Page numbering in page layout documents

A single page number sequence through an entire page layout document generated from DITA is often preferable to the traditional system of different page number sequences for front matter and back matter.

Traditional page numbering systems for printed documents have different numbering ranges for front matter, body content, and back matter. For example, the front matter (such as the Table of Contents, List of Figures, and Acknowledgements) might be numbered in lower case Roman numerals, with the page numbers restarting for the main body content in Arabic numerals.

The historical reasons for the different numbering sequences trace back to the production processes where the Table of Contents couldn't be created until the body of the document was paginated. Technology has since removed that limitation, but in general, the traditional numbering system has persisted.

When creating PDF (or similar page layout) output documents where the intention is that the documents will primarily be read on-screen, you should process the document with a single page numbering sequence. This will make it easier for the document to be navigated, when the actual page numbers in the viewer match the page numbers displayed on the pages in the document.