Inserting a ‘This page intentionally left blank’ messageOctober 3, 2012
When you have odd/even pages set for a Word document, and new sections or chapters starting on an odd page, you may get a blank page for a preceding even page (see here for a full explanation as to why this is so: http://cybertext.wordpress.com/2012/08/14/word-blank-pages-when-document-is-printed/).
Unfortunately, you can’t see the blank page in Word — you only see it when the document is printed, including ‘printed’ to PDF. In some situations (such as for legal or regulatory documents), you may want to indicate to the reader that the blank page is deliberately blank and that it’s not an omission.
There are a couple of ways you can add a ‘This page intentionally left blank’ type of message in Word, using VBA code or fields, but neither is particularly easy to implement, especially if you’ve already set up odd page section breaks:
- Using field codes: http://word.mvps.org/FAQs/TblsFldsFms/InsEvnPgEndChap.htm (note: this method does not use section breaks so if you have those in your document, you’ll have to remove them)
- Using VBA: http://word.tips.net/T001870_Automatic_Blank_Pages_at_the_End_of_a_Section.html
However, if you have Adobe Acrobat (NOT Adobe Reader) there is a super easy way to insert such a message into a PDF of the Word document. And you can save the message for later use in the same document or other documents too.
The instructions below are for Acrobat Pro X — earlier versions of Acrobat also insert watermarks, but you may have to look under different options for that functionality (e.g. Acrobat 9 has it under Document > Watermark).
- Save the Word document as a PDF.
- Open the PDF in Adobe Acrobat (NOT Reader).
- Go to View > Tools > Pages (or click the Tools text on the right of the menu bar and then expand the Pages option).
- Click Watermark.
- Select Add Watermark.
- On the Add Watermark window, choose your settings. In the example below, I’ve entered ‘This page intentionally left blank’ as the watermark text and set the font, font color, and font size. I only wanted to put this watermark on a single page in the document (page 2), so I clicked the Page Range Options link (top right of the window), and set the page. I left all other settings as they were, then clicked OK. I could have saved this message and all its formatting for use later in this document, or in other documents.
- I now had a document with a message on the blank page:
No, I won’t comment on the absurdity of the page no longer being blank as now there is some text on it! The reality is that this is a convention that has been used for several decades at least, and is a known convention in legal and regulatory circles, and possibly military and other technical documents where it is important that the reader understands that nothing has been omitted inadvertently.
[Links last checked October 2012; thanks to Matt H for alerting me to this simple solution]