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Microsoft Word: Current heading on every page in the document

Microsoft Word Current headline on every page Cover picture

Academic papers and professional documents contain various elements to help the reader understand the structure and find their way around at any point. In addition to a table of contents and headings at different levels, this includes displaying the current chapter heading on each page in the header. The prerequisite for this is the consistent use of style sheets for the headings. The following instructions show you an easy way to do this.

Solution and instructions

The task is easier than expected: Each page of a document in Microsoft Word has a footer and header. These are the respective top and bottom sections of each page, which can have the same content across multiple pages - without having to add the content again for each page.

Our aim is to display the current chapter heading on every page. We use the header for this purpose. You can edit these by creating a Double-click in the upper area of your page makes:

Microsoft Word Current heading on each page 1
Double-click to open the header

At this point, you might think to enter the current heading manually. However, a much more elegant way is to use the Field functions that can automatically insert the current chapter heading as text. You can find the field functions in the current "Design" tab under Quick blocks → Field:

Microsoft Word Current heading on each page 2
Inserting a field in the header

In the new window, select Field name "StyleRef" off. The background to this is that we want to refer to a specific format template - a style - and then insert this content into the header.

As the style name, select the style in which you have formatted the headings that you want to insert in the header. Experience has shown that "Heading 1" and/or "Heading 2" are generally recommended. It is also possible to insert the "StyleRef" field function several times and reference different headings or other style sheets by simply repeating this process.

Microsoft Word Current heading on each page 3
Configuration of the "StyleRef" field

Now you can see your chosen heading on each page of your document. And the best thing is that these automatically updatedyou should add new headings, move or delete headings:

Microsoft Word Current heading on each page 4
Chapter headings on every page in the document

Questions & Answers

Do I have to format my headings in a special way for these instructions to work?

Yes, the headings must be assigned to a style sheet. The existing style sheets "Heading 1" (and the following in lower levels) are predestined for this, but your own style sheets will also do the job. However, style sheets can be adapted as you wish (font, color, line spacing and more).

I only see the headings in one part of my document.

It is likely that your document contains different sections (due to section changes/breaks). It is therefore necessary to link the sections together. If only the first page is different, there is a corresponding tick in the "Draft" tab to solve the problem if you are currently editing the footer/header.

2 responses to "Microsoft Word: Current heading on every page in the document”

  1. Daniela Avatar

    I have a problem with the header of my work.
    I have formatted all the headers so that each main chapter heading (Heading 1) appears in the header on all subsequent pages of this chapter (this also works well over 70 pages). On the last pages of my document with the main chapter "Appendix", the formatting only works on the page on which the chapter heading itself is located. On all subsequent "Appendix pages" there is a 0 in the header. Even after several attempts with "Header-Footer" -> Quick Module-> styleRef -> Heading 1. .... unfortunately still does not work.
    Could someone please help me with this dilemma!

    Many thanks in advance


    1. Lennart Wörmer Avatar

      Hi Daniela, I have a hunch: Could it be that your attachment is in a different section? You can format each section individually. If you open the header or footer (e.g. by double-clicking), you can see whether you have set up sections. Take a look at the Microsoft help for section breaks and my Article on formatting page numbers to. Please let us know if you need any further support or if this solves your problem.

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