How can I number columns (like page number)?

Using writer, we have composed a personal favorites cook book. The actual pages go in a small format page (8.5 high by 5.5 wide), so we cut the landscape style paper in half and use two columns.

It would be super to be able to auto-number the pages. Right now, I construct a text block at the bottom of each page in the footer (two per page) and hand number the pages. Of course, these text frames have a habit of moving on their own and the hand numbering is kind of archaic.

Does anyone have a clever way to mark page numbers on a page where the page is actually the column, so page 2 contains pages 3 and 4.

The LibO Writer Guide: “Chapter 4: Formatting Pages” has useful advice on page numbering and “Chapter 5: Printing, Exporting, Faxing, and E-Mailing” useful advice on Printing options.

Is there a reason why you are using two columns (i.e. One page number for two pages) when you appear to want to print the page in a smaller format? (Two page numbers on one letter sized sheet) Given the same requirement, I would probably adjust the PAGE STYLE page size to the actual size I want (User 8.5 x 5.5). Then either adjust the printer settings to print two pages on each sheet of paper or use the Brochure option. If you are using metric A4 paper it is slightly simpler as A5 is one half of A4 and you can buy A5 paper. That way the page numbers would be automatic. Peter

Why don’t you make a page style of 4.25 by 5.5, insert a footer with your numbering and, when creating a pdf, put two pages on one 8.5 by 5.5 paper?
You could even copy-paste your entire work in there, so not much of an effort.

In essence, my solution is basically the same as @petermau and @oweng suggested. Sorry about my floppy description.

The answer by @petermau is essentially correct i.e., the page number variable is designed for pages, and a column is not a page, thus you are better to redefine the pages of the document to suit an actual intended page. Having said that, if you absolutely require an incrementing variable to act as an enumerator on a basis other than per-page, try this:

  1. Insert > Fields > Other… (CTRL+F2)
  2. Variables tab > Type of “Set variable” > Format of “General” > in Name enter a meaningful descriptor (e.g., col_nbr) > in Value enter an incrementing formula (e.g., col_nbr=col_nbr+1) > click Insert.
  3. Copy this field as required (it should naturally increment for each copy).
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Thanks Peter et al. I can easily see that reducing the “paper size” will work. I will have to experiment on how to get 2 “pages” to print on one. Bottom line, reducing the paper size works but printing it 2 up does not. The two pages are reduced in size and a huge left margin remains. BUMMER. It also thinks the paper is size A-2 at printing which is NOT what I put in and shows for the real paper size (A2 is a little larger in both h + w).

I actually like the variable solution better, so I will try that first. Ah - variables work only on the page - all pages after 1 are marked 1 and 2. - So this does not work. BUMMER.

FINAL resolution: redo document in single column portrait mode with fonts about 3/2 bigger and FAKE page size of 13 x 8.5; print using brochure mode giving a reduced size - 2up - comes out with footer pagination right. This will waste the left half of the first sheet (page 1 will be on right).
Thanks to the person who suggested that I reduce the paper size and then could use correct fonts. After doing this, I kind of liked the larger fonts for editing (yes I could have just changed the view size - it would have been easier). But after an hour of changing many documents, it is not worth going back and re-doing it all again.

I can not follow your edited answer. In other words, none of the described solutions has worked out? And, to be clear, each singe page has to be 8.5 by 5, correct?

Okay, one last comment to your “final update”: If you would have reduced the paper format to the desired size and kept you text field size constant (adjust margins), you could have left the font size.

I’ve asked about your paper size to understand you correctly and maybe provide an example. Sorry, I just wanted to help you.

@rayholme, “all pages after 1 are marked 1 and 2”. This will only be the case if the variables are placed in the header / footer (repeating) area. Copying a variable field as many times as required is the usual method of use and is effective.