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I am writing a report on our project in school, and we were discussing what would be the best place for the page numbers. It seems obvious, at least to us, that the page numbers should be right-aligned because the report is printed single sided. But should we put the page numbers at the top, or at the bottom of the page?

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More information about the subject of the report and style of citation (eg: MLA, APA, etc) would be helpful. I agree with jwpat7 that it isn't obvious that the page numbers should be right aligned to most people reading this. –  jschabs Jun 12 '13 at 15:28
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2 Answers 2

In the absence of a particular style guide, I would put the page numbers on the top of the page, toward the outer side. When printing single-sided, this means put them in the top right corner. When printing double-sided, this means put them in the top right corner on odd numbered pages, and top left corner on even numbered pages.

  • Putting the page number at the top puts it in a spot where people will quite naturally look.
  • Putting the page number on the outside makes it easy to quickly flip to a specific page.

If the report is short, the second point in particular might not make much of a difference (it is not clear from your question what level of education you are in). But even then, it isn't going to hurt your grade if the page number is easy to find and the teacher happens to drop the printed copy of your report on the floor.

As pointed out in @jschabs' answer, if your school has an officially sanctioned style guide, you should refer to it for guidance on where on the page to put particular pieces of information, as well as what to include. In that case, your school might also provide ready-made templates, which would make the question moot.

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Sometimes it depends on the format your school uses. If it's MLA at least, you want your page numbers at the top right hand corner. Your last name should be in front of the page number though for MLA.

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