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: Cannot Set Heading Rows in a Table.

Cannot Set Heading Rows in a Table

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated May 30, 2020)

Sandra has a table that spans several pages. When she designates the first row as the "Heading Row," Word tags ALL the rows as heading rows. If she then deselects "Heading Row" (on any row, whether the first row or not), ALL the rows are deselected.

This obviously is not normal behavior for Word. If you select a row or two and indicate that those rows should be treated as heading rows, Word should repeat only those rows at the top of each page. The only condition that might explain this behavior is if the table is nested inside another table. You can't successfully set heading rows on individual rows of a table that is within another table.

If this is the case, then the solution is to "unnest" the tables. You need to copy the inner table, paste it into an area of the document that is outside of any other tables, and then get rid of the outer table. You should then be able to format the heading rows as desired.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (3396) 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: Cannot Set Heading Rows in a Table.

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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