Using Table to Control Header and Footer in Word – Part I (Word 2013)

I have seen many occurrences of header and footer going out of places in Word documents for various reasons (some are even unexplainable!). While there are many ways to solve problematic header and footer, I prefer to use table to control them, especially if it involves a combination of text and image.

Let’s work on this common scenario that I’ve encountered. A project document has a header that contains the company logo aligned to the right, and document name aligned to the left. The footer section has the filename aligned to the left, copyright notice aligned to the centre, and page numbering aligned to the right. Both header and footer have a border line. Here’s how it looks like:

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In Part I of this tutorial, let’s focus on the header:

1.  Double-click in the header area so that it becomes editable.

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2.  On the Insert tab, click Table. Move your cursor over the grid until you highlight two columns and one row.

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3.  A table of two columns and a row is inserted into the header.

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4.  Enter the document name in the first column of the table. The text is aligned to the left by default. Format the text to appear smaller than the body text, such as an 8pt.

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5.  Place your cursor in the right column. On the Insert tab, click Pictures and look for the company logo.

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6.  The company logo is inserted into the header. Depending on the size of the original image, you may need to resize it to an acceptable dimension.

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7.  To align the image to the right, click Align Right in the Paragraph group on the Home tab.

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8.  The company logo is now aligned to the right.

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9.  Click the table move handle to select the table.

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10.  When the Table Tools appear on the ribbon, click the Design tab and select Borders and Shading in the Borders group.

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11.  The Borders and Shading dialog box appears. Pick a colour from the Color Palette based on the company or project theme, or you can leave it as black by default.

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12.  In this example, I chose a custom red colour. Note how the border line of the colour changes in the Borders tab.

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13.  Click on the lines that you want to get rid of in the Preview area so that only the bottom border line is visible. Click OK when done.

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Note: The green arrows as shown above indicate the specific lines that you should click on to make it disappear.

14.  The bottom border line is now visible.

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But wait! We’re not quite done with the header. Look at how close the line is to the logo? Let’s adjust the spacing!

15.  Click the table move handle again to select the table. On the Page Layout tab, increase the spacing in After. In this example, I’ve increased the spacing by 6pt.

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Now, the company logo looks good with the newly adjusted spacing. However, the document name looks like it is spaced out way above the border line.

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16.  Place your cursor in the left column. On the Layout tab, in the Alignment group, you can see that the default alignment for the text is Align Top Left.

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17.  To bring the text closer to the bottom border line, click Align Bottom Left.

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18.  Now you have a pair of nicely aligned text and image in the header!

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That’s it for Part I of the tutorial. Stay tuned for Part II on how you can do the same for the footer! Happy Easter!

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