A Handy Guide for Creating Custom Headers and Footers


Q: A colleague showed me how to add the path and file name to an Excel spreadsheet, and that’s real handy. But the Header screen (see screenshot below) leaves much to be desired: It doesn’t tell what each of those 10 icons does. Sure, I can figure it out from the text on top of the screen, but why should we have to struggle?



A: Yes, it is an oversight, so here's a chart that describes each icon's job:



For those who aren’t aware of the versatility of headers and footers in Excel, here’s a quick working guide: Click on View, Header and Footer, opening the Page Setup screen. If you press the down arrow opposite the word (none) under Header or Footer, you’ll be given a choice of a design you’ve used before.



If you want to customize a header, click on Custom Header to evoke the Header screen, where you can add to the header a mix of choices: text, page numbers, date, time, file path, file or tab name or a graphic (these instructions also work for Custom Footer). The icon on the extreme right is a format tool. It’s faded in the screenshot below, but it comes alive if you select a graphic for the header.


Prior to selecting your choice from that list, click in either the Left section, Center section or Right section to position the header on the page (see screenshot below).



Excel 2007 users are given two ways to implement the header/footer tool. The basic method is to go to the Ribbon and click on Page Layout and the Page Setup group, then click on Page Setup the Header/Footer tab and Custom Header or Custom Footer. That produces a screen resembling the one in Excel 2003 and requiring similar setup steps.


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