Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Word versions: 97, 2000, 2002, and 2003. If you are using a later version (Word 2007 or later), this tip may not work for you. For a version of this tip written specifically for later versions of Word, click here: Pulling Headers and Footers from Other Files.

Pulling Headers and Footers from Other Files

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated May 4, 2016)

Steve asked if there was a way in Word to set up common headers or footers in one or more separate files and then include them in a .DOT document template.

The traditional way of handling this type of situation is through the use of the INCLUDETEXT field. This field fetches information from a file and includes it in place of the field itself. To use this field, you follow these steps:

  1. Create the text for the header or footer you want, but place it in a document, as the document body. There should be nothing else in the document other than the text for the header or footer.
  2. Save the document. In this case we'll assume that you named the document MyHeader.doc.
  3. In the template file, display the header or footer area and make sure the insertion point is located in the header or footer.
  4. Press Ctrl+F9. Word inserts a set of field braces, and the insertion point is between them.
  5. Type the INCLUDETEXT field code and document name in the field braces, similar to what is shown here:
  6.      { INCLUDETEXT "C:\\My Documents\\MyHeader.doc" }
    
  7. Press Shift+F9 to update the field. Word replaces the field code with the contents of MyHeader.doc.
  8. Save your template.

Remember that Word maintains the field code in the template file, so that whenever you create a document based on the template, the contents of MyHeader.doc are fetched and included in the header of the new document. Likewise, your new document includes the INCLUDETEXT field (just as the template does), and whenever you update the field in the new document, Word dutifully fetches MyHeader.doc to replace the field.

If you want to completely get rid of the INCLUDETEXT field in the document created from the template (which would make the included text a snapshot of what MyHeader.doc contained at that point in time), you will need to get just a bit more creative. You could include an AutoNew macro in your template that would select the INCLUDETEXT field, update it, and then unlink it. The following would do the trick:

Sub AutoNew()
    If ActiveWindow.View.SplitSpecial <> wdPaneNone Then
        ActiveWindow.Panes(2).Close
    End If
    If ActiveWindow.ActivePane.View.Type = wdNormalView Or _
      ActiveWindow.ActivePane.View.Type = wdOutlineView Then
        ActiveWindow.ActivePane.View.Type = wdPrintView
    End If
    ActiveWindow.ActivePane.View.SeekView = wdSeekCurrentPageHeader
    Selection.MoveRight Unit:=wdCharacter, Count:=1, Extend:=wdExtend
    Selection.Fields.Update
    Selection.Fields.Unlink
    ActiveWindow.ActivePane.View.SeekView = wdSeekMainDocument
End Sub

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (1698) applies to Microsoft Word 97, 2000, 2002, and 2003. You can find a version of this tip for the ribbon interface of Word (Word 2007 and later) here: Pulling Headers and Footers from Other Files.

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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