Create Different Headers in Word

Microsoft Word: Header: Link to PreviousWhen I first wrote this blog post, Word 2003 was still the predominant version of the program, more commonly used than Word 2007. (And Word 2010 was just a gleam in some Microsoft programmer’s eye…) So I basically wrote the post for users of 2003 and then just posted a brief explanation where to find the same functions in 2007, which was the first version to use ribbons instead of dropdown menus. Over the years, this has been one of the most popular T4L posts but now that 2007 and 2010 are more widely used, I’ve decided to spell out the steps for those versions in full. You can still find the instructions for Word 2003 and earlier versions later in the post.

Both sets of instructions are for creating different sections in an MS-Word document so you can change the header for each section. For example, you might want to have different headers with each chapter name to help readers find the section they’re looking for more quickly.

Note: The same techniques work for creating separate footers, which you might want to do to start Page 1 after a Table of Contents, for example.

To illustrate the process, I’ve created a Word file from an earlier post: The INs of LinkedIn. You can download this file if you want to follow along with the steps yourself.

The document has three main topics in it: Invitations, Introductions, and InMails. Let’s say I want to start each of these topics on a new page and create a different header with the topic name for each, with no header at all on the first page.

You may already know that you can force a page break by placing your cursor in front of the text you want to start on the next page and pressing Ctrl + Enter on your keyboard. (And if you don’t know that, consider this a bonus tip!) :)

However, that won’t work for our purpose. We don’t want to just move the text to the next page; we want to start a new section so we can create a topic-specific header. We’ll start by creating one for Invitations.

Instructions for Word 2007 and 2010

Put your cursor at the start of the Invitations heading.

On the Page Layout ribbon, click the down arrow beside the Breaks button.

Select Section Breaks > Next Page.

Now the Invitations heading is at the top of the next page.

Move your cursor near the top of the page and double-click to display the Header and Footer areas.

The Header and Footer Tools Design ribbon has opened at the top of the page. You can see that the Link to Previous button is depressed, meaning the two sections will have the same header. (You can also see a Same to Previous tab on the bottom border of the header section.)

Click the Link to Previous button.

The Same as Previous tab is now gone from the header section.

Type “Invitations” in the header area.

Double-click in the main text area of the page.

This will close the header section and remove the toolbar.

Note: I tabbed twice to have the text align to the right of the header.

Now, if you scroll back up to the first page, you can see that it has no header text, because the two headers are no longer linked.

Simply repeat these steps for each new section and you can have as many different headers as you want.

Instructions for Word 2003 and Earlier Versions

Put your cursor at the start of the Invitations heading.

From the Insert menu, select Break.

In the dialog box that comes up, select the “Next page” radio button from the “Section break types” area.

Now the Invitations heading is at the top of the next page. You can tell it’s also the beginning of a new section by looking at the status line at the bottom left of the Word window.

From the View menu, click Header and Footer.

The header section of the page will be shown and the Header and Footer toolbar also appears.

You’ll notice, above the header box, it says “Same as previous.” This is the default option for when you create a header, and that’s what we need to change.

Click the Same as Previous button on the toolbar.

You can mouse over the buttons to see the names of them. You want to click it so it doesn’t look like it’s depressed.

The “Same as previous” text is now gone from the header box.

Type “Invitations” in the header area.

Double-click in the main text area of the page.

This will close the header section and remove the toolbar.

Note: I tabbed twice to have the text align to the right of the header.

Now, if you scroll back up to the first page, you can see that it has no header text, because the two headers are no longer linked.

Simply repeat these steps for each new section and you can have as many different headers as you want.

Last Updated: November 12, 2014

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Comments

  1. says

    This is a very good guide! However I find the real problem in Word is when you have different sections with different orientation of the paper. Lets say section 1 is portrait and section 2 is landscape, if you you use “same as previous” in this case, the header on the landscape section will be strange, because it will have a page with that doesn’t fit the landscape size. Then if you have a section 3 and going back to portrait orientation, you have a similar problem if you use “same as previous” from the landscape section.

    It all end up in the fact, that you need to update the header in all sections every time you change the document if you for example shows the document version in the header or footer.

    I think this is a huge gap in word, unless I don’t know the correct feature

    • Elizabeth Kricfalusi says

      Hi Michael.

      Thanks for the comment. I agree that is a problem with Word, but there are a couple of workarounds to make updating easier.

      1) If the text you want to update is static, you can do a Find and Replace on just the headers and footers. You have to start with the Find dialog that gives you a “Find In” dropdown with headers and footers as an option. Then you can go to the Replace tab to enter the text you want to replace it with.

      2) If the text you want to update is dynamically generated, e.g. you’re using a field to display the document version, you can go to Print Preview and then close it out and then the fields should update. It’s really strange that there’s no way to just Update All or Select All Headers but I can’t find anyway to do that without creating a macro.

      I hope that helps!

      – Elizabeth

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