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Much as I loathe Microsquish's Word, it does allow you to insert into a header or footer the automated text "Page X of Y."

When using InDesign, it's easy to set up the "Page X" part on a master page. But is there any placeholder character for the Y? That is, it will count the number of pages in the document, either in an absolute or a relative-to-the-section fashion? Every now and again I narrowly miss sending out something with a footer which reads "Page 4 of 3," and I would love to know if there's some way around that.

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If you go to Type > Text variables > Insert variable, you will find "Last page Number", which should work (but maybe not if you're organizing multiple files in an Indesign Book, I don't know).

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ooh, that's a neat trick! It does have some issues if you use a section start, however. –  Lauren Ipsum Apr 2 '12 at 15:11
    
can you elaborate on the issues? –  horatio Apr 3 '12 at 19:16
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If you have a section start, the LPN is the page number of the section (for example, if my section start is p45 and it's three pages, the Last Number is page 48, even if it's the sixth page in the document). That is, it is relative to the section, not absolute to the whole document. –  Lauren Ipsum Apr 4 '12 at 17:34

Oddly enough, the current page number is a marker, but the "total pages" is a text variable called "Last Page Number" that you reach using Type > Variables > Insert Variable > Last Page Number. In all other respects it functions the same way as a marker such as "Current Page Number" or "Next Page." Quirky, and not entirely logical, but that's the way it's set up.

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