"How To Excel" Mini-Tutorials
by TheExcelAddict.com
"Helping Average Spreadsheet Users Become Local Spreadsheet Experts"

Using Headers and Footers

How many times have you seen a printed report and wondered who created it and when? How often have you had a printed spreadsheet but couldn't remember the filename? I've seen people start over from scratch because they couldn't find the workbook that the report came from. Often reports get distributed to others who have no idea where they came from. To the reader of a report, when a report is created and printed is often useful information. Using headers or footers on your reports is a great habit to get into that could save you and others a lot of grief.

If you're not familiar with headers and footers, here is a quick introduction. Headers and footers contain information that you may want to print at the top of each page of your report, such as page numbers, print dates, filenames, etc... These are different from column headings, which you can print at the top of each page. Header and footer information is contained in your print settings not in the cells of your worksheet. Headers print on the top of each page. Footers print on the bottom of each page.

The most common use of headers is to display page numbers (i.e. Page 1 of 19). Excel offers the most commonly used headers as presets that you can choose from a dropdown list. Select File, Page Setup, Header/Footer, click on the Header or the Footer dropdown and choose one of the preset options. The preset options can be placed either on the top of the report, on the bottom of the report, or both. You have no control as to whether the presets print on the left, in the center, of on the right. Some of them will contain information that will print on the left, right and center of the page.

You also have the option to create your own custom headers and footers. Select File, Page Setup, Header/Footer, click on the Custom Header or the Custom Footer buttons. Decide if you want your header or footer on the left, right, or centered. Click in the appropriate box and type in what you want printed as part of your header or footer.

You'll notice buttons in the Header and Footer dialog boxes. The first one is the Font Button. It allows you to change the font of the information you have selected. The second button is the Page Number Button. This button inserts code that tells Excel to print page numbers. The third button is the Total Pages Button. This is commonly used in conjunction with the Page Number code. For example, to have your header print "Page 1 of 19", you would type "Page " (without quotes), click the Page Number Button, type "of ", and click the Total Pages Button.

The fourth button is the Date Button. This button inserts code to tell Excel to print the date in the header or footer. The date used is the date that the report is printed. Next is the Time Button. Printing the time and date in your header or footer helps when you make frequent revisions to your work and need to know which printed report is the most recent.

Using the next two buttons, the File Name Button and the Sheet Name Button, make it easy to match your printed report with the file on your computer.

Aside from the codes that Excel allows you to put in your header and footer, you can type almost anything else to suit your needs. The company I work for uses the following very useful information as a standard in our footers: Filename, Originator, Date, Time. The printed footer looks like this...

June Expense Report.xls (Orig. F Hayes)
31/5/04 11:45AM

Now when anyone gets a report, they know who produced it and when.

Headers and footers are another of Excel's features that most users do not fully utilize because they do not understand their capabilities. Hopefully my (rather lengthy) tutorial will help you appreciate their usefulness.

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Copyright 2003 All Rights Reserved by Francis Hayes (The Excel Addict)

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