Is there an automatic way to create a non-blank, even-numbered page at the end of a chapter, if the chapter would otherwise end on an odd page?

Article contributed by John McGhie

Yes, there is a way: Technical Writers use a field that senses whether it is on an odd or an even page and adds a blank page as required. Since the page is part of the text, it will have a header and a footer. The syntax is:

{ IF{ =MOD({ PAGE \* Arabic },2)}= 0 " " "[page break]This page is intentionally blank." }

Where { and } are field bounding characters produced by pressing Ctrl+F9 (don't type them); where [page break] stands for a hard page break - press Ctrl + Enter to insert it; it cannot be a Section Break; and where denotes a space character (press the spacebar).

Note that there are three nested fields: Hit Ctrl + F9 three times in a row to give you your three nested sets, then fill in the rest.

Also, note the spacing carefully: the spaces or absence of spaces is critical. The critical spaces are marked in red. And note the final " } .

If you are using a non-English installation of Windows, you may also need to replace the comma in the above field with another character (for instance, in some language versions, it might be a semi-colon). To find out which character to use, select Start + Settings + Control Panel + Regional Settings; and on the Number tab, look under Digit grouping symbol.

Before printing, select all the text in the document and hit F9 (or turn Update Fields on in Tools/Options/Print). When you do and these fields update, they will add a blank page with the text This page is intentionally blank if the field lands on an Odd page. If it lands on an Even page, the field disappears entirely. If you add a page, it springs back to life. I put one on the end of every chapter by default.

How it Works

Word evaluates the formula from the inside out. 

  • First, it assigns a value to the {PAGE} token for each page.  Page numbers (and the page breaks themselves) never actually exist in the text in a Word document.  Word inserts a "token" in the file which is not given a value until 'output' time (i.e. when the file is printed or displayed).
  • Add the switch "\* Arabic" if you are using page numbering in any format other than '1, 2, 3' otherwise the next statement will not be able to use the number returned -- many thanks to Jeremy Saul at Siemens Transportation Systems for finding that one!)
  • Next, Word computes MOD 2 of the page number.  Essentially, it divides the page number by "2" and returns the remainder, not the result. Because the divisor is "2", the remainder can only be 1 or 0.
  • Lastly, Word evaluates the IF field, which simply says "if the remainder is '0' then print nothing, otherwise print the 'blank page' text."  The IF statement contains a condition (the result of the previous two fields) and a pair of quoted strings: the content of the first string is displayed if the condition is true, the second is printed if it is false.  In this case, page number divided by 2 will always be 0 on an even-numbered page, and "1" on an odd-numbered page. 
  • So you can see that if for some reason you wanted your blank pages to occur on the even-numbered pages, you would move the text from the second of the sets of quotes to the first, so that it appears if the value is true instead of false.

If you are not familiar with the MOD field you can find a description of it in Word's Help; it's a good way to test whether a number (the page number in this case) is even or odd).

Note: This solution works "despite" the presence or absence of section breaks. If you use an "Odd Page" section break, the NEXT page after it will be a right-hand page. In which case, you need to REMOVE the Page Break from this field and place the field BEFORE the section break. The left page will then contain the "This page is intentionally blank" and the next page will start your new chapter. Or you may decide to use no section break, in which case, leave the page break within the field: it will produce a page throw if it needs one.

Considerations: This solution depends on the internal value of the {page} field.

  • If you are combining this solution with a formula field (for example, to add a value to the page number that is displayed to allow for front matter) you need to know that the internal value of the {page} field is unchanged, and that's what this article's solution works with.
  • Conversely, if you use Insert>Page Numbers>Format to start page numbering in a section at a value of other than "1", the internal value of the {page} field is changed and the solution will use the changed value.

If you have trouble getting it to work, download the attached example:


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