Headers and Footers

If you pick up any book, you’ll notice that three things are generally written in the top and bottom margins: a page number, the title of the book, and the author’s name.

To set these up in Microsoft Word, we’re going to use the headers and footers. The easiest way to pull up the header and footer menu is to double-click in the top or bottom margin space. A cursor will blink in the middle of the margin, and the Header/Footer Design menu will pop up.

headerfooter design

Click it open, and you’ll see a whole array of options. Let’s start with the numbering. On the left side, there’s a Page Number button. Click that and decide where you want your page number to fall.


I like to put my numbers at the bottom of the page in the middle, so I generally pick Plain Number 2. Once the number is inserted, you can change the font and size on the Home menu just like any other text.

Now, headers. Books will often have the author’s name on the left page and the title on the right. Click on the Header/Footer Design menu, then check the box that says Different Odd/Even Pages.

different oddeven

You’ll see then that the headers and footers are labeled as Odd Page or Even Page. Type in the author’s name and title (or whatever you want in your header), then format using the Home menu.

Keep in mind that once you check that box, you’ll have to set the numbering for both odd and even footers. Make sure the formatting matches up exactly–paragraph styles are great for that!

One final note on numbering: you’ll want page 1 to be the first page of your actual story, but there will be plenty of pages that come before that (e.g. title page, copyright page, dedication page, etc.).

To start the numbering where your story starts, go the the page just before and click on the Page Layout menu, then the Breaks button. Under the Section Breaks section, click Next Page.

section break

And voila! The number 1 will appear on the next page.

And that’s it for the layout design series! If anyone has any questions, I’d be happy to answer them if I can. Stay tuned the next couple of weeks for book-loving Christmas celebrations! Happy reading, everybody!



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