For Seniors: How to Use Headers and Footers in Microsoft Word

You can create headers and footers in Microsoft Word that repeat the same text at the top or bottom of each page. For example, if you’re typing the minutes of a club meeting, you may want to put the club’s name in the header so that it appears across the top of each page.

Every document has a header and footer area, which are both empty by default. The header and footer appear in Print Layout view, Full Page Reading view, and Web Layout view, and also on the printed page. (If you are in Draft view, you may want to switch to Print Layout view to follow along in this section more easily.)

Here are two ways of putting content into headers and footers:

  • Manually: In Print Layout view, double-click in the header or footer of the page. (Choose View→Print Layout.) This puts you in the Header and Footer editing mode, where you can type text directly into those areas.

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    You can’t edit the body of the document while you’re in this mode. To resume working within the main part of the document, double-click the main document (anywhere below the header or above the footer).

  • Have Word help: Choose Insert→Header or Insert→Footer and then select a preformatted header or footer placeholder. This also places you in Header and Footer editing mode automatically, and you can edit the text in the placeholders that were inserted. Depending on the sample you pick, there may be not only a text placeholder but also a page-numbering code. This saves you the step of inserting the page-numbering code separately.

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You can manually insert a page-numbering code into a header or footer as well as codes for the current date, time, and other information. When the insertion point is in the header or footer area, the Header & Footer Tools Design tab appears on the Ribbon. On that tab are buttons for inserting various types of codes like that.

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In the check boxes in the Options group, you can specify that you want a different header and footer for the first page (for example, so you can have a cover page without header and footer text), or that you want separate headers and footers for odd and even pages (for example, for a double-sided booklet where the page numbers should always be on the outside edge).

In the Position group, you can control the amount of space allotted to the header and footer. By default, each is 1/2-inch tall. You can change these values in the Header from Top and Footer from Bottom list boxes.

When you’re done working with the header and footer, double-click the main body of the document, or click the Close Header and Footer button on the Design tab.

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