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Breaking the Connection: MS Word’s Headers and Footers

Breaking the Connection: MS Word’s Headers and Footers

Here’s the scenario: You’re working in MS Word and it’s time to set up your header or footer information.

Everything is going well, except there’s one small catch. (Isn’t there just always “one small catch”?!)

The document you’re working on requires different header or footer information at different locations. (Maybe you need the first few pages numbered with Roman Numerals and the rest the usual way of 1, 2, 3, etc).

And to make things a bit worse, it’s not different by either odd or even pages. So, just checking a quick box in the Page Setup window won’t do the trick.

What next?

Well, believe it or not, the trick you’re looking for has been with you the whole time.

On the Header and Footer toolbar, you’ll find a button for “Same as previous.”

Unfortunately, it’s not as easy as simply clicking the button to create a new header or footer. You have a little bit of “setup” work to do first.

Word will only break the connection of headers and footers by sections. That is, sections, not pages.

So, you’ve got to put your section breaking skills to good use.

If your document isn’t already sectioned off, you’ll need to create section breaks at any point where the header or footer will be different from the previous pages.

Once the section breaks are in, you’re then ready to begin.

Simply put your cursor into the section where the header or footer should be different from the previous pages.

Use the View menu, Header and Footer choice to open the toolbar.

Your cursor will go into the nearest header box. You should notice that above the header or footer box, there’s a label telling you where you are in the document and more importantly, on the right, it should say “Same as previous.”

At this point, the “Same as Previousbutton should be active. Click it.

The label “Same as previous” should be removed from the header labeling.

Now, you’re ready to make your changes to the header in this section.

Whatever changes you make will flow throughout the document until you make another change in a later section.

The connection between the footers is not automatically broken with the headers. If you want that to be different as well, you’ll have to click into a footer and use the “Same as previous” button again.

Change your mind about the connection break?

No problem.

Reopen the header or footer and click the “Same as previous” button again.

You will receive a warning letting you know that you are about to reconnect the header or footer to the previous section.

Confirm your choice by clicking the Yes button.


The header or footer is following the format of the previous section and just like that, all the changes are erased. It doesn’t get any better than that!

~ April