Deprecated: The PSR-0 `Requests_...` class names in the Request library are deprecated. Switch to the PSR-4 `WpOrg\Requests\...` class names at your earliest convenience. in /home/customer/www/ on line 24
Create Different Headers in Word

Create Different Headers in Word

When 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.

NOTE: I’ve never had Office 2013, so I can’t say if there are any differences for that version, but I now have Office 2016 and the process is exactly the same, so it’s a good bet that it is for 2013 as well. (If you have Word 2013 and there is any difference, please post a comment below and I’ll add that info here.)

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.

Section Break vs. Page Break

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 new header.

Instructions for Word 2007, 2010, 2013, and 2016

Put your cursor at the start of the text you want to start a new section.

On the Page Layout ribbon, click the down arrow beside the Breaks button. (In Word 2016, the ribbon is just called Layout. I don’t know which one it is in 2013.)

Select Section Breaks > Next Page.

Now the text is at the top of the next page.

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

NOTE: Some readers have reported that if they create a Header section using the Insert > Header command and choose anything other than the Blank option, the instructions don’t work. I’m not sure why this is as it works for me, but if you are still having problems after following these steps, try changing the Header format to Blank.

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 “Section 2 Header” in the header area.

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

This will close the header section and remove the toolbar. The new header appears at the top of the page.

Now, if you scroll back up to the first page, you can see that the header is still blank, because the two headers are no longer linked. You could also enter text into the header area and it wouldn’t change the header on the next page.

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

Note: The screenshots below show a document I used when I wrote the original post. I no longer have it and I no longer have Word 2003, so I can’t update the document. But the dialog boxes should look the same.

Put your cursor at the start of the text you want to start a new section.

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 text 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 display 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 at the top of the page.

Type “Section 2 Header” in the header area.

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

This will close the header section and remove the toolbar.

Now, if you scroll back up to the first page, you can see the header is still blank, 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.

You may also be interested in:

Save Text Snippets to Easily Reuse in Microsoft Word

Four Formatting Tips for Excel

Microsoft Products: News, Views, & How-Tos

Elizabeth Kricfalusi

View Comments

    • Hi Alexandre.

      I'm glad you've found the post helpful. Thanks for taking the time to let me know!

      - Elizabeth

  • Thank you very much for this article. I was able to tune up my reports with this advice. It works well as long as the header formatting is blank to begin with.

  • This seemed to work, then when I tried noting down exactly what I wanted to do (for later use) I couldn't get it to work. After some hours I realised that the reason was, because when I created the header I didn't use the simple "blank" option, but instead used the header style called "Alphabet". When I reverted to using the style called "Blank", it worked.

    • NeilTT - Thank you so much for your comment. I have been going crazy trying for about two weeks to get the multiple headers in single document to work but only after reading your comment did it work for me. All of the techies keep repeating the same thing. But it appears that you hit upon the solution - IT ONLY WORKS IF YOU USE THE BLANK HEADER FORMAT !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! So again, thank you NeilTT for finally shedding a light at the end of a very long and dark tunnel.

      • Yes thank you so much, the blank header comment have saved me after weeks of trying also!!

        • Yay! Thanks for taking the time to let me know. Have a great day! - Elizabeth

    • Thanks for sharing your experience, Neil. I'm sure others will benefit from that information as well!

      - Elizabeth

  • Great instructions. I do have a question for a project I'm working on at work. I'm working in this document as you described here with the headers situation, but doesn't that break the flow of the text from page to page? This is a document that will be updated regularly in the future so I want to make sure at least the text will be easy to edit. Is it one for the other here or can I have it both ways, which is to isolate each header, but have the text flow from one page to the next.

    • Hi Elle.

      It's hard to answer this without knowing what exactly you're trying to do, e.g. what you have in the headers. But in general, since you're using section breaks that start a new page, then you should be able to edit the text and have the flow continue to work properly. For example, if you add a lot more text to the first section, then you will have more pages in that section but they should all have the Section 1 header. Section 2's page number will change (if that's what's in your header" because it's been pushed later in the document, but that would be expected.

      But there might be situations where there's an issue, but I would need to know the specifics of what you're putting in the header to know if you need to do something different.

      I hope that makes sense!

      - Elizabeth

  • I have been using Word 2003 for since it came out and by accident deleted [really] my program. I am on Word 2007 and I am battling and suffering and am hysterical - I am totally "technology disadvantages" and have deadlines to meet. I cannot even find the the"same as previous' in headers. But before I pass away after having a heart attack, IS THERE ANYBODY THAT CAN TELL ME WHERE I CAN FIND WORD 2003?????????????????? Please, please help me. I have something called: UBitMenu04_UK on my 2007 program which simulates Word 2003 but still when it come to headers, not the same. Thank you.

    • Hi Rencey.

      I'm sorry, I don't know where you can find Word 2003. This page shows the exact steps in Word 2007 to change the headers so if you go through them step by step, you should be able to do what you want.

      - Elizabeth

  • 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

    • 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

Recent Posts

T4L Monthly Update: February 2019

CES 2019, FaceTime bug, streaming the Super Bowl, Wi-Fi calling for Android phones.

4 years ago

Top Tech Stocking Stuffers

Big-ticket electronics get all the attention, but these little extras are always appreciated.

5 years ago

Four Ways to Access Control Panel in Windows 10

Microsoft is doing its darndest to hide the classic Control Panel from Windows 10 users.…

5 years ago