Google Docs – Inserting headers, footers & page numbers

In a previous post we looked at inserting images, but what else can you add to your documents? Here let’s look at inserting things at the top or bottom of the page:

  • Headers and footers
  • Page numbers and page counts

Inserting headers and footers

First of all, what are headers and footers? Headers are the top part of the page, which are normally used to add something which will be repeated at the top of page on all the pages. Footers is the same except it’s something repeated at the bottom of the page.

To add a header, go to the “Insert” menu and click “Header”.

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At the top of the page you’ll see an area with a line dividing it from the rest of the page.

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Type in something, here I’m just going to add the overall topic of the document.

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This appears on the first page and if I scroll down, I can see it repeats on the other pages. For example, this is page 2.

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If you don’t want the header to appear on the first page, for example, my first page is a cover, you need to tick “Different first page header/footer”. This will allow you to either not have a header on the first page or have a different one. The rest of the pages in the document will have the same one as page 2.

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To add a footer, is almost the same, but this time go to the “Insert” menu and then click “Footer”. Then type in want you want.

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You can format the header or footer, like you can in the main body of the document. So, for example, here I’ve moved my name to the right, using the Right alignment from the toolbar.

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Another common use of the header or footer is to add a logo which repeats on all the pages. To do this, insert the header or footer, then insert the image (Insert>Image).


Inserting page numbers & page counts

If you have a long document it’s common to add page numbers. To do so, go to the “Insert” menu and click “Page number”.

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You have four options to choose from (going clockwise from the top left):

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  • Page number on all pages in the top right hand corner
  • Page number on all pages in the top right hand corner, except the first page
  • Page number on all pages in the bottom right hand corner, except the first page
  • Page number on all pages in the bottom right hand corner

For example, if I choose the last option, on the first page a number one appears and on the second a number two, and so on.

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Sometimes you also want to tell the reader the total number of pages. This is particularly useful if you combine it with the page numbering above, so you end up with something like, 3 / 50.

Let’s leave the page numbering on the footer and first let’s add the backslash. On any of the pages just click just after the number, type /. For example:

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Now let’s add the total number of pages. Go to the “Insert” menu and click “Page count”.

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Even though it only gives you the option to place the page numbering on the right, you can in fact change it afterwards, for example, if you wanted to have it in the centre instead, you would just change the alignment using Centre from the toolbar.

You can also change the font, the size, etc of the page numbers, as you would with any text.


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Baz Roberts (Flipboard / Twitter / Google+)


4 thoughts on “Google Docs – Inserting headers, footers & page numbers

    • Good question. Unfortunately the only way is to delete the content (text/images) you’ve put in the header or footer. There’s no delete header/footer option.

    • Hi-Try this: Open the header on page 1, tick the “Different first page header/footer”. Add the header you want. Then on page 3 add your footer. The only thing is, is that page 2 will also have the footer.

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