Create Custom Headers and Footers in Word 2007

While Word 2007 ships with a swag of handy Quick Parts for creating great-looking headers and footers in your documents, sometimes these don’t look exactly as you want them to look. With the new tools available in Word 2007 you can create custom headers and footers for your documents that function in the same way that other Quick Parts behave and that insert document properties automatically for you.

If you haven’t previously used Quick Parts to build intelligent documents in Word 2007, check out my earlier tutorial on Exploring Office 2007: Building Word Docs Using Building Blocks. There you’ll learn how Building Blocks (aka Quick Parts) work and how you can create your own building block content. In this article we’ll take the process one step further and tap into the document properties and content controls new to Word 2007 to make some very sharp-looking building blocks.

» Step 1: Create a Simple Header

To get started creating your own custom header open a document in Word 2007 and double click in the header area in the page margin at the very top of the page. The screen should change slightly, positioning you in the header area and displaying a blue dashed line and a header tab.

You can create your own custom header content by typing the text that you want in the top of the document. When you’re done, click in the document itself to return to working on the document.

The content you type can be regular text or, if the content already exists in the document’s properties, you can insert this content automatically so you don’t have to type it manually. A side benefit of this is that if the document property value changes, the content in the header will too.

To add the document author, for example, from the ribbon select Insert > Quick Parts > Document Property and select the Author document property. The author name will be inserted automatically into your header.

If the document property for Author or any other property you want to use is not yet complete, the field will contain the property name. Later on you can double click the field in the header and type the information and it will be added automatically to the header and linked to the relevant document property too. For now leave the prompt there so you can save your header as a usable template.

Later on you can also complete the document properties from a special dialog by clicking the Office button and choosing Prepare > Properties. The Document Properties pane will appear across the top of the document and you can complete the listed values. Click the Document Properties‘ down-pointing arrow and choose Advanced Properties to access additional document properties.

To save the header you’ve created, double click in the header area and select the content that you have inserted. Choose Insert > Quick Parts and select the Save Selection to Quick Parts Gallery option. From the Gallery dropdown list choose Header, type a description, if desired, and click OK.

Your new header is now saved to the Quick Parts Gallery and available for use at any time. So, for example, to add your Header to a document, choose Insert > Header and select the header you just saved from the Header list. You can create custom footers the same way, just save the content to the Footer Gallery.

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