Form Fields in Headers and Footers

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated June 23, 2016)

9

Steve uses form fields to allow the entry of standard information in some of his document templates. When he creates a document based on the template, the form fields indicate what needs to be entered, thereby making it easier for users to create the documents in the format necessary.

Some of the information that Steve needs entered must appear in the header of the document. The problem is that Word doesn't allow form fields (or any form controls) to be placed in headers, footers, footnotes, endnotes, and a few other places.

One possible workaround for this problem is to place the form fields in the main body of the document and then reference those form fields using regular fields. For instance, if you take a look at the Options dialog box for a text form field, you'll notice that you can set a bookmark name for the form field. (See Figure 1.)

Figure 1. The Text Form Field Options dialog box.

If you set a name in this field, you can then use the REF field in a header to reference the value of the form field. With the insertion point in the header, follow these steps:

  1. Press Ctrl+F9 to enter a pair of field braces. The insertion point should be within the field braces.
  2. Type REF, a space, and then the name of the bookmark you specified in the Options dialog box for the form field.
  3. Press F9 to collapse the REF field and replace it with the value of the form field.

If your data substitution needs are more complex, you might consider a third-party add-on for Word, such as DataPrompter. This program, written by Word MVP Bill Coan, is capable of automating many of your Word needs. Information is here:

http://www.wordsite.com/products/dpdas.htm

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (202) applies to Microsoft Word 97, 2000, 2002, and 2003.

Author Bio

Allen Wyatt

With more than 50 non-fiction books and numerous magazine articles to his credit, Allen Wyatt is an internationally recognized author. He is president of Sharon Parq Associates, a computer and publishing services company. ...

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What is 0 + 1?

2018-11-15 11:39:32

Jessica Davis

Another approach is to use Custom Properties and train users to open the custom properties dialog and define all properties. In my templates, I define the properties with carrots around the property name to indicate to users that they need to define the property. For example, I have a Client_Name custom property that I define as <Client_Name>. When users see this, they know they have to go into Custom Properties and update the definition with the actual client's name.


2018-11-14 16:45:14

Kim

Thank you so much for this! It is the only thing that solved my issue. I searched for hours on the Web and none of the other tips worked.


2017-03-08 15:06:35

Rain

Doesn't work.


2016-11-23 16:56:45

Tammy

This is not working for me. I am using Microsoft 2016 and when I go to lock the page it will not generate the name text.
Are there any suggestions?


2016-08-17 20:59:58

Heather

Thanks! What a timesaver for me.
Note to the others:
This works beautifully in Word 2010,

I used the LEGACY text field, not the new text field. You will not see it except in Print Preview, or when you hardcopy it.


2015-03-11 18:46:41

Ivan

Hi,

Can this method in any way work with calculate on exit in Word 2007?
It refrences the default text of the field, but after I restrict editing to filling in forms and enter the text in bookmarked field, it doesn't update the reference in header.

Thanks in advance.
Cheers


2014-12-10 21:12:51

J Adams

I was able to get the REF field to show the data in the FORMFIELD I created a bookmark for. However, it displays the default text only, ie. Enter your text here.

When I enter the text into the field, the reference in the header does not update.


2014-11-24 15:20:26

Kelly

This did not work for me either in Word 2010. I am trying to get a field in the footer of a letter, so I can have the field in the same place whether a letter is 1 or 2 pages.


2014-08-08 13:39:31

Greg Johnson

For word 2010 this doesn't work. Did you try it before posting this? REF do not appear to work in headers.


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