Display header and footer text only in the first page in Word 365/ 2019 and Google Docs?

This tutorial is applicable to: Office 365, 2019, 2016 (Windows 11 & 10) and Google Docs (Windows, macOS and Linux).

Here’s a note we got from our reader, Diana:

I work as a business analyst and often use Microsoft Word as well as Google Docs to author some performance tracking reports which i submit to my management chain so that they can take action. The documents i create have a custom header in which i typically input the report name, its author, date it was written and so on. In the subsequent pages, i would like to keep and display only the report (file) name information or sometimes just remove the header from the second page and onward. I guess my question is whether what i am asking is even possible either in my desktop Word 365 version? If not, is it a feature offered in Google Docs. In summary: can i get my document header and footer to show it in the first page only?

Sure. Here’s a simple tutorial to explain how to put customer headers for Microsoft Word (both Windows and macOS); then we’ll provide a similar tutorial for Google Docs documents.

Have headers on first page (only) in Word

To display the header just in the opening page of your Word document, kindly go ahead and proceed as following:

  1. On your computer, launch Microsoft Word.
  2. Browse to your relevant Word 2016 / 2019 / 365 / 2021 document.
  3. Navigate to your document first page.
  4. In the upper Ribbon, hit Insert, select Header and select your Header from the selection of available Built-In headers (available either locally or at Office.com). In case that you already have a predefined header for your first page, hit Edit Header.
2015-08-09 18_30_01-
  1. The Header & Footer Design pane will be opened.
  2. In the Options section, check the Different First Page check box. This actually does the trick 🙂
  3. Now it’s time to design your header. Hit the Quick Parts button for available document properties available for use in your header, such as: Author, Subject, Title, Company Name, Phone, Publish date etc’. Your selection of file properties are also available by hitting the Document Info button.
  4. At this point you might want to include page numbers in your doc. It’s possible to show the numbers in your document first page only.
  5. If you would like to now define a custom MS Word footer in the first page, hit Go To Footer and follow the steps below.
  6. If you are done, simple hit the Close Header and Footer button in the Ribbon.
2015-08-09 18_45_35-Document1 - Word

Keep Footer only in first page

The procedure for making a custom first page footer is similar to the one we just outlined for the header.

From the Ribbon, hit Insert and then Footer, and the set your own design. Use the process outlined in the section below.

Show Headers in different odd and even pages

In the Header and Footer Ribbon section you have another very handy checkbox that you can use in order to specify different header and footer setting depending on page numbers being odd or even.

After modifying the headers accordingly you will be able to achieve the following:

Make Header and Footer for a specific page only

Another popular question from our readers is how to be able to show a different header and/or footer, but just for one or more specific pages.

This one is a bit tricky and elaborated but let’s try:

  1. Open you Word document.
  2. Navigate to the page you want to have its header or footer modified.
  3. From the ribbon hit Layout.
  4. Then hit Breaks.
  5. In the Section Breaks, select Next Page.
  6. Then double click your header or footer areas.
  7. The header and footer section will open up in your Ribbon.
  8. Uncheck the Link to Previous button as shown below
  1. Modify your Header and/or Footer text and look & feel.
  2. Hit the Close button.

This is how our document header sections will look like:

[BONUS] Using VBA to set Headers and Footers

If you have VBA knowledge, you can use that in order to specify different document headings and footers as shown in the simple script below.

With myDoc.Sections(1)

.PageSetup.DifferentFirstPageHeaderFooter = True
.Headers(wdHeaderFooterFirstPage).Range.Text = "This is your first page header text"
.Footers(wdHeaderFooterFirstPage).Range.Text = "This is your footer text"

End With

Google Docs

Show header only on first page

  1. Open your Google Docs document.
  2.  Hit Insert and then select Header and page number.
  3. Then select Header.
  4. Then check the “Different first page header/footer” box. That will do the trick!
  1.  Now type your first page header text

Keep Different footers on Docs first page **only**

Limiting the footer to the first page only is essentially similar to the process we just highlighted for the header.

The only difference, is that you’ll access the footer by selecting: Insert, then Header and page number and then go ahead and select Footer.

Here’s an example of a custom footer for your Google docs document opening page.


Put Page numbers in all pages

In Google Docs it’s quite easy to show page numbers starting the second page.

Under the page Number dialog, you can simply select the numbering format that matches your needs as shown below:


5 thoughts on “Display header and footer text only in the first page in Word 365/ 2019 and Google Docs?”

  1. Wow, that’s a lot of work just to achieve that. I did something simpler that worked for my application.

    1. Start with a blank document.
    2. Click Insert to bring up the Insert Ribbon.
    3. Click Header and then click “Edit Header” at the bottom of the open menu.
    4. The Header section appears on the blank page.
    5. On the Design Tab, click the checkbox “Different First Page”.
    6. Edit your header and footer.

    The subsequent pages shouldn’t have any Header or Footer.

  2. I have tried this with the latest version of Word – Office 365 and it still produces the letterhead on every page. I have been trying for weeks to get this to work with no success.

  3. What if your document is divided in different sections? Then the first page of every section will get this header. What do I have to do to have a different heading on the first page of the whole document only?

  4. I’m right there with you. I’m on 2016 for Mac and can’t get it to work, either. I’m getting extremely frustrated with it.

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