Add Preset or Custom Headers and Footers to Excel Worksheets

This is a picture of several spreadsheets laying over one another

 Getty Images/Vasko

In Excel, headers and footers are lines of text that print at the top (header) and bottom (footer) of each page in a worksheet. Headers and footers contain descriptive text such as titles, dates, or page numbers. Since they are not visible in the normal worksheet view, headers and footers are added to a worksheet when it is printed.

Instructions in this article apply to Excel 2019, 2016, and 2013.

Options For Working with Headers and Footers

Excel comes equipped with a number of preset headers, such as page numbers or the workbook name, that are easy to add. Or you can create custom headers and footers that include text, graphics, and other spreadsheet data.

Screenshot of Excel showing header functionality.

Although true watermarks cannot be created in Excel, "pseudo" watermarks can be added to a worksheet by adding images to custom headers or footers.

Header and Footer Locations

A header or footer can contain up to three pieces of information. This information can appear in three locations on the page. For headers, the locations are the top left corner, the top center, and the top right corner of the page. For footers, the locations are the bottom left corner, the bottom center, and the bottom right corner of the page.

Preset Headers and Footers

Most of the preset headers and footers available in Excel enter codes, such as &[Page] or &[Date], to enter the desired information. These codes make the headers and footers dynamic. This means that they change as required, whereas custom headers and footers are static.

For example, the &[Page] code shows different page numbers on each page. If entered manually using the custom option, every page has the same page number.

Screenshot of Excel showing Page Layout button.

Adding a Custom Header or Footer in Page Layout

To add a custom header or header in Page layout view:

  1. Select View.

  2. Select Page Layout to change to Page layout view.

  3. Choose one of the three boxes at the top or bottom of the page to add a header or footer.

  4. Type the header or footer information into the selected box.

Adding a Preset Header or Footer in Page Layout

To add one of the preset headers or headers in Page layout view:

  1. Select View.

  2. Select Page Layout to change to Page layout view.

  3. Choose one of the three boxes located at the top or bottom of the page to add header or footer information. Notice that a new tab, labeled Design, appears.

  4. On the Design tab, select a preset option. Choose from options such as Page Number, Current Date, or File Name.

Returning to Normal View From Page Layout View

Once you've added the header or footer, Excel leaves you in Page Layout view. While it is possible to work in this view, you may want to return to Normal view. To do so:

  1. Select any cell in the worksheet to leave the header/footer area.

  2. Select View.

  3. Select Normal view.

Adding Preset Headers and Footers in the Page Setup Dialog Box

To have more control over the look of headers and footers, use the Page Setup dialog box. Here's how:

  1. Select Page Layout.

  2. Select the Page Setup launcher to open the Page Setup dialog box.

  3. In the dialog box, select the Header/Footer tab.

  4. Select your preset header from either the Header or Footer drop-down list.

  5. Select OK to close the dialog box.

    Screenshot of Excel showing the Page Setup dialog.
    Use the Page Setup dialog box to set your headers and footers.

Custom headers and footers can also be added in the dialog box by selecting Custom Header or Custom Footer.

Removing Headers or Footers

To remove headers and footers from multiple worksheets all at once:

  1. Select the worksheets.

  2. Select Page Layout.

  3. Select the Page Setup launcher to open the Page Setup dialog box.

  4. In the dialog box, select the Header/Footer tab.

  5. Select (none) in both the preset header and footer drop-downs.

  6. Select OK to close the dialog box.

  7. All header or footer content is removed from the selected worksheets.