Applying Standard Headers and Footers to a Document

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated December 27, 2021)


Aaron often receives documents from others in which he needs to standardize the appearance of the document. He can attach a template, which allows him to apply styles to the text in the document. What he really needs, though, is a way to attach standard headers and footers to the document. He's defined those in his template, but attaching the template doesn't add the headers and footers. He wonders if there is an easy way to add standard headers and footers to these documents.

When you attach a template to an existing document, what you are essentially doing is providing the document access to the set of styles and macros stored in the template. The only way for the document to acquire the page- or section-level characteristics of the template is to create a document based on that template. This is why many people choose to follow this general sequence:

  1. Create a brand new document based on the template. (This is the target document.)
  2. Open the document received from others; the one you want to standardize. (This is the source document.)
  3. Copy the text from the source document and paste it in the target document.

If you cannot, for some reason, go this route, the next best thing is to create a set of Building Blocks that define the text you want in your header and footer. You can then save time by using the Building Blocks to add the headers and footers into any document you wish—including the one you want to standardize.

Finally, if you wanted to, you could create a macro to add in the desired headers and footers. The macro doesn't have to be fancy; here's one that simply adds standardized header and footer text to each section in the document:

Sub MyHeadersAndFooters()
    Dim i As Long

    For i = 1 To ActiveDocument.Sections.Count
        With ActiveDocument.Sections(i)
            .Headers(wdHeaderFooterPrimary).Range.Text = "Header Text Here"
            .Footers(wdHeaderFooterPrimary).Range.Text = "Footer Text Here"
        End With
    Next i
End Sub

In order to use the macro, simply replace "Header Text Here" and "Footer Text Here" with your desired header and footer text. This macro is only a starting point, as it doesn't apply any special styles or include any fields (such as page numbers) that you may need.


If you would like to know how to use the macros described on this page (or on any other page on the WordTips sites), I've prepared a special page that includes helpful information. Click here to open that special page in a new browser tab.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (2728) applies to Microsoft Word 2007, 2010, 2013, and 2016.

Author Bio

Allen Wyatt

With more than 50 non-fiction books and numerous magazine articles to his credit, Allen Wyatt is an internationally recognized author. He is president of Sharon Parq Associates, a computer and publishing services company. ...


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What is four less than 7?

2016-05-31 09:58:20

Nick London


Thanks that is brilliant as I have a few standard headings.

2016-05-29 11:34:04

Murray Rosen

Modify steps
1a. place empty para marks in target.
1b. Set insert point before the last empty para mark.

3a. Select all but the last empty paragraph marker to copy.
3b. Paste/copy according to 1b
Not following these steps can result in unwanted h/f and styles that override those waiting in the target.

2016-05-28 06:01:06

Simon Jones

Building Blocks are definitely the way to do this.

Select the Header text then click Insert | Header & Footer | Header | Save Selection to Header Gallery…

Name your header, give it a description, select which template to save it in. Click OK.
(If you save the header to “Building Blocks.dotx” it will always be available. If you save it to your current template it is only available in a document tied to that template.)

Now the header design you’ve created will appear on the Headers Gallery for you to choose next time you need it.

Repeat for the Footer.

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