Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Word versions: 2007, 2010, 2013, and 2016. If you are using an earlier version (Word 2003 or earlier), this tip may not work for you. For a version of this tip written specifically for earlier versions of Word, click here: Heading Changes for Multi-page Tables.

Heading Changes for Multi-page Tables

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated December 12, 2015)

5

Craig has numerous tables in a document that extend over two or more pages. Word allows for repeating rows to act as headers, but Craig would like the headers which appear on pages after the first page to have the word "Continued" or some other indication in the table name. For example, the first row has the table name "Table 3: Site Locations Sampled" and the second row would have the column titles. When the table is split between pages, Craig would like it to say "Table 3 continued: Site Locations Sampled" or something similar.

There is no way to do this easily in Word. The reason is that Word views repeating table heads as "static" and beyond change. Even if you try to add a conditional field in the heading (one that compares the current page number to the first page and then changes results accordingly), Word basically ignores the field. Why? Because repeating table headings appear to completely ignore pagination in a document.

One workaround is to "fudge" your headings in the following manner:

  1. Create the text of your heading, making sure to include the word "continued" at the end of the heading. For instance, "Table 3: Site Locations Sampled (continued)."
  2. Add a textbox or rectangle to the document, making sure that the object is anchored to the paragraph immediately before the table. (Don't anchor it to the table itself.) Be sure to lock the anchor in place.
  3. Make sure the textbox or rectangle is opaque and filled with a color that matches whatever background you may have in your heading row. Also make sure that there are no borders on the object.
  4. Drag the textbox or rectangle so that it covers the word (continued) in the heading. The word should not be visible, and the textbox or rectangle should blend into the background of the heading. (You may need to adjust the size of the textbox or rectangle so that it covers only the word itself without extending outside the heading area.)
  5. Work with your table as normal.

As your table grows, the heading will appear on the secondary pages, including the "continued" notation. It doesn't appear on the first page because it is obscured by the textbox or rectangle. The textbox or rectangle doesn't appear on secondary pages because it is anchored to the paragraph just before the table, not to the heading.

This workaround works properly only if you have the "continued" wording at the end of the heading. If you have it in the middle of the heading (as in "Table 3 continued: Site Locations Sampled"), then covering the word "continued" would leave a gap on the first page's table heading—probably something you don't want.

In like manner, if your table heading is centered or right justified, rather than left justified, this tip will create an unbalanced or unjustified header. Any centered text will appear off center in the first instance and a gap will be left in a right-justified header. You can avoid this by having "continued" placed on the line below.

If you plan on populating a list of tables with the headers, you'll need to use the same textbox method to cover the table name in that list, otherwise "continued" will show up in the list, which you probably wouldn't want. You can also try using different styles to avoid this, as well.

Another option that will work—particularly if your document largely consists of only the table—is to put the table heading into the actual page header, and make sure that there is no page header for the first page. This may take some experimenting to make sure that the page heading and the table columns line up properly and that there are no gaps, but it could work if your table heading needs are not terribly complex.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (10474) applies to Microsoft Word 2007, 2010, 2013, and 2016. You can find a version of this tip for the older menu interface of Word here: Heading Changes for Multi-page Tables.

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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Comments

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What is 5 + 0?

2017-06-13 08:55:09

SE

Just tried this tip for different table header on page one, and it works. Too bad it is necessary, but it's not so difficult to do. Thanks for solving this issue.


2016-07-20 21:39:47

Colin

Used the first option. I'd tried masking but found, as you've acknowledged, whatever is part of the table's heading, is carried through to the repeats. The key is to lock the masking box's anchor to the preceding para. Great tip, thanks a lot


2015-12-16 13:27:56

Deb Fournier

You could split the table after the first page and add new Title and Headings rows. You could then add "continued" to the title on the second page.


2015-12-12 08:25:57

Lee Batchelor

There's no Edit button for these comments, so I must add a new comment.

Apparently, I'm in error :(. According to the MS Manual of Style Fourth Edition, page 173:
"Try to keep a table from breaking across pages, especially from a recto to a verso page. If breaking is unavoidable, leave the title (if applicable) and at least two rows of the table at the top or bottom of a page . At the top of the next page, repeat the table title, followed by
(continued) enclosed in parentheses and in lowercase letters and italic formatting. Repeat the column headings also . If an item is footnoted, the footnote goes at the end of the table . Try to keep a table’s introductory sentence with the table."

I wonder how MS expects Word users to follow this style :) ??!!

That means my method is wrong. Sorry about that folks. Allen, perhaps you can delete it. Thanks.


2015-12-12 08:17:59

Lee Batchelor

Good idea. There is another way.

According to the Microsoft Manual of Style, when a table must be spread across several pages the word, “continued” is inserted in the last row of a table. It is in brackets, lower case, and in italic font. You don’t alter the heading.

To insert the word, “continued”
1 - Using the Insert Below command button, insert an empty row in the last row on the page.
2 - In the bottom right cell, type the word “continued” using the style mentioned earlier.
3 - Delete all cell borders, except the Top one.

One possible issue: the bottom of the table may vary slightly in its termination point, but I’ve never had any issues with that. You must also make sure to click, “Don’t allow rows to break across pages.”

Hope that helps :)

- Lee


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