It was the one thing missing in my Notion database before printing it, and finding an EASY way to add a column of sequential numbers felt as elusive as finding a unicorn.
Then, like a lightbulb flickering to life, I realized the answer could be way simpler than I thought!
So, by the end of this article, you'll know the best hack to add number sequences in Notion, without complicated formulas or missing ID numbers!
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How to generate sequential page IDs in Notion
If you're more of a watcher than a reader, here’s a video with the step-by-step process to easily number database pages in a snap. Check it out instead of scrolling through the steps or listen while you read.
Step 1 - Locate the Notion database where you want to add a column of sequential numbers
I'm going to use my Amazon Influencer Program Template as an example, just for a shameless plug here, since this is my latest creation, and I'm obsessed with it.
So, if you're in the program and use Notion, definitely check it out – I'm sure you're going to love it!
Step 2 - Create a new number property
Create a 'number' property column and name it "ID" or whatever you prefer. Here’s where we're going to generate the sequential page IDs.
Step 3 - Open a Google Sheet
Now, let's borrow a bit of Google Sheets magic and bring it into Notion. Open a Google Sheet and create a sequence of 1, 2, 3.
Select the numbers and drag until you reach the desired number for your Notion database.
Then copy those numbers using Control + C on Windows or Command + C on Mac.
Step 4 - Copy the sequence and paste it into Notion.
Paste the numbers into your ID column in Notion, but before you do it, make sure you're not only in the text area, and that you're selecting the entire thing.
You'll know it's right when the selection has a little blue box around it.
This vs. the Native ID Function: Why This Works Better for Me
If you never (like really *never* ) delete pages or apply filters to your databases, then the ID property offered by Notion will work for you.
Let me tell you, the Native ID property actually seemed like a godsend to me until I realized that:
- If I delete a page, that ID number is gone forever (along with my hopes of having consecutive numbers in my reports ).
- When filtering information, IDs won't be contiguous because they show only in the order they were created and not the order they are shown in a view.
Currently, there’s no way to manually remove IDs from deleted pages or make them automatically sort themselves in a contiguous way after applying a filter or a sort different from the creation date.
That's why this workaround using a copy-paste strategy from Google Sheets is exactly what solved my issues and completely satisfied my needs.
How to Fill a Database with Consecutive Numbers: Closing Thoughts
When I first came up with this workaround, I honestly didn't expect much, but I was genuinely thrilled to see that it worked perfectly for what I needed (generating a numbered report before printing).
Unfortunately, this is a manual approach, meaning the numbers for future pages won't appear automatically. So, you'll need to continue updating the column manually whenever you add a new page, or you can repeat the copy-paste process from Google Sheets again.
However, even though this isn't automatic, it's still way faster than typing the number sequences one by one in Notion.
Moreover, you avoid the risk of getting duplicate IDs, which could happen when using relations and formulas, as I found out during my research on Reddit.
Hope this idea can help you save a bunch of time (and headaches!) If you’re on the hunt for cool and aesthetic Notion templates, check out these 21 amazing ones I found on Etsy.