The header is a section of the document that appears in the top margin, while the footer is a section of the document that appears in the bottom margin. Headers and footers generally contain additional information such as page numbers, dates, an author’s name, and footnotes, which can help keep longer documents organized and make them easier to read. Text entered in the header or footer will appear on each page of the document.
Optional: Download our practice document.
To create a header or footer:
In our example, we want to display the author’s name at the top of each page, so we’ll place it in the header.
To insert a preset header or footer:
Word has a variety of preset headers and footers you can use to enhance your document’s design and layout. In our example, we’ll add a preset header to our document.
Editing headers and footers
Design tab options
When your document’s header and footer are unlocked, the Design tab will appear on the right side of the Ribbon, giving you various editing options:
To insert the date or time into a header or footer:
Sometimes it’s helpful to include the date or time in the header or footer. For example, you may want your document to show the date when it was created.
On the other hand, you may want to show the date when it was printed, which you can do by setting it to update automatically. This is useful if you frequently update and print a document because you’ll always be able to tell which version is the most recent.
The Date and Time dialog box will appear. Select the desired date or time format.
Check the box next to Update Automatically if you want the date to change every time you open the document. If you don’t want the date to change, leave this option unchecked.
Adding page numbers
Word can automatically label each page with a page number and place it in a header, footer, or side margin. When you need to number some pages differently, Word allows you to restart page numbering.
To add page numbers to a document:
In our example, we’ll add page numbering to our document’s footer.
To restart page numbering:
Word allows you to restart page numbering on any page of your document. You can do this by inserting a section break and then selecting the number you want to restart the numbering with. In our example, we’ll restart the page numbering for our document’s Works Cited section.
Place the insertion point at the top of the page you want to restart page numbering for. If there is text on the page, place the insertion point at the beginning of the text.
A section break will be added to the document.
To learn more about adding section breaks to your document, visit our lesson on Breaks.
Create a new Word document. If you want, you can use our practice document.
Create a blank header. If you’re using the example, unlock the header.
Add a name to the header. If you’re using the example, type the name Tom Shelby after Professor.
Try inserting a preset header or footer.
Add today’s date to the header. If you’re using the example, add today’s date below Professor Tom Shelby.
Try adding a page number to the footer. If you’re using the example, add a page number to the bottom of the page.
Try restarting the page numbering.