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: Protecting Headers and Footers.

Protecting Headers and Footers

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated July 22, 2017)

There may be times when you want to place information in a header or footer and have that information protected so a user cannot change it. For instance, you might want to ensure exact placement of text, a specific text treatment (font, size, etc.), or the inclusion of a graphic.

There are several ways to go about protecting this information. If you like macros, you could develop macros that place the information in the header or footer just before printing. This means, of course, that your macros effectively replace the existing printer-related commands used by Word. Such an approach could be a Pandora's Box, with changing one command leading necessarily to the change of another.

Perhaps the simplest answer is to place the header and footer in its own section and protect that section from changes. You can do that by following these general steps:

  1. Set up your header and/or footer as desired.
  2. Insert a Continuous break on the first line of the document.
  3. Create the remainder of your document as desired.
  4. Protect the document as a form, making sure that the first section (the part before your Continuous break) is the only section that is protected.
  5. Save your document.

When you save your document, you can save it either as a regular document or as a template. Your header and footer information is now protected from unauthorized changes. The rest of the document can readily be changed.

When you protect a document in this manner, Word disables some tools so they cannot be used. You will need to test this solution in your environment to ensure that the lack of functionality is an acceptable trade-off to the protection offered to your header and footer.

There is one caveat to this: if your goal in doing the protection was to keep someone from accessing a graphic, rest assured that if someone can display the graphic on the screen, they can get it. That means that they can do a Print Preview operation, copy the screen to the Clipboard, and then use their favorite graphics editing program to extract the graphic. Unfortunately, there is no way around this, short of rewriting a couple of Word commands as mentioned earlier in this tip.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (11567) 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: Protecting Headers and Footers.

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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