Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Word versions: 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, Word in Microsoft 365, and 2021. 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: Preventing the Left Margin of a Footer from Moving.

Preventing the Left Margin of a Footer from Moving

Written by Allen Wyatt (last updated September 9, 2023)
This tip applies to Word 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, Word in Microsoft 365, and 2021


In Judi's law office, all documents must have a footer identifying the file name and location. She has modified the Normal template to include this field, and it is set at the left margin of the page. However, when the user modifies the document part way through and changes the left-hand margin (for an indented portion of the document, for example), the footer moves with the margin. Judi wonders how she can prevent this from happening.

There are a couple of ways you can approach this problem. First, your users need to understand the difference between margins and indents. From the description, it sounds like the user is inserting section breaks around the portion they want indented and then adjusting the page margin to implement the indent. In this instance, the left margin of the footer moves to match what Word perceives as the new page margin.

The correct way to do this—so that the left margin of the footer is not affected—is to simply indent the paragraphs. In the main body of the text, select the paragraphs to be indented and then adjust the left indent setting for them. (An even easier way to do this is to define styles for your commonly indented paragraphs and then just apply the styles as necessary.) The position of the footer won't move at all, even though the paragraphs are now indented.

Another approach is to change how you are creating your footer. All you need to do is to insert a text box within the footer area and place your field code within it. You can adjust the width of the text box to meet your needs and you should format it as desired. (For instance, you'll probably want to make sure there is no border on the text box.) You can position the text box, using techniques described in other issues of WordTips, so that the positioning is calculated from the left edge of the page rather than from the page margin. In this way, no matter how your page margin may change, the text box remains unmovable.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (12094) applies to Microsoft Word 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, Word in Microsoft 365, and 2021. You can find a version of this tip for the older menu interface of Word here: Preventing the Left Margin of a Footer from Moving.

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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