Sometimes the simplest adjustments like this can give us sleepless nights. If you try to find an option in the Docs settings to have separate headers, you will be disappointed. This is because there is no dedicated switch to achieve it.
You will need to use sections to customize the headers and footers in Google Docs. Let's see what you need to do. But before diving into the steps, it's important to understand section jumps. We also explained how to create a separate header and footer for the first page at the end.
What are section breaks in Google Docs?
When you create a document in Docs, all pages use the same formatting, such as headers, footers, footnotes, page numbers, margins, and so on. Now, if you want to divide your document into sections, what will you do? For example, if you are writing a book with several chapters and you want each chapter to have its name in its header. Basically, you want to use a different header for multiple sets of pages.
This is where the section break comes in. It is helpful to divide your document into sections. Each section behaves as an independent document in terms of formatting. You can change its margin, footer, numbering, etc.
So, to insert a different header and footer for different pages in Docs, we will need to add a section break before the header or footer you want to edit, as shown below .
Add different headers and footers for pages in Google Docs
For this, you will first need to add a section break, and then cut the link between successive sections by unchecking the option "Link to previous". You will have to separate the header and footer separately.
Here are the steps:
Step 1: Open the Google Docs document where you want to customize the headers and footers.
2nd step: Navigate to the page where you want to create a different header or footer. Now place the cursor at the end of the last sentence on the previous page. Yes, the previous page and not the current page.
You will need to repeat the above steps for all pages if you want each page to have a different header or footer. Typically, we would like to have different headers or footers for different chapters. As each chapter contains many pages, you will have to do it after several pages.
To summarize, you must place the cursor not on the page where you want to create a different header or footer, but on the previous page. And that too after the last word.
How to view and delete section breaks
To display all section breaks in your document, go to the View menu and check Show Section Breaks. A blue dotted line means it. To hide section breaks, clear the Show Section Breaks check box.
To delete a section break, place the cursor at the end of the last word of the sentence before the section break. Then press the Delete key on your keyboard.
How to insert a header or footer only on the first page in Google Docs
The first page usually contains the Table of Contents page. If you do not want to have a header or footer on this page, or a separate header / footer, a dedicated option is available.
To do this, click the header or footer that you want to edit on the first page of the document. Check the box next to Different First Page. Enter your header and footer for the first page. If you do not want a header or footer, delete the existing text.
Add page numbers to Google Docs headers and footers
You do not have to enter the page numbers manually in Google Docs. A native feature exists for that too.
To add page numbers, select Insert> Header and Page Number> Page Number. Then, indicate if you want to add numbers in the header or footer. You can also start dialing from the second page by choosing the second option.
Delete header and footer
To delete, click the header or footer that you want to delete. Then, click Format in the top menu and select Headers and Footers. Select Delete Header or Delete Footer depending on the area you clicked.
No break, please!
The method mentioned above is the best way to create separate headers and footers in Google Docs. However, I will not deny the fact that it is tedious if you have to do it for each page. We hope that Google will introduce a direct way to do this, as they did in the case of separate headers for the first page.
Then: Did you change a Google Docs setting by tinkering with it? Do not worry. Check out our guide for how to reset Google Docs settings.