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How to Create a Header on Your Research Paper   Tags: computers, writing  

This is a step by step process on how to create a header in Microsoft Word. Version used was Word 2010, so other versions may vary slightly. Also this is a guide in how to format your page numbers if you have a title page.
Last Updated: Mar 23, 2015 URL: Print Guide RSS Updates
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How to Create a Header

To create a header:

  • Double click on the top edge of your paper and the top of the page should look like this (or similar to this if you have a different version of Microsoft Word):


  • Click on the button on the left that says Header and from the drop down menu pick the one that says Blank (Three Columns).
  • Once you click on that your header should look like this:

  • Go ahead and type your title in the far left set of brackets.
  • Delete the middle set, since you don’t need it for this paper (unless your teacher tells you otherwise).
  • For the page number go ahead and click on the far right set of brackets, then right after that click on the Insert tab above, it should look like this:

  • In the middle of the top of the screen you should see the button that says Page Number, click on that. 
  • You should see an option that says Current Position, and click on that.
  • Choose the Plain Number option, unless you want it to be more fancy, and that will put the page numbers on the right side, but there still is another step or two to go.


YEAH!!!!!!! You have got your header, but as it is, it will show on your cover page, so you need to change that, and format your page numbers so that way your first page says page 1 not page 2.


To Format Your Page Numbers So That Way the First Page Is Not Your Cover Page, But the First Page of the Body of Your Paper

  • Before going or doing anything else click on the button that says Page Number.  It will look like this:

  • Click on Format Page Numbers from the drop down menu
  • A window will pop up it will look like this:

  • At the bottom of the menu window, select Start at: and make the first number a zero.


Now it will give you the right page numbers when you make the header disappear from your cover page.


To Make Your Header Not Show Up on Your Cover Page

  • Double click outside your header area, then double click back in your header area.
  • At the top you should find a part that looks like this:

  • Make sure you check that box that says Different First Page so that way the header won’t show up on your cover page.

 YOU DID IT!!!! Your header should be right from here on out.  Just remember how to do it next time (or at least bookmark this webpage!).  Congratulations on getting it fixed.


Troubleshooting Problems Creating Your Header

Having problems getting your page numbers to show up at the same time as the other information you want to put in your header?

  • First: follow the above directions to get the page numbers, then highlight and copy the page number in the header.
  • Second: follow the instructions above to insert a header that allows you to have 3 separate areas to put information in the header.  Don't panic if the page number goes away, at this stage.
  • To add a page number to the right hand corner, right click within the brackets in that corner, and choose the paste option.  It should paste the page number there, and each additional page should have the correct number corresponding page number at the top of the page.  Delete the excess that you don't need (including the brackets).

If you are still having problems, you can contact the library at 903-434-8151, ask for Heather Shaw (the Reference Librarian), or come in to see one of the writing tutors in the library or in the Academic Skills Center.

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