MS Word: Headers & Footers Demystified – Part 1

MS Word: Headers & Footers Demystified – Part 1

(Yes, we accidentally ran part 2 of this Tues instead of today. Sorry about that, here’s part 1. If you want a review of part 2, click here)

So, now you know what they are, I’d bet that the next question you’re dying to ask is “How do I get to these wonderful little miracles?” (All right, I can hear the groans and moans from here. Maybe they’re not little miracles but they’re pretty useful little gadgets anyway.)

The way to access headers and footers is to go to the View menu, and choose Header and Footer from the list.

You will be put directly into the header box of a document on the page your cursor was located. A floating toolbar will pop up for your use. Whatever you insert into the header and footer area will become the header or footer for the whole document (unless you use some of the page setup options discussed below).


In the box you may insert text, date/time stamps, pictures, etc… Just about anything you put into a document can be put into the header or footer area. (The box will expand in size to accommodate your information. Keep in mind that the larger the header or footer, the smaller the document body becomes.)

Finished with the header? Ready to move on to the footer? Simply click on the Switch Between Header and Footer button and enter the information you want.


So there are the very basics. What about all the other stuff on the Header and Footer toolbar you ask? Well, let me tell you…

From the left, the first button is to Insert Auto Text. This is a pull-down menu of choices. Choosing something from the list will automatically insert the information suggested including dates, times and any author information the program may have. (It usually has information on the owner/author from the installation process.)

The second group contains buttons that are all related to inserting page numbers and the number of pages as well as formatting the page number. Simply put your mouse cursor over the button and let it sit for a second. The name of the button will pop-up. You’ll find that most buttons are self-explanatory. Should you accidentally insert something you don’t like, delete it or use the undo button, just like all editing in Word documents.

Next, you’ll find a set of two buttons that will Insert Date and/or Time.

Buttons for accessing a document’s Page Setup and Showing/Hiding Document Text are contained in the fourth section of the toolbar.

The Page Setup window will bring you straight to the tab that contains header and footer choices. Here you will find an option for having different headers and footers on odd and even pages as well as an option for having a different header on the first page.


Keep in mind that when you choose to have different headers and footers on odd and even pages you will need to go into the document and set them up on both an odd and an even page. If you choose to have a different header on the first page only you will need to set up the first page and then the other pages.

At the far right end, there are buttons for navigating through your headers and footers. The Show Next and Show Previous buttons will move you page by page through the document.

The Close button will close your headers and footers toolbar and place your cursor back in the body of the document. Now the headers and footers are set and can not be changed unless you specifically access the header/footer area again.

In the Normal view of the document, you will no longer see the headers and footers, but rest assured, they’re in the document and will print. To access them again simply go to the View menu, Header and Footer choice.

If you prefer the Page Layout view, then you will still see the headers and footers. You will find that they are written in a light gray in the appropriate places. You can access them again in one of two ways. First, you can head to the View menu, Header and Footer choice. The second option is to double-click in any header or footer. Double clicking will dim the body of the document, bring up the header and footer toolbar and allow you to edit.

That’s it—now you’re a pro at MS Word headers and footers. (OK, maybe not a pro just yet but with a little practice… Who knows?)

~ April

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