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

Written by Allen Wyatt (last updated May 14, 2024)
This tip applies to Word 2007 and 2010


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. ...


Using the Insert Key to Insert Text

The Insert key can be used for different purposes, depending on how you configure the program. This tip explains those ...

Discover More

Using a Single-Column Heading in a Multi-Column Layout

Want different numbers of columns all on the same page? Word makes it easy to use, for instance, a heading that uses a ...

Discover More

Formatting the Border of a Legend

When you create a chart, Excel often includes a legend with the chart. You can format several attributes of the legend's ...

Discover More

The First and Last Word on Word! Bestselling For Dummies author Dan Gookin puts his usual fun and friendly candor back to work to show you how to navigate Word 2013. Spend more time working and less time trying to figure it all out! Check out Word 2013 For Dummies today!

More WordTips (ribbon)

Changing Column Width

Do you use columns in your document layout? You may want to modify the widths of various columns, and Word makes the ...

Discover More

Copying Rows and Columns with the Mouse

Word allows you to do quite a few editing tasks using the mouse. If you want to copy rows or columns in a table, you can ...

Discover More

Quickly Inserting Table Rows

Need to pop a few extra rows into a table? It is easy to do using the same tools you used to create the table in the ...

Discover More

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

View most recent newsletter.


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}] (all 7 characters, in the sequence shown) 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 one more than 0?

2021-11-22 17:08:40

Jim Marek

Allen, I too wanted this to work, so after a day or so of experimenting, I came up with a partial solution. There are constraints, as you pointed out in the article, the biggest one being that this will only work in the first full row that overflows the page. (I always disable allowing a row to break over a page.)
What I did:
1. Assign a unique style to the step numbers. I created a style called "Step".
2. Create a bookmark so that the current step can be assigned to it. I created "sn".
3. In the cell containing a new step number, insert the the following as field codes:
{ SET sn { STYLEREF "Step" \I } } { SEQ pg \h \r 0 }
The SET field code changes the bookmark "sn" to refer to the new step so it can be used in a PAGEREF field code.
The SEQ field code sets the relative page number of the new step to 0 so it can be used to detect new pages.
4. In all of the subsequent cells in the Step number column, I pasted this field code sequence:
{ IF { PAGE }>{ = { PAGEREF sn } + { SEQ pg \c } "{ REF sn } continued" }
{ SEQ pg \h \r { IF { PAGE }>{ PAGEREF sn } } 1 0 } }
The first line compares the current page number with the starting page of the step plus the relative page number and enters the text of the "sn" bookmark followed by "continued" if this is a new page.
The second line sets the relative page number to 1 if this is a new page. (I stopped short of a solution for a step overflowing multiple pages.)
5. I did most of the setup with Word displaying the field codes (Alt + F9). To update the table, I selected it and did an update (F9).

I suspect this solution may be fragile. I also suspect that you can improve on it and I hope you do! For example, I'm not sure whether the "\I" in the STYLEREF in step 3 is correct. Thanks for your solutions over the years.

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.


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.