Different AutoText Entries in Header and Footer

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated October 26, 2013)

Jennifer noted that sometimes the Header/Footer version of the AutoText button does not contain the same AutoText entries as the document-layer version. She wonders why this happens and how she can get around it.

Actually, what you are noticing is an artifact of the way that AutoText normally works. When you display available AutoText entries (whether in the main document or in the header/footer) Word displays only those entries that it feels should be available for current usage. This has to do, primarily, with the compatibility of the AutoText entries with the particular style of the paragraph in which the insertion point is located.

When you define AutoText entries, you can define them as "styled," which means that the style of the text is saved in the entry with the text itself. If you define an entry using style X, and later try to insert AutoText entries while the insertion point is in a paragraph that uses style Y, Word tries to determine whether style X is compatible with style Y. In other words, are both X and Y based on the same underlying style (like the Normal style)? If they are, then Word will let you insert the AutoText entry; if not, then it won't.

So what about in the header and footer area? When you create a header or footer, by default the style used for the header is called Header and for the footer is called Footer. (Seems natural, right?) If you display the AutoText entries while your insertion point is in a paragraph formatted with one of these styles, then only those AutoText entries that are formatted with those styles (or text-only AutoText entries) are displayed as available.

There are two ways to get around this problem. First, you could change the style applied to the actual header or footer. For instance, change the style to the Normal style and you will see a much longer list of AutoText entries available (because Normal is the base style for many styles in Word). Second, you could create AutoText entries that are "unstyled" (text only) or are created and saved using the Header or Footer styles.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (3436) 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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