Turning Off "Link to Previous" by Default

Written by Allen Wyatt (last updated May 13, 2023)
This tip applies to Word 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, Word in Microsoft 365, and 2021

Vann creates documents all the time that use multiple sections. When adding headers or footers to these documents, the "Link to Previous" setting is always turned on. Van wonders if there is a way to turn the setting off, by default. He rarely, if ever, uses it, and changing it all the time is a bother; it is just one more thing he has to remember to check as he works with the document.

There is no way to specify a default for the Link to Previous setting within Word itself. You can, however, change how you add breaks into your document. If you do this via a macro, then the macro can easily turn off the Link to Previous setting for the new, added section. Here's a quick way to do it:

Sub AddBreak()
    Dim iSec As Integer

    Selection.InsertBreak Type:=wdSectionBreakNextPage

    iSec = Selection.Information(wdActiveEndSectionNumber)
    With ActiveDocument.Sections(iSec)
        .Headers(wdHeaderFooterPrimary).LinkToPrevious = False
        .Headers(wdHeaderFooterEvenPages).LinkToPrevious = False
        .Headers(wdHeaderFooterFirstPage).LinkToPrevious = False
        .Footers(wdHeaderFooterPrimary).LinkToPrevious = False
        .Footers(wdHeaderFooterEvenPages).LinkToPrevious = False
        .Footers(wdHeaderFooterFirstPage).LinkToPrevious = False
    End With
End Sub

The .InsertBreak method actually inserts the break. In this case, it is a Next Page break. You can specify different types of breaks by simply changing the wdSectionBreakNextPage enumeration to one of these other types of breaks:

  • wdSectionBreakContinuous
  • wdSectionBreakEvenPage
  • wdSectionBreakOddPage

The macro then sets iSec equal to the current section's index number. This is then used in the With structure to set the LinkToPrevious property for all three types of headers and all three types of footers.

If you prefer, you could change the LinkToPrevious property for all the headers and footers in all sections of your document at once:

Sub ChangeAll()
    Dim s As Section

    For Each s In ActiveDocument.Sections
        s.Headers(wdHeaderFooterEvenPages).LinkToPrevious = False
        s.Headers(wdHeaderFooterFirstPage).LinkToPrevious = False
        s.Headers(wdHeaderFooterPrimary).LinkToPrevious = False
        s.Footers(wdHeaderFooterEvenPages).LinkToPrevious = False
        s.Footers(wdHeaderFooterFirstPage).LinkToPrevious = False
        s.Footers(wdHeaderFooterPrimary).LinkToPrevious = False
    Next s
End Sub


If you would like to know how to use the macros described on this page (or on any other page on the WordTips sites), I've prepared a special page that includes helpful information. Click here to open that special page in a new browser tab.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (13502) applies to Microsoft Word 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, Word in Microsoft 365, and 2021.

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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