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By default, with either the standard LaTeX classes or the KOMA-script classes, empty pages (such as may occur using \cleardoublepage) have no page numbers. Why is this? In my — unprofessional — opinion, every page should have a page number. When I want to go to a particular page in a book, having page numbers oo every page assists me in finding the page I need, and page numbers do not only serve as an anchor for content.

However, I am by no means a book designer, and perhaps the default setting is one that I should not want to override. What is the reason for the absense of page numbers on empty pages? Am I wrong with my reasoning above, or are scholarly opinions about it divided as well?

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    The standard classes do number the empty page (\cleardoublepage by default does not change the page style) slightly inconsistently \part does not use \cleardoublepage (because) it does use \thispagestyle{empty} on the extra page. Oct 2 '13 at 19:35
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    i think "scholarly" opinion on this does differ. in ams publications, an otherwise empty page at the end of a journal article or of a book chapter should, by design, not have a page number (and \cleardoublepage has been defined to make this so). however, in a technical manual, or a government document, you will very often see "This page intentionally left blank." the chicago manual of style is quite specific: "Running heads and folios should be deleted from ... and, of course, from all blank pages." (14th ed., p.119, 3.43) Oct 2 '13 at 20:58
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    If a page has nothing on it will almost certainly have its facing page not blank (a chapter starting page); possible exception, a blank page whose facing page is a part starting page (where somebody doesn't want a page number). The obvious solution is not using parts. ;-) But, seriously, a lonely page number might suggest that something went wrong and some text has been lost.
    – egreg
    Oct 2 '13 at 22:03
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If a page has nothing on it will almost certainly have a non blank facing page (a chapter starting page); possible exception, a blank page whose facing page is a part starting page (where somebody doesn't want a page number) and the obvious solution is not using parts or letting them have the page number at the bottom. ;-)

Seriously, a lonely page number might suggest that something went wrong and some text has been lost.

As Barbara Beeton rightfully remarks, in some kinds of text blank pages are not really blank and some warning such as "this page intentionally left blank" appears. However this is not the case for books or dissertations, unless the publisher requests it (they'll remove the text during book production).

The Chicago Manual of Style is quite specific: "Running heads and folios should be deleted from ... and, of course, from all blank pages." (14th ed., p. 119, 3.43).

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  • Why is this answer community wiki?
    – gerrit
    Feb 3 '14 at 9:28
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    @gerrit I used comments from me and Barbara Beeton
    – egreg
    Feb 3 '14 at 9:43

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