Adding Footers in Word Should Not Be a Time-waster!

Adding a footer or footers in Word is easy. Spend your valuable time on the more difficult parts of your academic writing. Master adding footers in Word.

You may or may not need to have information in the footer. It depends on the academic style (e.g. APA, MLA, Harvard, Chicago) or your educational institutes' own standard.

Some may want the page number in the footer whilst others (e.g. APA standard) will want the page number in the header.

If you are using footnotes, then they will appear in the footer.

You may need to insert some other information such as copyright information. It all depends on the requirements of your educational institution.

The good news is that adding page numbers and/or footnotes in Word will place them automatically in the footer.

The only tricky part is if the format changes in different parts of the document. Most commonly, this occurs when the page number changes from one form to another, for example, Roman numbers in the preamble such as the Table of Contents, and Arabic numbers in the main text of academic writing.

In this case, you need to divide your document into sections. This is exactly the same process as for adding headers and page numbers.

If you would like to know background information about footers, then select one or more of the following (or just keep reading):

Select how to add a footer in Word if you want to know how to add a single footer to your academic text.

Select how to add multiple footers in Word if you want to know how to add different footers to your academic text.

Select one of the following if you want to know how to:

What Is a Footer in a Word Document?

Example of a Footer in a Word document. The footer has page number 1 and a top border.Figure 1: Example of a footer with page number 1 and a top border in a Word document

A footer is inserted in a narrow space at the bottom of and outside the main Word document area.

A footer is inserted in a narrow space at the bottom of and outside the main Word document area.

You can put anything you like in a footer but it depends on the academic writing style you are using.

Footnotes will appear in the footer if you are using that style of referencing. Page numbers can also appear in the footer if that is the standard required.

The footer is repeated at the bottom of every page of the Word document unless you instruct otherwise.

The footer in Figure 1 shows the Page number with a top border (you can format the footer in what ever way you like).

This footer will appear at the bottom of every page.

Why Use Footers in Academic Writing?

Firstly, you may have to. The academic writing style you are using, or your educational institutes' standard, or your teacher's instructions requires you have information (such as the page number) in the footer.

Note, several styles (such as the APA style) have page numbers in the header. You may not have to do anything with the footer.

But if you do, keep reading!

Sometimes there is no direction on how to present some information such as page numbers. Then it is up to you, and you may choose to have the page number in the footer.

A footer provides information not related to the topic, for the reader such as a teacher, editor or colleague.

The most obvious piece of information is the page number. See why use page numbers for the reasons why you should have page numbers.

You may have to, or may choose to, put some other information.

You do not need a footer in a short essay, for example, of one or two pages. However,footers (if required) are appropriate when you have longer documents.

Also, it makes your writing look more academic and professional.

This should help you succeed!

Adding Copyright Information to the Footer in Word

Example of a Footer in a Word document. The footer has a copyright notice, page number 1 and a top border.Figure 2: Example of a footer with a copyright notice, page number 1 and a top border in a Word document

Copyright says who actually owns the piece of academic text that you are writing. Many educational institutes own the copyright to your work—not you. Often, the educational institute states the copyright ownership in their policy.

This policy statement may be sufficient for that educational institute and you need not do anything.

Other educational institutes may require you to place a copyright notice in your document. This could be placed on a preface page or it could be placed in a footer. The copyright symbol is © and is available in Word.

Insert © in your document as follows:

  1. Click at the place in your document (e.g. in the footer) where to insert ©
  2. Select the Insert tab
  3. Select the Symbol tab
  4. Select More Symbols
  5. Select Special Characters
  6. Select the Copyright character
  7. Click on Insert
  8. Close the Symbol window.

You can then add copyright information as required, for example, © University of Valmiera 2019.

Adding Other Information to the Footer in Word

You may be required to, or may choose to, add some other information to the footer. This could include information such as:

  • your name
  • a date, for example, the date printed
  • the document name or the file path, that is, where it is stored.
    This is useful if you have difficulty finding a document on your computer.
  • version number
    You can see quickly which version you are looking at.
    This is especially important when working in a team where version control and management is important. Without version control, you are in danger of "losing" changes when two or more people make changes to the same document but all sets of changes are not included in the final document.
Example of a Footer in a Word document. The footer has a copyright notice, author's name, date, document name and version number, page number 1 and a top border.Figure 3: Example of a footer with a copyright notice, author's name, date, document name, version number and page number

When to Use Footers in Academic Writing

There are two occasions when a footer or footers are added. They are when:

  • you insert page numbers and/or footnotes - they are automatically placed in the footer
  • you have to because your educational standard or format requires it such as inserting a copyright notice.

Where to Insert Footers in Academic Writing

Footers are displayed at the bottom of every page.

If you want some other information at the top of each page, then use the header feature.

If you want to place repetitive information on the side of the text (which is highly unlikely), then you need to do a workaround like:

  1. open the footer in Word
  2. insert a text box
  3. move the text box to where you want it on the page (even outside of the footer area)
  4. change the direction of the text (270° or 90°).

How to Insert a Footer in Word


Add the Same Footer on Every Page Using Word 

To add the same footer to every page of the Word document (1) Select Insert Tab (2) Select Footer in the Header & Footer section (3) Select the format desired (4) Type in the footerFigure 4: Adding the same footer to every page of the Word document

Adding the same footer in Word to every page of your academic writing, such as an essay is straight forward.

To add a footer in Word to every page:

  1. select the Insert Tab
  2. select Footer in the Header & Footer section
  3. select the format of the Footer you want, for example, blank footer or a three column footer
  4. type in your footer in the area indicated.

You can format the footer in Word as you like - change the font size, font type, underline, colour and so on.

This footer will appear on every page of your Word document as long as you have only one section or do not remove the "Link to Previous".

Another way of opening the Footer dialogue is to double click (or double tap) at the very bottom of the page.

The Header & Footer tab will appear in the Word menu bar. There are several useful features, for example, inserting images.


Adding a Different Footer in Word

Example of two Word documents - one with 1 section, the other with two sectionsFigure 5: No section break (i.e. one section) v with section break (i.e. two sections)

You may want to add different footers in your Word document, for example:

  • copyright notice on the first page only
  • page numbers in Roman numeral format in the Table of Contents
  • page numbers in Arabic numeral format for the rest of your academic writing document
  • or any other combination you desire.

You need to insert section breaks to add different footers in Word documents.

The section created applies to both the header and footer. If you create a new section because you want to have different footers, the header is also included in that new section.

Word automatically creates ONE section for your document. If you do not do anything, your document will consist of one section made up of one, several or many pages.

This is fine if you do just want one footer or no footer.

For example, suppose you have a five page Word document as represented in the accompanying diagram.

The document to the left in the diagram has five pages with only one section (Word automatically allocates one section).

You can further divide the Word document into sections with each section containing one or more pages.

The diagram to the right has two sections:

  • Section 1 has two pages
  • Section 2 has three pages

You can add as many sections as you need.

You can format each section differently, for both footers and headers.

For example, you can create different footers for Roman and Arabic page numbers.

Dividing a page into sections to show how page number formats can be different in different sectionsFigure 6: Different page number formats as a result of dividing document into sections

Now, you can add different footers (or headers) in Word  in different sections.

Look at the associated diagram.

The first document on the left requires:

  • no footer in the Title page or the Table of Contents
  • a footer after the Table of Contents in the main document.

Therefore, a section break has been inserted after the second page.

There will be no footer added in Section 1.

A footer will be added in Section 2.

The second document on the right requires:

  • no footer in the Title page
  • a footer with Roman numerals (i, ii, iii, iv...) for page numbers on the second and third pages
  • a footer with Arabic numerals (1, 2, 3, 4) for page numbers after the Table of Contents in the main document.

Therefore two section breaks have been inserted - one after the first page (the Title page) and another one after the Table of Contents which is on the second and third pages.

Dividing a Word document into sections allows you to format each section differently in other ways as well, such page numbering with Roman numerals in the Table of Contents and Arabic numerals in the main document.

Another example is changing the orientation of a page from portrait to landscape when inserting figures and diagrams which fit better in a landscape mode.

Another example is to include a different paper size (for example, you may want to include an A3 page in your appendix) and using columns on some pages but not others.

Your teacher, lecturer, professor or colleague will be impressed by your formatting skills. He or she may even not know how to do some of the things you do.

Understanding section breaks is invaluable!


How to Create Sections in Word

How to create section break in a Word document:
1 Select where you want to insert the section break 2 Select layout tab 3 Select breaks 4 Select next page or continuousFigure 7: How to create a section break in a Word document

Decide where in your Word document you want to insert a section break.

For example, a section break should be inserted at the end of the Table of Contents if the next page is the main document.

To insert a section break:

  1. select where you want to place the section break
  2. select the Layout tab
  3. select Breaks
  4. select Next Page or Continuous

Select Next Page to put the section break on the next page.

Be careful you do not insert an extra page if you already have a page break there.

Select Continuous to insert on the same page. This is good if you already have a forced page break there.

How to Add a Different Footer in Word

You need to add a footer in each section of the Word document with the content that you want.

Suppose you have a piece of academic writing (e.g., thesis, report, assignment) that has a Title (or cover) page, a Table of Contents page, and then the main part of the writing.

The Title page is the first page of the word document.

The Table of Contents page is the second page (and more if necessary) of the word document. You may also have a List of Figures and/or List of Tables.

The main body of work are the pages after the Table of Contents (and List of Figures and List of Tables if present).

If you do not do anything, there will be nothing in the footer as shown in my example.

However, if you need to insert a page number in the footer as shown in the diagram:

  • the Title page with no footer
  • the Table of Contents (or Contents) pages with a page number in Roman numeral format
  • the main text to have page numbers in Arabic number format
Example of different footers (1) No footer in title page (2) Footer with page numbers in Roman numeral format in Figure 8: First four pages of document with different footers

then you have to divide your document into sections, and adding the appropriate footers in Word differently in each section.

Detailed instructions on how to do this are given below.


1. Insert a Section Break Between the Title and Contents Pages 

How to Insert a Section Break between the Title and the Contents Pages - 1. Position cursor where break desired 2. Select Layout tab  3.Open Breaks menu 4. Select Next Page or Continuous Section BreakFigure 9: How to insert a section break between the Title page and the Table of Contents pages

Assuming you have created the Title page and Table of Contents in the academic text (e.g., thesis, report), create the first section break as follows:

  1. Position the cursor at the end of the Title Page or the beginning of the Table of Contents (Contents) page

  2. Select the Layout tab from the ribbon

  3. Open the Breaks menu

  4. Select Continuous under Section Breaks.
    N.B. If there is no page break between the Title page and the Table of Contents (Contents) page, choose Next Page instead of Continuous. This will start the next section on a new page.

It is your decision whether to insert the section break before or after the Table of Contents is created.

I create my Title page and then insert a section break (new page). I then insert another section break (new page) so there is a Title page (Section 1), blank page for the Table of Contents to be inserted (Section 2) and then the following pages are for the main document (Section 3).

If you have other preliminary pages where you want a different header, such as a List of Figures or List of Tables, follow the same procedure as for the Table of Contents - that is insert a section break (new page) for each.

Do not worry if you do not setup the sections at the start - you can always add them later!


2. Insert a Section Break Between the Table of Contents Pages and Main Text

How to Insert a Section Break between the Contents page and main text - 1. Position cursor where break desired 2. Select Layout tab  3.Open Breaks menu 4. Select Next Page or Continuous Section Break.Figure 10: How to insert a section break between the the Table of Contents pages and the main text

You need to create one further section break to separate the preliminaries from the main text of academic writing.

Create the next section break as follows:

  1. Position the cursor at the end of the Table of Contents (or Contents) page or at the beginning of the next page of the main text.

    N.B. If you have not yet generated the Table of Contents, create a blank page to place it in the future.

  2. Select the Layout tab from the ribbon

  3. Open the Breaks menu

  4. Select Continuous under Section Breaks

    N.B. If there is no page break between the Contents page the rest of the document, choose Next Page instead of Continuous. This will start the next section on a new page.

If you have other preliminaries such as a List of Figures or List of Tables, then insert the section break after the last one.


3. Remove Linkage Between Title Page and Table of Contents Pages Footers

Remove linkage between Section 2 and Section 1 footer by (1) clicking (or double tapping) in blank space at bottom of the page (2) De-select Figure 11: Removing linkage between the Footers of the Title page and Table of Contents pages

So far you have created three sections:

  • Section 1 for the Title page
  • Section 2 for the Table of Contents (or just Contents pages)
  • Section 3 for the main document

Currently, the footer in each section will use the information contained in the previous section (you can see that the Link to Previous in the screen capture is on).

To stop the Section 2 footer from using the footer information (which may be blank) from the Section 1:

  1. Open the footer in Word on any page in the Table of Contents (Section 2 in this example).
    N.B. (double click in the blank space at the bottom of the page)

  2. Select "Link to Previous" (Header & Footer Tools - Design - Link to Previous in Navigation Group). The Link to Previous button should not be grayed out now.

Note - this will only remove the linkage between the footers. Removing the linkage between the headers is a separate process.


4. Remove Linkage Between the Table of Contents Pages and Main Text Footers

Remove linkage between Section 3 and Section 2 footer by (1) clicking (or double tapping) in blank space at bottom of the page in Section 3 (2) De-select Figure 12: Removing linkage between the Footers of the Table of Contents pages and the main text

So far you have created three sections and removed the Link to Previous in the footer of Section 2.

The footer in Section 2 will not use the Section 1 footer information (which will often be blank).

Now, you need to repeat the process so that the Section 3 footer will not use the Section 2 footer information.

To stop the Section 3 footer from using the information from the Section 2 footer:

  1. Open the footer in Word in any page of Section 3 of the main document following the Table of Contents.

    N.B. (double click in the blank space at the bottom of the page)

  2. Select "Link to Previous" (Header & Footer Tools - Design - Link to Previous in Navigation Group). The Link to Previous button should not be grayed out now.

You have now setup the footers in Section 1, 2 and 3 to format the footers in Word differently in each Section.


5. Add the Title Page Footer

If Footer in Title page is blank, do nothing. Otherwise select footer (double click in footer area) and enter footer details.Figure 13: Add desired footer to Title page

The Title page (or the cover page) may or may not have a footer, depending on the standard you are using.

For example, the APA standard requires a page number on every page (including the Title page) in the header. Therefore, you will not need anything in the footer at all.

If you do need a footer to insert some information then:

  1. select the footer in Section 1 (double click at the bottom of the Title page)
  2. add the footer information that you want

Do nothing if there is nothing in the footer.

Technically, each page has a footer in Word. If there is no information in the footer, then really it is blank.

Remember - what you do in the footer of section 1 will not affect the footer in section 2 because you have removed the Link to Previous (see 3 Remove Linkage Between the Title page and the Table of Contents pages footers).


6. Add the Table of Contents Footer

To add a footer to the Table of Contents pages (Section 2), select footer (double click in footer area) and enter footer details.Figure 14: Add desired footer to Table of Contents pages

You can add any information you like in the footer.

My example is to add a page number in Roman numeral format to the footer for the Table of Contents pages.

If you do not want a footer then do nothing else:

  • select the footer in Section 2 (double click at the bottom of the Table of Contents page)

  • add  the page number in Roman numeral format (or any other information you want).

Remember - you have broken the link to Section 3 in a previous step (4 Remove Linkage Between the Table of Contents Pages and Main Text Headers). Adding the footer here in Section 2 will not affect Section 3.

N.B. You may also have some other preliminaries such as a List of Tables and a List of Figures. The Roman numeral page numbers will continue on from the Table of Contents. If each of these have there own section (because you have a different header), do not break the Link to Previous.


7. Add a Footer to the Main Text

To add a footer to the main text pages (Section 3 or later), select footer (double click in footer area) and enter footer details.Figure 15: Add a desired footer in Word to the main contents pages

The next step in my example is to add a footer with page numbers in Arabic numeral format to the main content pages.

To add a format in Word:

  1. select the footer in the next section after the preliminaries (Table of Contents, List of Figures etc.).In my example, I only have a Table of Contents (Section 2) so it will be in Section 3.If you have more preliminaries, then it will a latter section.
  2. enter the footer that you want

Remember - you have broken the link in this section to the previous section so adding a footer will not affect other sections.


Summary

Footers in your academic writing improves the professional look of your writing, particularly if you have footnotes and/or page numbers. You may have other information such as name, file location and copyright information.

Adding one single footer in your Word document (starting with page number 1) on the first page is quite easy.

Adding different footers in a Word document require some extra steps.

These steps are simple to do, and you will make your academic and professional writing so much better.

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