by Allen Wyatt
(last updated November 23, 2019)
Sometimes when creating a table in Word, Dick cannot make the top row repeat across all pages containing the table. He follows the normal procedure for setting up the repeating row, but the top row does not repeat at the top of succeeding pages. Dick wonders if there is a setting or condition that occasionally prevents the repeating row from working.
There are actually four things you need to check if your header rows aren't working as you expect them to work.
Make sure that your long table is actually a single table. If it is not, then the header row won't repeat because the table doesn't really extend beyond a single page.
The easiest way to determine if you are working with a single table vs. multiple tables is to click somewhere within the table. Then, from the Layout tab of the ribbon, use the Select drop-down list to choose Table. The entire table should now be selected and if you use the mouse to scroll through the document, you should see that it is all selected. If it is not all selected, that is a sure-fire sign that you have multiple tables instead of just one.
It may sound odd, but the text wrapping setting for a table can affect its ability to repeat header rows. Text wrapping is used to wrap text around your table, and it appears that Word assumes such tables will be quite small. If your table is multiple pages, it obviously isn't small. Here's how you can check the text wrapping settings:
Figure 1. The Table tab of the Table Properties dialog box.
Now you should be able to specify which rows in the table you want repeated.
It is possible to set all rows in the table to be header rows, but if you do, Word will choke and not repeat any rows on secondary pages. You can check this by selecting the entire table and then, on the Layout tab of the ribbon, clear the Repeat Header Rows tool.
You cannot apply repeating headers to a table that is nested inside another table. If you must use nested tables, you'll need to come up with a different way to "fake" your header rows rather than relying on Word's capabilities.
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