Word 2010 Advanced Headers and Footers

One page standing out

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Adding headers and footers to your Microsoft Word 2010 document places consistent text, numbering, and images at the top and the bottom of each page. The most common items displayed in a header or footer are page numbers, closely followed by document and chapter names. You only have to add a header or footer one time, and it cascades through your entire document. 

However, Word 2010 provides advanced header and footer options for lengthy or complicated documents. If you are working on a document with chapters, you may want to assign a section break to each chapter, so the chapter name can appear at the top of each page. Maybe you want the table of contents and index to use numbering such as i, ii, iii, and the rest of the document to be numbered 1, 2, 3 and so on. 

Creating advanced headers and footers is challenging until you understand the concept of Sections.

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Insert Section Breaks in Your Document

Insert a section break in Word 2010 screenshot

Lifewire / Rebecca Johnson

A section break tells Microsoft Word to treat a section of pages essentially as a separate document. Each section in a Microsoft Word 2010 document can have its own formatting, page layouts, columns, and headers and footers. 

You set up sections before you apply headers and footers. Insert a section break at the beginning of each location in the document where you are planning to apply unique header or footer information. The formatting you apply extends to each of the following pages until another section break is encountered. To set up a section break on the next page of a document, you navigate to the last page of the current section and:

  1. Select the Page Layout tab.
  2. Click the Breaks drop-down menu in the Page Setup section.
  3. Select Next Page in the Section Breaks section to insert a section break and start a new section on the next page. Now you can edit the header.
  4. Repeat these steps for the footer and then for each location in the document where the headers and footers need to change.

Section breaks don't show automatically in your document. To see them, click the Show/Hide button in the Paragraph section of the Home tab. 

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Adding Headers and Footers

Header workspace in Word 2010 screenshot

Lifewire / Rebecca Johnson

The easiest way to place a header or footer is to place your pointer in the top or bottom margin of the first section and double-click to open the Header and Footer workspace. Anything added to the workspace appears on every page of the section.

When you double-click in the upper or lower margin, you can type in the header or footer just like you would in your document. You can also format your text and insert an image, such as a logo. Double-click in the body of the document or click the Close Header and Footer button on the Design Tools tab of Header and Footer Tools to return to the document.

Adding a Heading or Footer From the Word Ribbon

You can also use the Microsoft Word ribbon to add a header or footer. The benefit of adding a header or footer using the ribbon is that the options are preformatted. Microsoft Word provides headers and footers with colored dividing lines, document title placeholders, date placeholders, page number placeholders, and other elements. Using one of these preformatted styles can save you time and add a touch of professionalism to your documents.

To Insert a Header or Footer

  1. Click the Insert tab.
  2. Click the drop-down arrow on the Header or Footer button in the Header and Footer section.
  3. Scroll through the available options. Select Blank for a blank header or footer or chose one of the built-in options.
  4. Click on the option that you prefer to insert it into your document. A Design tab appears on the ribbon and the header or footer appears in the document.
  5. Type your information into the header or footer.
  6. Click Close Header and Footer in the Design tab to lock the header.

Footnotes are handled differently from footers. See How to Insert Footnotes in Word 2010 for more information on footnotes.

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Unlinking Headers and Footers From Previous Sections

Unlink headers and footers from previous sections in Word 2010 screenshot

Lifewire / Rebecca Johnson

  1. Click in the header or footer.
  2. Click Link To Previous located on the Design Tools tab of Header and Footer Tools in the Header and Footer workspace, to turn off the link.
  3. Type a blank or a new section header or footer. You can do this for a single header or footer independently of all others.
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Format Page Numbers

Format page numbers in Word 2010 screenshot

Lifewire / Rebecca Johnson

Microsoft Word is flexible enough to allow you to format page numbers to almost any style you need.

  1. Click the Page Number drop-down menu on the Insert tab of the Header and Footer section.
  2. Click Format Page Numbers.
  3. Click the Number Format drop-down menu and select a number format.
  4. Click the Include Chapter Number check box if you formatted your document with Styles.
  5. To change the starting number, click the up or down arrow to select the appropriate page number. For example, if you have no page number on page one, page two will display the number 2. Select Continue from the previous section if applicable.​
  6. Click OK.
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Current Date and Time

Add the date and time to a header or footer by double-clicking on the header or footer to unlock it and display the Design tab. In the Design tab, select Date & Time. Choose a date format in the dialog box that appears and click Update automatically so the current date and time always display in the document.