Create Custom Headers and Footers in Word 2007 - Page 2

By Helen Bradley | Posted August 13, 2008

» More Complex Solutions

Consider the situation where you want to prepare a header that will prompt the user to enter text other than text that exists as a document property. In this case, you need a content control with a prompt to the user for the text to enter.

To create a control, choose the Developer tab on the ribbon and click Design mode. If the Developer tab isn't visible, click the Office button and choose Word Options > Popular category and select the Show Developer tab in the ribbon checkbox. With Design mode selected you'll be able to see the elements included in Word's own headers and to add your own.

For example, to include a custom text area, click where the entry should appear and select the Rich Text control from the Developer tab. To prompt the user for the text to appear in this position, between the markers type a prompt indicating the information they should insert.

To make these prompts look like Word's own prompts, type them inside a set of square brackets. These prompts provide a visible placeholder for your user so they will see the field and know what should appear here.

Each content control, whether you put it there or Word does, is positioned on the page using an alignment option or positioned inside a table cell. You can change the alignment of a control by selecting it and then, from the Home tab, choosing an alternate alignment option such as Left, Right, or Center, or you can adjust the table cell dimensions.

Lines above and below objects in the header are created using borders around paragraphs or, if the header content is in a table they are applied using table borders. To change the line style or to delete a line, select the content control that has the line attached to it and from the Home tab select the Borders dropdown list to create or configure the desired border style and color.

If the content is in a table, configure the table borders instead. If you use colors to format lines and text that are Theme colors they will later change if the theme itself is changed.

Another handy content control you can use is the Date Picker, which you'll find in the Controls area on the Developer tab. Add one to your header and then select it and choose Properties to configure how the date will look when inserted into the document.

Later on, when you actually use the header, you can click the date picker and select a date to insert into the header from a small calendar display.

When you've finished creating or editing your header, return to the Developer tab and disable Design mode. You can then select and save the customized header as a header in the Quick Parts Gallery for use later on.

Creating smart headers and footers and other content for your documents using the new Word content controls is an easy process. When you use these you'll get more professional-looking documents and the ability to create interfaces that source already existing data where it is available.

Helen Bradley is a respected international journalist writing regularly for small business and computer publications in the USA, Canada, South Africa, UK and Australia. She blogs at http://www.projectwoman.com/blogger.html.

Adapted from winplanet.com.

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