrow and select the basic number style. Click the Start: text field, and type 3 for the Start number since we numbered Pages 1 and 2 earlier. Click OK.

Scroll through the panel to see the numbered thumbnails. Click a thumbnail to show its numbering in the Page Navigation field and display the page in the Document pane.

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Comments for this tutorial are now closed.

Lori Kassuba

6, 2015-05-28 28, 2015

Hi Jude,

You can use the Add Header/Footer command to do this. Here is a tutorial on the subject:



12, 2015-05-25 25, 2015

Please can anyone in “simple language” tell me how to number a pdf document authomaically!. I combined two documents with different pagination. With 630 pages in all. Numbeing the document manually is killing using adobe pro xl.

Lori Kassuba

6, 2015-04-13 13, 2015

Hi Michael,

Interesting idea. About the only way I can see to do this, would be to right-click on the page thumbnail and select Number Pages. Then, set the Style to “None” and in the Prefix area add the bookmark name. You’ll need to do this manually for each page thumbnail.



7, 2015-03-30 30, 2015


I have broken a couple of PDFs with bookmarks down to their individual pages using the Tools>Pages>Split Document feature.  I have then combined into a single file and preserved the existing bookmarks.  I was wondering how to display the thumbnail title (currently displaying a page number) to read the bookmark name?  Thanks so much.


Lori Kassuba

5, 2015-03-19 19, 2015

Hi Kate,

It’s not possible using the Add Header/Footer command but you could use the technique mentioned here:



10, 2015-03-18 18, 2015

I need to add Roman numerals to the footer in part of a document. Is this possible? I only get 1,1/n, Page1, Page 1/n nothing remotely roman! (ie i, ii, iii, iv)

Lori Kassuba

2, 2014-10-24 24, 2014

Hi Loretta Irish,

Some improvements were made in later versions of Acrobat - you might try downloading a free trial to see if it’s better in XI. The new Combine feature might be helpful as well for what you’re doing.


Loretta Irish

3, 2014-10-20 20, 2014

I work with various documents (lots of different headers) that are combined to form a larger document.  I combine into a pdf using Adobe Acrobat 9.  If after I set pagination I try and insert an extra page into the document and update header/footer, I loose all of the headers.  I find inserting pages a nightmare as all pagination is lost.  It is okay if you are replacing pages, but adding 1 or more pages is a real pain.

Lori Kassuba

2, 2014-09-29 29, 2014

Hi Patty,

You can add logical page numbers (the ones that appear in the toolbar) to multiple document using an Action in Acrobat Pro. If you’re referring to page numbers that appear in a header and footer, then this is possible when using the Add Header & Footer command in the Pages panel. In this dialog, there is an Apply to Multiple button at the bottom of the dialog.



5, 2014-09-26 26, 2014

Is there any way to add page numbers to multiple PDF files at once?

Lori Kassuba

3, 2014-09-25 25, 2014

Hi Peter Downey,

You need to be using the Pages > Header & Footer command not the other one. The Document Numbering command is use to display the page numbers in the toolbar not on the physical page.

In the Add Header and Footer command, try selecting the Appearance Options link and checking “Shrink document to avoid overwriting the document’s text and graphics”.
Also, do you see the footer in the Preview screen in the Add Header and Footer dialog?


Peter Downey

7, 2014-09-22 22, 2014

I’m trying to add page numbers to a 24 page document I scanned into a pdf file.  I tried to use both “pages/header & Footers” and “Document processing/Page numbers”. However when I’m done and save the page numbers are not on the document.  What step or process am I missing?

Lori Kassuba

2, 2014-08-06 06, 2014

Hi Roberta,

This is possible but it’s a rather manual process. You’ll need to number each section separately. Start with section 1 and add a 1- prefix to the number format then repeat the process for each section. You can specify the page range using the Page Range Options link.



8, 2014-08-03 03, 2014

I need to be able to number the pages with the same numbering I have in the thumbnail pages…which is sections within a larger documents. For instance 1-1, 1-2, 2-1, 2-2, 2-3, etc. I can number the thumbnails that way, but it doe snot seem that I can use that numbering to actually number the pages the same…

Lori Kassuba

6, 2014-05-28 28, 2014

Hi Jakob,

This tutorial will help you add page numbers to the bottom of your document:



12, 2014-05-28 28, 2014

I was able to add page numbers to my pdf doc, but the numbers only appeared in the thumbnails, not in the doc proper.  What am I missing?
J. s.

donna baker

6, 2014-01-25 25, 2014

Hi Colin -

You’ll need to add a footer to configure and display page numbers when you print the document.



2, 2014-01-23 23, 2014

Yes I can number the pages for viewing but i want the pages to be numbered when printed out

Richard Howarth

6, 2014-01-12 12, 2014

Excellent…! Thank you for sharing your wisdom with beginners, like myself, starting from square one, such assistance is very much appreciated and some day I can do the same and pass this wisdom one to my children and grandchildren. Great job, keepem’ coming…‘the tips and tricks, tutorials, etc., so I can absorb all the knowledge, provided by Adobe, whom I totally ‘adore’...!                          ADOBE is #1

donna baker

3, 2013-09-25 25, 2013

Hi Debbie -

There isn’t any mystery to the process, or hidden settings that should throw you off. Perhaps you could repair your Acrobat installation. On Windows, choose Help > Repair Acrobat Installation and let the program check out its components. Sometimes that’s all you need to get rid of odd issues like this one.


donna baker

3, 2013-09-25 25, 2013

Hi Penney -

Thanks for your comment! There are so many things to learn about Acrobat and PDF, and we cover it all on this site.



5, 2013-09-10 10, 2013

This does not work for me for some reason that I can’t figure out. I am sure I am following the directions correctly. But when I make the changes to the page thumbnails, and then click OK in the dialog box, nothing changes. Is there some obscure setting somewhere that is preventing this? I’ve tried it in several PDFs that I’ve generated and it does not work.


10, 2013-07-13 13, 2013

Spot on with this write-up, I absolutely believe this amazing site needs far more attention. I’ll probably be back again to read through more, thanks for the information!

donna baker

9, 2012-05-22 22, 2012

Hi Lois -

I’m glad the information helped. I agree that it goes quite quickly—sometimes it’s simpler to watch it a couple of times right through before taking notes.



12, 2012-04-10 10, 2012

This has such useful information. Thank you for spending the time to make this.  It was very fast for me to follow and I had to pause to write down the instructions every few seconds, but it helped.

Comments for this tutorial are now closed.