Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Word versions: 2007 and 2010. 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: Creating Sideheads.

Creating Sideheads

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated May 6, 2015)


Sideheads are document headings that are placed in the margins of your document. This can be done as part of an overall layout design to create a certain image for your information. You can create sideheads in Word using a text box. Follow these general steps to create your sidehead:

  1. Switch to Print Layout view (if you are not already in that viewing mode).
  2. Display the page on which you want to place the sidehead.
  3. Since sideheads (by definition) are printed in the margin, make sure you have a large margin defined.
  4. Add a text box to contain the sidehead text. Make sure the text box resides completely between the edge of the paper and the text margin.

Your sidehead has been placed, and you can type text in the newly placed text box. (Make sure you format the text box itself to reflect your design preferences.)

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (11395) applies to Microsoft Word 2007 and 2010. You can find a version of this tip for the older menu interface of Word here: Creating Sideheads.

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 4?

2015-05-06 13:03:21

John McMullen

On my version of Word (Word 2010, Windows), you can make the creation and placement of a text box automatic as part of the heading style.

The settings to get what you want are not intuitive, however. (I can never remember them.)

For page layout, we'll say it's 2 inch margins. We want the third level heading (style Heading 3 in this example) to be a side head, in a text box 0.9 inches wide and 0.1 inch from the margin of the page.

Open the Heading 3 style to modify it (as an example, I'd probably open the drop-down menu in the Style box and select <b>Modify</b>).

In the lower left, select the <b>Format</b> button and choose <b>Frame</b>.

I leave the text wrapping as <b>None</b>.

Under Size, select a <b>Width</b> of <b>Exactly</b> and <b>0.9"</b> for <b>At</b> beside it.

Leave <b>Height</b> can stay as <b>Auto</b>; we want the text box to get larger if it's a long heading.

Under Horizontal, set the <b>Position</b> to <b>1"</b> and the <b>Relative to</b> value to <b>Page</b>.

For the space between the text margin and the heading text box, set the <b>Distance from text</b> to <b>0.1"</b>.

Under Vertical, you want <b>Position</b> of 0" and a <b>Relative to</b> value of <b>Paragraph</b>. In that case, the <b>Distance from</b> the text is <b>0"</b>.

Click <b>OK</b>.

Under <b>Paragraph</b>, make sure there is no spacing after the paragraph style.

On my system, the default for Heading 3 is left justification. If you want it to be hard up against the margin so that the space between the heading text and the body text is always 0.1" (or whatever you set it to), you want the Heading 3 style to have an alignment of either Right or Justified.

Now the system will create text boxes for you whenever you assign Heading 3.

If you don't want text boxes, under <b>Modify Style > Frame</b>, click the <b>Remove Frame</b> button.

(I used a little HTML to make it clearer, but can't remember if that's allowed. I hope it turns out.

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