How to Add Advanced Headers and Footers in Word

Create different sections to apply different document headers and footers

Microsoft Word provides advanced header and footer options for lengthy or complicated documents. Creating these is easy if you understand the concept of sections.

The following information and screenshots pertain to Microsoft Word for Mac 2019 (version 16.32), but the steps are similar in older versions (2018, 2016, and 2013) as well as in Word online.

Sections in Microsoft Word

Sections are parts of a document. Use sections to organize content into chapters, topics, or whatever other division helps your reader understand and use the document. Each section in a Word document can have its own formatting, page layouts, columns, headers, and footers.

Sections are created using section breaks. To use headers and footers, insert a section break at the beginning of each section for which you want to apply a unique header or footer. The formatting you set up extends to each page of the section until another section break is encountered.

To set up a section break:

  1. Navigate to the spot where you want to create the break and select Insert > Break. Alternatively, click Layout > Breaks.

    A screenshot of Word with the Break command under the Insert menu highlighted
  2. Select the type of break you want.

    • Section Break (Next Page): The section starts on a new page.
    • Section Break (Continuous): The section continues from the selected spot.
    • Section Break (Odd Page): Starts a new section on the next odd-numbered page.
    • Section Break (Even Page): Starts a new section on the next even-numbered page.
    A screenshot of Word with the Break types highlighted
  3. Section breaks aren't visible by default. To see section breaks, go to the Home tab and click the section symbol.

    A screenshot of Word with the Show Hidden button highlighted

After your document is divided into sections, you can apply headers and footers on a per-section basis.

Use headers and footers without inserting section breaks to use the same headers and footers throughout the document.

Add Headers and Footers

The easiest way to insert a header or footer is to place the mouse pointer in the top or bottom margin of a section and double-click to open the Header and Footer workspace. Anything you add to this workspace appears on every page of the section. To return to the body of your document, double-click anywhere in it.

Inserting header from ribbon

You can format the header and footer text, for example, with a different font or bold text, and insert an image, such as a logo.

Add 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 this method 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 time and add a touch of professionalism to your documents. Here's how:

  1. Click the Insert tab.

    A screenshot of Word with the Insert tab highlighted
  2. In the Header and Footer section, click the Header or Footer drop-down arrow.

    A screenshot of Word with the Header and Footer options highlighted
  3. Select the desired option.

    Blank creates a blank header or footer, into which you can insert whatever text or graphics you like.

    A screenshot of Word with the Header options highlighted
  4. The Header & Footer tab appears.

    A screenshot of Word with the Header and Footer ribbon highlighted
  5. Click Close Header and Footer to return to the main body of the document.

    A screenshot of Word with the Close Header and Footer button highlighted

Unlink Headers and Footers From Previous Sections

  1. Click anywhere in the header or footer.

  2. Go to the Header & Footer tab, then click Link To Previous to turn off the link.

    A screenshot of Word with the "Link to Previous" button highlighted
  3. Type a new header or footer for this section. Now unlinked, it functions independently of the previous ones.

Include Page Numbers, Dates, Times, or Other Info

Word offers many options for including information automatically. For example, to insert page numbers:

  1. Go to the Header & Footer tab, then click Insert > Page Number.

    A screenshot of Word with the Insert Page Number option highlighted
  2. Click Format Page Numbers and select the appropriate settings. For example, select the Include Chapter Number check box if you formatted your document with Styles. To change the starting number, click the up or down arrow. Then, click OK.

  3. To add the date or time, go to the Header & Footer tab and select Date & Time. Choose a date format in the dialog box that appears and click Update automatically so that the current date and time always display in the document.

    A screenshot of Word's "Insert Date and Time" window with the "Update Automatically" button highlighted

Footnotes are not the same as footers.