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Headers And Footers

Take a look at any page; be it a book, magazine or newspaper and you will see that all the way around the edge of the page is a gap of half and inch or an inch. The ones on the left and right are known as the left and right margins respectively, but those at the top and bottom are different. These are known as headers and footers. The header, as you can imagine, is at the top of the page and the footer is at the bottom.

When creating a professional document these two areas are very important. They are important because you can actually insert text into them. The text can be something as simple as a strap line, chapter number or page number. You can even choose exactly where you intend to place these items. For example, you could put your strap line or chapter number in the header and page number in the footer. Adding headers and footers gives clarity to your documents and gives them that all important professional look.

Checking your options

The header and footer options are accessed via the View button on the main Microsoft Word toolbar. First click View then, from the drop down menu, click Header and Footer.

On clicking the Header and Footer option you will notice that a toolbar appears and the header and footer area on each page is bordered by a dotted line. (See Fig 1).

header area and toolbar

Fig 1 Header area and Toolbar

Your number’s up

Adding page numbers to the header is one click away. From the Header and Footer toolbar (See Fig 2) click the first button to the right of the Insert Auto text button. This will then place the page number in the left hand corner of the header region. Alternatively you could simply press the Insert Auto text button and select the PAGE option. Choosing this option, however, places the page number central to the header. Should you not want the page number on the left of the page simply place the cursor in front of the page number and then, from the main Microsoft Word toolbar click on the Centre or Right align button. The page number will then align according to your instructions.

header and footer toolbar

Fig 2: Header and Footer Toolbar

The header and footer toolbar contains numerous options to enable you to create a really professionally looking document. As well as inserting a single page number by clicking the relevant button you can also insert the number of pages in the document and format the way the page numbers will appear, i.e., 1,2,3; a,b,c; or i, ii, iii.

Ahead of the game

If you place your cursor inside the dotted area of the header you will find that you will be able to also type in text. The same applies to the footer area too. If you are planning on using the page numbering facility outlined above, it is best if you insert and align the page number first before entering text into the header/footer zone.

So to begin we will type ‘Header and Footer Tutorial’ into the header area of the page. The result should look like Fig 3 below. If you take a look at every page in your document you will now see that the header you have just typed appears on each and every page.

text added to header area

Fig 3: Text added to the Header area

By selecting the header text you can format it using the normal word font types and sizes and embellish it using the Bold, Underline, and Italic options on the main Microsoft Word toolbar. Should the document need to contain a date and time stamp you can add this from the Insert Date and Insert Time buttons on the header and footer toolbar. Just like text in a normal document you can also select whether the text is left aligned, right aligned or aligned centrally.

Auto Text

By clicking the Insert Auto Text button (see Fig 4) you can add extra information to the header and/or footer regions. These include:

  insert autotext menu

Fig 4: Insert Auto Text menu

In Fig 5, below, you can see that the author, page and date option from the Insert Auto Text menu has been chosen.

author page and date

Fig 5: Author, Page and Date added to header

Odds on favourite

Depending upon the document in question it may be necessary to create different header and footer for odd and even pages. This is easily accomplished by clicking the Page Setup button on the header and footer toolbar. Once the Page Setup window opens, click the Layout tab. In the section marked Headers and Footers you will see two options.

  1. Different odd and even.
  2. Different first page.

Left click your mouse in the relevant option box to perform the task you want to do.

page setup window

Fig 6: Page Setup Window

The first page of any professional document usually does not contain either a header/footer or page number. By selecting the Different first page option from the Page Set up window you can delete the header/footer and page number text. When your document is printed the first page will have no header/footer text or page number while the following pages will contain both header/footer text and page numbers.

Give it a try and make all your documents look both professional and impressive!