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: Repeating Column Information on Each Page.

Repeating Column Information on Each Page

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated July 31, 2017)

Katie has a Word document that is basically a giant table. The first column is a step number. The second column is information or user directions. If Katie has a step that is very long, spanning several pages, she wants the step number from the first column to show up on each page so she always knows what step number she's on.

There is no way to do this in Word. The reason is that if a row spans multiple pages, there is no way to "start over" the contents of a column on subsequent pages while letting the other columns continue in a normal fashion. (You can repeat entire rows at the top of each page, but not repeat only selected columns in a row.) The workaround is to make sure that rows don't span pages, instead always starting at the top of each new page. That way you could manually type the information to be repeated into the first column on those subsequent pages. This, of course, is rather tedious and prone to problems if your pagination changes due to edits or layout modifications.

There is a larger problem to be aware of, however. If you use Word's table feature to organize your data in the manner described, you run the risk of your documents being more subject to corruption than if you organize your data differently. I've known people who have created documents that consist of tables spanning hundreds of pages. (Not a single row, mind you, but a table with many, many rows.) Invariably those documents are headed for problems because Word doesn't do a great job on keeping such long tables stable.

It is a better solution to look at use multiple smaller tables or, better yet, to create documents that use tables very sparingly. This may require a rethinking of how your data is laid out on the page, but the benefit of not ending up with corrupted documents is well worth the time.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (12154) applies to Microsoft Word 2007 and 2010. You can find a version of this tip for the older menu interface of Word here: Repeating Column Information on Each Page.

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

Changing Subdocument Status

Creating a system of master documents and subdocuments can help with your productivity. What if you need to change ...

Discover More

Changing Outline Heading Level

Working with a document's outline can be a great way to organize your writing. Word provides a variety of tools for ...

Discover More

Default Formatting for PivotTables

Wish there was a way to define how you want PivotTables formatted before you actually create the PivotTable? You may be ...

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)

How to Stop a Table Row from Splitting Over Two Pages

Do you want your table rows to be split between pages? Word allows you to format the table so that rows stay together and ...

Discover More

Deleting Cells

You can modify the structure of a table by deleting cells. This tip shows just how easy it is to delete one (or more) ...

Discover More

Repeating Rows for a Table Footer

Word allows you to specify rows that should be repeated at the top of a table when that table extends beyond the bottom ...

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 two more than 9?

There are currently no comments for this tip. (Be the first to leave your comment—just use the simple form above!)


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.