How do you enter consecutive page numbers?

I’m using Libre Office Writer and I have each chapter of my book in a separate document. So, for example, I want the first page of chapter 2 to begin with page number 17 in the footer and for each page to then be numbered consecutively, i.e. 18, 19, 20, etc. I cannot find how to do this. Can any one help? Many thanks.

What you need is a master document.
A master document references other documents (separate files) to be “included” in the global layout. The content (body) of each file remains distinct from the master document (i.e. the bytes of these files do not become part of the master document) but the header/footer is a “private” property of the master document(+), meaning it does not change when LO composes a new file. Thus, your page numbering is monotonically sequential.

(+) The master document does not use the page format/styles of the inserted documents but its own ones. This is why you get automatic consecutive page numbering, even if you modify the inserted documents (adding or removing pages).

In your case, part of the job is already done: your chapters are in separate files. You only need to build your master document which will “glue” together the chapters.

  1. FileNewMaster document
  2. Open the Navigator if not already done (F5)
  3. Eventually, click on the first icon (top left) to toggle to document structure view (you should see a single line with Text since your document is empty)
  4. Make sure Text is selected (this defines where the new element is inserted)
  5. Click on the Insert icon in the small toolbar and select Insert from the dropdown menu. A file dialog opens to choose the file which will be inserted BEFORE the selected element in step 4.
  6. Repeat step 5 for every needed document, clicking first on a an item which will follow the inserted one

In case, you want to change page format for the inserted document (e.g. to display a different header if you do not use automatic insertion with fields), you need to insert Text items (from the dropdown menu) between the files so that you can customise text properties (such as page breaks, header, footer, background, …).

You are encouraged to read LO User Manual to get an idea on the possibilities which would be too long to expose here.

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Right click on the very first paragraph of the second document, and choose Paragraph… . On “Text Flow” tab, make sure “Insert” → Page Before is checked, With page style is checked, and then enter desired page number.

Thank you. Easily the most straightforward and successful answer!

Try this book: Designing with LibreOffice. It has a section on planning and using Master Documents.

There is also LibreOffice official documentation