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)

4

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. ...

MORE FROM ALLEN

Using WordArt in Excel

The WordArt program has been available in Office for a long, long time. It allows you to (dare I say it) create art from ...

Discover More

Excel 2010 Serious Sorting (Table of Contents)

Sorting data means that you organize it in whatever order you desire. Excel's sorting feature can be used in a variety of ...

Discover More

Changing Text Case Many Times

Word provides a built-in shortcut to change the case of a text selection. Understanding how that shortcut works (and the ...

Discover More

Comprehensive VBA Guide Visual Basic for Applications (VBA) is the language used for writing macros in all Office programs. This complete guide shows both professionals and novices how to master VBA in order to customize the entire Office suite for their needs. Check out Mastering VBA for Office 2010 today!

More WordTips (ribbon)

Multiple Footers on a Page

Trying to figure out how you want Word to handle footers in your document can be a challenge, primarily because Word ...

Discover More

Pulling Headers and Footers from Other Files

You may have some standard headers and footers you want to make available in your document templates. This tip describes ...

Discover More

Including a Printer's Name in a Footer

If you can produce output on a number of different printers, you may want Word to indicate on your printouts which ...

Discover More
Subscribe

FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in WordTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

View most recent newsletter.

Comments

If you would like to add an image to your comment (not an avatar, but an image to help in making the point of your comment), include the characters [{fig}] in your comment text. You’ll be prompted to upload your image when you submit the comment. Maximum image size is 6Mpixels. Images larger than 600px wide or 1000px tall will be reduced. Up to three images may be included in a comment. All images are subject to review. Commenting privileges may be curtailed if inappropriate images are posted.

What is five less than 6?

2018-05-30 04:47:20

Liam Potter

For someone who only uses word for simple document editing and was asked to provide an uneditted letterhead, this really didn't go into enough detail. No idea what a continuous break is, no idea how to protect the document as a form, or even what that means really.

A little more detail would be massively appreciated.


2018-02-27 16:06:14

Martin

This is good and works well. However, the option to 'Remove Header and footer' still exists on the Insert section of the ribbon and seems to work. Is there a way to turn this off (without macros as people don't like these understandably)?


2017-10-25 15:39:16

James

Appears you can't make changes but you can still delete them.


2017-10-17 00:58:14

Gareth

Hi Allen,

Brilliant Tip thank you!

Also useful for Creating "Document templates " with" Watermark Style" graphics that are positioned in the Header covering the whole page, then locked off using the continuous break method / protected Form method that you outlined.

Watermark doesn't work nearly as well, as it is affected by page margins, and can be changed by users.

Kind Regards
Gareth


This Site

Got a version of Word that uses the ribbon interface (Word 2007 or later)? This site is for you! If you use an earlier version of Word, visit our WordTips site focusing on the menu interface.

Newest Tips
Subscribe

FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in WordTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

(Your e-mail address is not shared with anyone, ever.)

View the most recent newsletter.