Display header and footer text only in the first page in Word 365 / 2016 / 2019 and Google Docs?

This tutorial is applicable to: Office 365, 2019, 2018, 2016; Google Docs. Windows 10, 8 and 7

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 display / keep only the report (file) name information. I guess my question is whether what i am asking is even possible either in my desktop Office 365 version? If not, is it a feature offered in Google Docs. In summary: can i set my document header and footer and 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.

Put headers only on first page in Word

Kindly proceed as following:

  1. Launch Microsoft Word.
  2. Browse to your relevant Word 2016 / 2019 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.
2015-08-09 18_45_35-Document1 - Word

Put 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.

Make Different headers and footers

Chances are, that similarly to our reader who asked this question; you might need a different footer/header from page two onward. All you’ll need to do is after setting your custom cover page header/footer and before closing the header design tab, to go ahead and define a different header/footer for the second page. This will be shown in every subsequent page in your Word file. Once done, close the header design tab.

You can use the Different Odd & Even Pages check box to specify different header and footer setting depending on page numbers being odd or even.

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. Find more about Word Macros in this tutorial.

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

Different footer 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.


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:


6 thoughts on “Display header and footer text only in the first page in Word 365 / 2016 / 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.

  5. I tried the “different first page header/footer” and it retained the header on the remaining pages and removed the header from the first page. I’m working from a document I inherited that has a header on every page. I want it only on the first page and not on the remaining pages. It seems like this shouldn’t be so hard to accomplish.

Leave a Comment