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Setting up footers on your manuscript (Typesetting your manuscript article 2)

Written By: Eddie Snipes - Feb• 24•12

These steps are designed to be used for MS Word 2010. The method should be very similar for Word 2007.

Setting Footers on your manuscript

This topic is for footers, but the same methods also applies to setting headers.

When setting up a manuscript, it’s usually necessary to have the footer change for each section. At a minimum, you want to have a separate footer that begins at the first chapter. You do not want the title page (or pages) to have numbers and footer information. It makes the manuscript look unprofessional.

Let me first define headers and footers. If you’re new to Word, this may not be familiar to you. A header is the information printed in the margins at the top of the page, and a footer is the information printed at the bottom of the page. Normally, this information will contain the page number and the chapter title. Some books may also include the book title. In this article, I’ll be using the footer since this is the format I prefer. But the exact same methods apply to headers.

Planning your footers.

Decide how you want your footers to display. If you want the same footer throughout the book, you will only need two sections. If you want to have a footer that is unique for each chapter, you’ll need to create section breaks at the end of each chapter. This will make the next chapter part of a new section.

To create a section break, go to the end of the last sentence, or the beginning of the title of the next chapter. Click on the Page Layout Tab, click Breaks, then choose Next Page in the section break option.

This is an invisible field and will act the same as a standard page break. You can show formatting by clicking on the paragraph symbol on the home tab.


When formatting is revealed, the section break will look like the image below:


The paragraph symbol indicates a carriage return. The dotted lines indicate a section break. A page break will be symbolized with a single dotted line.

A page break serves just as the name indicates. It forces a new page so that the next piece of information begins on a new page. The section break will also create a new page, but it treats each page within the section as a logically separated block of text. To the reader, it appears no different, but when it comes to formatting, this is very useful.

Customizing unique footers for each section.

By default, if you create a footer, the same footer will show throughout your document. So if you put ‘Chapter 1’ in the footer of your first page, the footer on the last page will still say ‘Chapter 1’ – regardless of what chapter you’re in. To separate chapters, you’ll need to break the link between sections.

To break the section link, go into the footer editing mode. The easiest way to get into editing mode is to move your curser into the margin at the bottom of your page and double click. You will see something like this:


The tab indicates which section you are in. If you have a title page, it should be section 1. Chapter 1 will be section 2, and so on.

Take note of the right-hand tab. This lets you know that this header or footer will pull its information from the previous section. Since this is Section 2, anything in footer of section 1 will show up in these fields.

If section 1 is the title page, you want it to be blank. This makes section 2 blank. However, if you break the link between sections 1 and 2 and put information in the footer, such as ‘Chapter 1’, then Section 3 will also hold this same information.

If you’re going to have a customized formatting, such as the chapter name and page number, I recommend customizing the first chapter, and then break the sections up. This way you’ll only have to rename each chapter and won’t have to customize the formatting from scratch for each chapter. This will all make sense when we start editing.

Let’s begin by breaking the link between Section 2 from Section 1. Section 1 is the title pages, so it won’t have numbering or footers. We want it to be blank.

While in the footer editing mode, look at the top of the screen. You should already be under the tab titled ‘Design’. See below:


Click on the highlighted area, ‘Link to Previous’. This will break your link from section 1 to section 2, but anything below section 2 will remain linked.

Once you click to break the link, the ‘Same as Previous’ banner will disappear. Now we are ready to format our chapter footers.

In this example, I’m going to use my chapter names and add page numberings. In order to look more professional, I want my even numbers to appear on the left of the page, and my odd numbers to appear on the right. This will make the printed page number to always be on the outside edge of the book for easy viewing. We don’t want the numbers to be near the binding where they are hard to see.

In the image above, there is a checkbox that says, ‘Different Odd and Even pages’. Click to check this option. Your footer banner will change to indicate whether you are on an odd or even page. My first chapter begins on an even page, so I want my page number to be on the left. Since the book cover isn’t considered a page, page 1, an odd number, will begin to your right. This would mean that all odd pages should be numbered on the right side of the page, so they are closest to the edge of the page where the reader will be looking. Even pages will be on the left, so the page numbers should always be printed on the left side of the page.

Note: Some versions of word will re-enable the link to previous section if you change to odd/even footers. You may need to break the link between section 1 and 2 again. It’s not a big issue. Just click the ‘Link to Previous’ option again when you’re ready to break the link.

We are on an even page, so the cursor should be on the left side of the footer. If not, under the design tab, click on ‘Insert Alignment’ and choose ‘left’.

Next, insert a page number. Click on the page number icon on the upper right of your menu (see below).


From the drop-down option, select ‘Current Position’. This will put the page number where your cursor is and make formatting much easier.

I like simple numbers, so I clicked on plain number.

The next thing I want is for my chapter name to appear on the right side of the page. To do this, click on Insert Alignment option – see below:


Choose ‘Right’ and click OK.

This moves your cursor to the right of the field.

Type in any text you like. Since I want the chapter name to appear, I’ll be typing in the title of each chapter.

Now all your even pages should have footers, but your odd pages will have blank footers. If you didn’t select the option to have different odd and even pages, then all your footers will be populated with the same formatting.

To populate the odd footers, follow the same process, but insert the title first, move the cursor to the right and insert the page number. *Be sure and choose Current Position when selecting a page number option.*

Now if you scroll down, each page will have odd page numbers to the right and even numbers to the left. The title will be on the opposite side of the page.

Changing Chapter Names.

At this point, you’ll need to change the chapter names. This will be quick now that you have completed your formatting. The first step is to break the link between sections.

Move to the next chapter and go into the footer. If the section number doesn’t change, then you haven’t created a section break for that chapter. Be aware that if you make a change anywhere in a section, every page will be altered. That means if you are missing a section break and you edit the footer, you will have to go back and fix it after making a section break.

If you see the banner, ‘Same as Previous’, Click on the option ‘Link to Previous’ to break it.

You only have to change the footer once per section. When you change the even pages, all the ones below will be changed. The same is true for odd pages.

Do this for each chapter and your manuscript will have a professional style footing that will help readers find the right page and know what chapter they are in. Some authors like to put the title of the book in the heading. The process for formatting the heading is the same as a footer.

If you’ve followed these steps, the title page will not have a footer, and each page thereafter will be properly formatted. I hope this tutorial has been a helpful to you. Feel free to comment below

Authors pay hundreds of dollars or more to get their manuscripts typeset. Researching these things took a lot of work and I’ve made them available to you for no cost. If you want to show a small token of thanks, purchase one of my books on Amazon. The ebook versions are only .99 cents.

Eddie Snipes © 2012

View the other articles in the series by going to http://www.eddiesnipes.com/writers-tips/

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  1. Seymour says:

    Eddie, thank you for sharing this stuff with the world. It’s really helpful and generous of you. I just wanted to say that it’s appreciated and that I’m looking forward to the series 🙂

  2. Good post, Eddie!
    I really like the visual aids – For someone who’s format-challenged it’s a huge PLUS!

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