Master headers and footers in long Word 2007 documents

Word 2007 Inside Out book cover

Microsoft Office Word 2007 Inside Out
By Katherine Murray, Mary Millhollon, and Beth Melton

Katherine Murray has authored and coauthored more than 40 computer books with several Microsoft Office titles to her credit, including Faster Smarter Microsoft Office System—2003 Edition, First Look Microsoft Office 2003, Faster Smarter Microsoft Office XP, and Microsoft Word Version 2002 Inside Out. She is also a columnist on the Microsoft Office Community site on www.microsoft.com. Katherine specializes in teaching people and businesses how to communicate effectively by using print and electronic media.

Mary Millhollon is an expert Web designer, developer, and content specialist with years of experience in the publishing industry, including books, magazines, newspapers, and courseware. She is also a writer, editor, and instructor who has authored and coauthored several popular books about Microsoft Office and the Web, including Microsoft Word Version 2002 Inside Out and Faster Smarter Web Page Creation. She is the owner of Bughouse Productions.

Beth Melton has been a computer instructor and developer since January 1995. Along with developing custom Microsoft Office solutions for a wide range of clients and instructing computer classes for local area colleges, she writes regularly on the Microsoft Office applications for Web sites including Microsoft Office Online, TechTrax Online Magazine, The Word MVP Site, and the Microsoft Knowledge Base. Beth has been a Microsoft Office MVP since 2000 and is a Microsoft Office Specialist Master Instructor.

To learn more about other books on the 2007 Microsoft Office system, visit Microsoft Press.


In this article


Adding text to the header (top) and footer (bottom) areas in a Word document serves a number of purposes, but headers and footers are used primarily to repeat information at the top or bottom of each page. You can easily insert page numbers, text, Building Blocks, pictures, and clip art in document headers and footers. This article explains how Microsoft Office Word 2007 can help you efficiently adapt to all sorts of changes to headers and footers with a little know-how.

Adding page numbers

Office Word 2007 enables you to add page numbers in two principal ways. You can add basic page numbers by using the Page Number gallery on the Insert tab, or you can add page numbers along with additional content by using the built-in or custom Header and Footer galleries. When you use the Page Number gallery, you can add a page number to the Top Of Page, Bottom Of Page, Page Margins, or Current Position. After you select a position, choose a page-numbering design from the gallery of designs, as shown in the following image.

Page number designs

When you insert a page number by using the Page Number gallery, Word 2007 automatically inserts the selected page number and opens the header and footer layer in your document for additional editing. If you want to add more complex page numbering as well as additional information, you can add headers and footers as described in the next section.

 Note    You can see a document's headers and footers only in printed documents, Print Layout view (if white space between pages is not suppressed), Print Preview, and Full Screen Reading view (if the Show Printed Page option is selected). Headers and footers are hidden in the Web Layout, Outline, and Draft views.

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Creating headers and footers

Headers and footers are special sections on each page that often provide the sort of useful information that many people take for granted—such as page numbers and chapter titles. Headers present information at the tops of pages, while footers provide information at the bottoms of pages. For example, in a book, the chapter names and book title often appear in the header, while the page numbers appear in the footer. You'll often use headers and footers to provide readers with important information about the publication, which could include the title, author, page number, creation date, last modified date, confidentiality statements, graphics, and other items. Word provides an array of header and footer options.

You can control whether headers and footers differ on odd and even pages, whether the first page has a different header or footer, and where headers and footers are placed relative to the edge of a printed page.

To create a header or footer, on the Insert tab in the Header & Footer group, select a Building Block from the respective gallery.

 Note    If the desired Header or Footer selection doesn't use your preferred fonts or colors, then modify or change your document Theme, found on the Page Layout tab in the Themes group, before manually making formatting changes. The fonts and colors shown in the Header and Footer galleries are linked to the document Theme and update if the document Theme is changed.

When the Header and Footer sections are active, you can add text, numbers, field codes, graphics, Building Blocks, and objects to customize your document's headers and footers. When you insert a header or footer, the Header and Footer areas become accessible, the content area of the document becomes temporarily unavailable, and the Header & Footer Tools display along with the contextual Design tab, as shown in Figure 1.

Header and Footer Tools

Figure 1 To create headers and footers in documents, you enter and format numbers, text, Building Blocks, and graphics in the header and footer areas.

The Design tab includes the following:

  • Header Gallery     Enables you to edit or remove a header. Also enables you to select a header's contents and save the selection to the Header gallery so you can use the header in other documents.
  • Footer Gallery     Enables you to edit or remove a footer. Also enables you to select a footer's contents and save the selection to the Footer gallery so you can use the footer in other documents.
  • Page Number Gallery     Inserts a page number field, such as {PAGE}. You can use this option to add a page number to the top of the page, bottom of the page, in the page's margins, or at the current position. This button also includes the Remove Page Numbers option and the Format Page Numbers option, which opens the Page Number Format dialog box and enables you to apply number formatting such add chapter numbers, continue numbering from prior pages, or start numbering at a specified page number.

 Note    The Header, Footer, and Page Number galleries are comprised of built-in Building Blocks or those downloaded from Microsoft Office Online. You can also add your own custom Building Blocks to the galleries. If you discover that your galleries are empty, you may need to either enable the Building Blocks.dotx template or recreate it.

  • Date & Time     Opens the Date And Time dialog box, which enables you to insert the current date and time or update the information automatically, insert date fields such as {DATE \@ “M/d/yyyy”}, and insert time fields such as {TIME \@ “h:mm”ss am/pm”}.
  • Picture     Opens the Insert Picture dialog box and displays the images in your Pictures folder by default.
  • Clip Art     Opens and closes the Clip Art task pane and enables you to search and insert clip art items into your header or footer.
  • Go To Header     Jumps to the header section if you are working in the footer section, thereby enabling you to jump quickly from the footer to the header.
  • Go To Footer     Jumps to the footer section if you are working in the header section, thereby enabling you to jump quickly from the header to the footer.
  • Previous Section     Displays the header or footer used in the previous section based on the current location of your cursor. If you click Previous Section while in the footer area, the cursor jumps to the footer area in the preceding section of your document. Note that you must have section breaks, different first page, or different odd and even headers and footers in your document to use this feature.
  • Next Section     Displays the header or footer used in the next section based on the current location of your cursor. If you click Next Section while in the header area, the cursor jumps to the header area in the next section of your document. Note that you must have section breaks, different first page, or different odd and even headers and footers in your document to use this feature.
  • Link To Previous     Links the headers and footers in the current section to the preceding section, thus enabling you to create a continuous flow from section to section. You can also click in the header or footer area and click Ctrl+Shift+R to link the header or footer area to the preceding section. Note that you must have additional sections in your document to use this feature.
  • Different First Page     Specifies that you want to format the first page's headers and footers differently. For example, you might prefer to omit the page number on a cover page. This option is also available in the Page Setup dialog box.
  • Different Odd & Even Pages     Enables you to format headers and footers separately for odd and even pages. For example, you might choose to have the left page headers display the book's title while the right page headers display the chapter title. This option is also available in the Page Setup dialog box.
  • Show Document Text     Toggles the display of the document's contents. You can hide document text to simplify your view as you create and edit headers and footers.
  • Header From Top     Enables you to control where the header is positioned from the top edge of the page. This option is also available in the Page Setup dialog box.
  • Footer From Bottom     Enables you to control where the footer is positioned from the bottom edge of the page. This option is also available in the Page Setup dialog box.
  • Insert Alignment Tab     Opens the Alignment Tab dialog box to insert a tab relative to the margin or indent. See the following section for more information on this new feature.
  • Close Header And Footer     Closes the header and footer areas as well as the Header & Footer Tools.

 Tip   To manually add or edit a document's header and footer, right-click the header or footer area and select Edit Header or Edit Footer, respectively.

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Alignment tabs: the ‘relative' scoop

When aligning content in the header or footer on the same line, such as a left-aligned company name and right-aligned date, a common method used for mixed alignment is manual tabs. The problem with using manual tabs is that, if the left or right margins change, the alignment of the content will not change and the manual tabs need to be adjusted. More often than not, adjusting the tabs is often overlooked, and the header or footer content does not line up with the rest of the document.

The answer to this problem is the new Alignment Tab functionality. An Alignment Tab aligns data relative to the margin or indent, whereas a manual tab is set in a fixed position and does not automatically change position if the margins change. To view the Alignment Tab settings, right-click a header or footer in the document and click Edit Header or Edit Footer, respectively, to view the Header & Footer Tools. On the Design tab, click Insert Alignment Tab to open the Alignment Tab dialog box, as shown in the following image.

Alignment Tab dialog box

There is a small caveat to using an Alignment Tab—there is no visual indication that an Alignment Tab is present, such as the manual tab indicators that you see in the Ruler. When using an Alignment Tab to align data in the header or footer, it's recommended that any unused manual tabs be removed from the Ruler to help clarify the formatting. To remove a manual tab, simply drag it off of the Ruler.

The Alignment Tab dialog box is only accessible when viewing the Header & Footer Tools, but they can be utilized anywhere in your document by adding Insert Alignment Tab to your Quick Access Toolbar. To do so, right-click Insert Alignment Tab and then click Add To Quick Access Toolbar.

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Applies to:
Word 2007