How do I count pages in my document? | Learning Hub | Fineline Print & Web

Our Aim:

To provide the most comprehensive Print & Design Learning Centre available in the UK

Dedicated to making Your Print More Profitable by...
  • Helping you get the job done faster and more efficiently
  • With less downtime and reduced waste
  • Making your business more effetive
  • Cutting through the jargon which drives us all mad


I’m Alec from Fineline Print, and I’m back again to talk to you about how to solve the puzzle of page counts.

One of the things which trips people up time and time again is correctly counting page numbers in a multi-page leaflet or booklet and it can be a painful and costly learning curve. 

Imagine asking your printer for a quote on a 28-page book, you accept their quote and promptly send over your print file. Before you know it, there’s a phone call from a perplexed printer who knows he or she has quoted on a 28-pager but they’re actually looking at a booklet with 56 pages in it. 

Big difference! 

Big difference in the size of the book and a big difference in the price too.


So, why do so many get it wrong?

The answer is deceptively simple. It happens because mostly, people count the number of leaves in a document whereas you should count the number of sides.

To be fair, it’s not a problem of counting so much as a question of terminology. But I’ve seen so many slip-ups that a brief explanation is in order.


Think about that book you’re reading right now.

Printers count pages like you would in your book – each side of a sheet is counted as one page. 

One sheet equals two pages. 

But, for the most part, people just count sheets which means they under estimate the true page count by half which isn’t very helpful when you’ve accepted that quote for what you think is a 28-page booklet – only to find that it’s a 56-pager.


But hold on – because there’s more!

Almost the same problem happens with leaflets too – and I’ll show you what you mean.

A very straightforward example would be a 4-page A5 leaflet. 

If you take an A4 sheet, turn it on its side (landscape) and fold it in half. This gives you four A5 pages.  Or, as your printer would say, a 4pp (printed pages) A5.

But just suppose you take 2 A4 sheets and fold them in half – how many pages have you got then? Knowing what you do now you’d say straightaway that it’s an 8-pager. And you’d be absolutely correct.

However, the fact that the outside sheet is the cover is another tripwire for the unwary because most people just count the pages on the inside – you need to count the front and back cover too.

For a multi-page document like the graphic below the front cover is counted as page 1 and the back cover is (in this case) page 8. 

Even if a side is blank it is still counted as a page.

Here’s another example of a page count, this time for a simple trifold leaflet. 

In this illustration, it’s an A4 sheet folded down to 1/3rd A4 which printers will sometimes refer to as a 6pp (printed pages) 1/3rd A4.

And here’s a neat little graphic which shows you the page numbers and which panels they correspond to.

Pages 2, 3 and four being on the inside of the leaflet and pages 1 and 6 being the front and back cover respectively.

I could get carried away and list loads more examples, but time is short, and I think you’ve probably got it for now. Covering two of the most common page counts – the first for a booklet and then this one for a folded leaflet is probably enough to get you up and running.

However, if you’ve got a particularly tricky document which you’d like some extra help with please feel free to get in touch and we’ll do whatever we can to help.


But before you go …

I’m on a mission this year to help You make Your Print more Profitable.

If you’ve found his article helpful and you’d like to receive regular insights and answers to industry secrets just pop your name and email in here and we’ll look forward to sharing with you.

It’s what we’re here for!


Copyright © Fineline Print and Web 2018

It really doesn’t matter whether you’ve got a project still on the drawing board or ready to go - if you’d like help to brainstorm some ideas and … thoughts on how to use print more effectively, please just pop a name and phone number (or email address if that’s more convenient) in to the form alongside and we’ll get right back to you.  

It’s what we’re here for.

Please share your top tips with me

Let us guide you to achieve profitable printing, call Alec and the team on 01824 705 800