Define first page header/footer in Word 2011 for Mac

It took me quite a while to find the corresponding options in Word 2011 to make the first page header/footer behave differently than the others. But I found it at the end by sheer luck after having it circumvented through another option. And no, there’s no ribbon bar option like in Word 2010… πŸ˜‰

In the Menubar go to: Format -> Document
There select the Layout tab.
Select Different first page.

That’s all folks! πŸ˜‰


It’s even easier: When you double-click to edit the header, the header/footer ribbon appears. And there you can make the same choice as above by selecting Different first page.

    • Amitoj
    • January 11th, 2011

    Wow thank you! I was trying to figure this out for a while πŸ™‚

    • andrew
    • February 2nd, 2011


    • John Lloyd
    • February 3rd, 2011

    Thank you!

    I think that Microsoft is on a mission to make Word and Excel more and more counter-intuitive. How pathetic.

    • Nadim
    • March 6th, 2011

    That’s fantastic! So easy. I’ve been trying to figure this out for awhile. You saved me a whole lotta time. Thanks!

    • Sunny
    • April 4th, 2011

    Good grief, I was about to tear out my hair, thanks for posting, you are a life saver!

  1. Word 2011 is very counter intuitive.

    • Scrilla
    • May 26th, 2011

    Because of you, my paper was the only one to have this done the right way in class. Even my teacher couldn’t find out how too. #Winning

    • tower20
    • June 3rd, 2011

    I was ready to scream! Thank you SOOOOO much!!

    • nash
    • June 3rd, 2011

    God bless you

    • Future RN
    • June 9th, 2011

    Oh my goodness! Thank you, thank you, thank you!!!

    • Hans Schenk
    • June 28th, 2011

    Pitty, it doesn’t work with me, but what works is entering different headers for even and uneven pages …

    • Debi
    • July 30th, 2011

    I did that. I am trying to only have a header of the 1st of 3 pages. When I tried your suggestion, it removed the 1st page header and inserted into the 2nd and 3rd pages. AAAACCKKK!! Pls help!

    • Simply delete the header/footer from the normal pages and add it to the first page…

        • Meg
        • October 29th, 2011

        Thank you!!!

    • Debi
    • July 31st, 2011

    Yep! I figured it out yesterday after posting this question. i am new to MAC but that was pretty much a big fat DUH! on my part! Thanks for your help~

    • Irix
    • August 7th, 2011

    Thanks so much. Saved me from wasting even more of my afternoon on trying to find the non-existent “options” in the Document Elements tab.

    • Photogal
    • August 17th, 2011

    I could kiss you right on the mouth for this! All Microsoft products are so UNuser-friendly – you just saved me hours of work. THANK YOU!!!!!!

    • Barb Chapman
    • August 23rd, 2011

    Thank you so much!!

    • Michelle
    • August 31st, 2011

    Thank you so much for posting this!! πŸ™‚

    • Allen Ortega
    • August 31st, 2011

    Even after reading your solution I wasn’t getting it, and I was feeling like I wanted to throw my MAC to the wall. I tried again, and finally got it. I happened to understand their logic, and its the stupidest logic they could’ve come out with for such function. Could they not put an option that reads FIRST PAGE ONLY HEADER?!!?!!?!?! Steve Jobs!! do not leave us hanging!

    • I totally agree! But it is Bill Gates you should yell at, not Steve Jobs. His Microsoft Office products have been riddled with problems the past few years, (not to mention making a doc into a pdf when it has section breaks!)

    • Morgan C.
    • September 5th, 2011

    THANK YOU…. you save me soooo much hassle i always have trouble remembering and finding it every time

    • Sarah Frances Dawdy
    • September 12th, 2011

    is there any way to keep the page number on the first page while having the header different on the first page? i have managed to have a different header on my first page, however my first page number disappears, help?

    • Just add the page number again on the first page. I assume it’s in a footer, so you need to add a first-page footer (just like the header)


      • I had the same problem described by Sarah above … to add to your comment, I found that I couldn’t insert page numbers on the first page footer, otherwise it would blow out the suppressed first page header.

        Instead, I went to the edit first page footer (I used the “edit footer” button that I dragged to my toolbar) and simply put in the number 1 on the first page, which allowed me to suppress the first page header but still have a page 1 on the document as well, with the header and footer for the following pages remaining intact.

    • Robin
    • September 13th, 2011


  2. Anyone know the answer to this question for Excel for Mac?

    • This is not possible afaik (maybe with some Makros), but what you can do is e.g. start with a higher page number (2 instead of 1) and create your first page in another excel sheet or in word or wherever you like…

  3. Thank you soooooo much!!!!!! I’ve spent way too much time trying to figure this out and other help Web sites just describe the solution for PCs. My resume is finally looking better. πŸ™‚

    • catalan
    • October 13th, 2011

    THANK YOU!!!

  4. Select the Header or Footer (on any page). Click on Header and Footer, then check the box in front of Different First page

  5. How is it that Word always manages to change (for the worse) the exact commands that I use most often?! Thank you so much for sharing your fix… I really appreciate it!

    • Jardio
    • November 4th, 2011

    Thank you so much!!
    My teacher yelled at me for not having this correct even though I told her ahead of time i did not know how to fix it. I told her I had a Mac and she said that was the problem. lol she also told me to buy a PC if a want to be successful in highschool. FML

  6. If you don’t see the Header and Footer tab on the top of the ribbon, go to View (menu bar) –> header and footer, click it, then click on the header and footer tab that appears – tons of H&F options appear there, and you can click the “different first page” box.

      • Fiona Harrison
      • July 15th, 2013

      This is the bit that was killing me. didn’t realise new tab appeared. thank you!!!!!

    • Carolyn
    • March 19th, 2012

    Like others said, I was about to go crazy. Thanks for this!

    • MDJ
    • March 21st, 2012

    Brilliant! Thank you!

  7. Thank you! I, too, was going nuts trying to figure it out. You saved me a bunch of time and my sanity!

  8. I can’t even tell you how much continued frustration you saved me. I never would have figured that out. Thanks!!!

  9. I can’t thank you enough for this!

    • pea chiba
    • May 4th, 2012

    from bottom of my heart, thank you.

    • brett
    • May 11th, 2012

    wow…you really just saved me some sleep and time!!! thank you!!

    • pammie
    • May 12th, 2012

    You are swell, pubmem. This tip is a real public service. Are the Word for Mac people taking note? Their current procedure isn’t intuitive!

    • You got that right! It’s not only “un-intuitive,” it is downright difficult. And they don’t tell you how to do it in “Help.” Has anybody else noticed that Word’s “Help” is just useless lately?

  10. You are a hero, thank you so much, you saved me a ton of time!

    • Van
    • June 24th, 2012

    After all of the comments, I am not sure if I am missing this but……. I am trying to keep the header for the first 12 pages of my document and just delete it for the last 2 pages. I have to email my professor the doc. otherwise I would just print the last 2 pages with no header.

    How can I make the first 12 pages of my document have a header and the last 2 not? Thanks in advance.

    • Van :

      How can I make the first 12 pages of my document have a header and the last 2 not? Thanks in advance.

      That’s quite easy actually:
      Add a section break (next page) at the end of the last page that should have a header.
      Then on the next page enter the header area and you’ll notice that it’ll have a number (something like “Header -Section 2-“). Select the active ribbon (Header/Footer) and unselect in the options pane the linkage to the previous section. That’s it.

      Good luck! πŸ˜‰

  11. Thanks, ditto to what David above said : ) Saved me a ton of time. Usually it differentiates the first page automatically, but apparently when I inserted the header on the first page initially, it left me in a perpetual cycle of all-page-symmetry. Thanks for the quick and easy here.

  12. OK.. some people have been successful in having the header show up on the first page only after experimenting. When I check “different first page” it deletes the header/letterhead completely on the first, second.. etc.. So please those who did figure it out: could you please give EXACT instructions how to save a template where the letter head (header) only shows for the first page and not for successive pages? If that is impossible… how does one get rid of the header from the pages that follow the letterhead? (using a template)

    • tr
    • August 19th, 2012

    Thank you. Almost give me headache just to find this simple thing.

  13. Thank you soooo much! New to office for mac and this was found after an hour of searching the web trying to format my paper for apa properly

    • pookie
    • October 15th, 2012


  14. Thank You. For the life of me, I don’t know why Microsoft made this formatting more difficult to figure out! I have been trying everything to figure it out, and “Help” is absolutely useless after Word 2004. I wish Word 2004 would come back, it was so much more user-friendly.

    • macman
    • October 27th, 2012

    Thank you so much!!!!

    • slady
    • November 30th, 2012

    I LOVE YOU…thank you so much for this!!!!

    • Anastasia
    • December 3rd, 2012

    OH MY GOSH! YOU are such a LIFE SAVER! I was going insane trying to find this out!

  15. Thank you a million times over!! This was impossible to find! Where do I give you my credit card #?! πŸ™‚

    • Becca Sumeracki
    • June 4th, 2013

    THANK YOU!! Been struggling with this! grr! it was so easy!

    • eleni
    • June 26th, 2013

    thanks a ton!!!!that was so helpful! i was also struggling to find this out!!

  16. Hy, i am traing to make a book, and i want to make a diffrent header like that the 1,3,5, ..etc the same header and 2, 4,6,8,… another header! can you help me? I work on imac office 2011!

    • You seriously don’t want to write a book in Word. Take a look at LaTeX or some other more professional tools than Word.

      Concerning the different header, right under the “different first page” option described in the article you can choose to have different headers for odd & even pages.

  17. Iuga Adrian :

    how, i d’ont figure how

    Well, you enable the checkbox. Then you double click at the header of an odd page and format it to your wishes. Then you double click at the header of an even page and format it to your wishes. And that’s all there is to say about that.

  18. Even after checking this box my header will change to the last thing I’ve typed in the header box… It’s as if I have no option for different first page and it’s merely an illusion.

    • Try it in an empty/new document and you’ll see that it’s not an illusion. πŸ˜‰

    • Su
    • September 28th, 2013

    THANK U!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • Vi
    • October 17th, 2013

    Wow. I was getting frustrated. Such a simple thing, but so well hidden! Thanks a million.

  19. Thankyou – I was getting so frustrated trying to figure this one out.

    Simon Maselli
    Advisor, Leader, Change Agent
    Metamorph | 1300 916 082

    • Further to this one – I’m having difficulty trying to figure out why Word decides to add an extra line into my header and repeat the page x of y on an additional line. Any tips?

    • Alan
    • December 1st, 2013

    Hey, thanks so much! I kept finding and losing this function in three different recent versions of Word. BTW, for PC users, this is a no-brainer in WordPerfect, my word processor of choice for 25 years.

    Can you imagine how many tens of thousands of work hours each year that MS has wasted of its customers’ time by simply “forgetting” to tell us how to do this in the Help screens, or failing to put the function on the “ribbon” !

    • As mentioned in the update, it is on the ribbon as soon as you’re editing the header/footer.

        • Ian
        • February 27th, 2014

        I do this but still get the header and footer appearing on subsequent pages. Driving me crazyyyyy!!!

    • sarah
    • January 13th, 2014

    HOLY HECK! Thank you so much!

  20. This was so great!
    Even a few years later : THANK YOU SO MUCH

  21. Thank you!!

  22. I still can’t remove the header & footer from my new section. There does not seem to be any delete header or footer from section command. I have deselected link to previous and it is now a new section but as per the section break but I cannot delete them no matter where I look. I am clearly missing something and I am a self confessed idiot with computers but I am at a loss

  23. Thank you! I appreciate you posting this.

    • KnewFan
    • September 9th, 2014

    Thank you a million times. Now if I could just figure out how to leave footers as page numbers throughout the whole document, and the header only on the first document!

    • Nowayer
    • December 7th, 2014

    Thank you very much

    • plagasse
    • December 13th, 2014

    Thank you very much for this! For whatever reason, I don’t have a “different first page” checkbox option in the Document Elements ribbon (Inconsistencies in Word? Nahhhh…)

    • Leone
    • January 13th, 2015

    did not help us at all. Tried both double clicking on the header but there is no option to select different first page. Neither is there the option for documents under format. We have excel 2011 for mac? Very confused

    • Word != Excel

        • kidfree
        • January 30th, 2015

        This information is for Microsoft Word documents, NOT Excel. That might be your problem.

    • tiffb1221
    • January 23rd, 2015

    Thanks for the help but I have one other problem. The header I need is an image about 2in high. When I set the header to the first page and the type goes down to the second page, the margins are the same as the first page. I go to set the margins on the second page from this point on and it changes the margins on the first page. Any chance you know how to fix this? Thanks in advance.

    • msfloria
    • May 24th, 2015

    Thank you SO MUCH!!! I have been struggling to find this for the last year!

    • Michelle Billies
    • June 2nd, 2015

    Thank you SO MUCH!!!!

  24. And today still topical πŸ™‚ Thank yoy very much !

    • Matty
    • August 19th, 2015

    Thanks, I never noticed the extra tab!

    • Jennifer
    • October 5th, 2015


    • Heather
    • November 4th, 2015

    Thank you! That was simplistic, and way better than Microsofts instructions or the Mac instructions…Awesome.

    • Tracey Brock
    • March 6th, 2016

    Is there a way to make each page behave differently? I would like to have a different footer on every page?

    • Yes you can since you can have individual header/footer with every page break (even paragraph break). You just need to ensure that you uncheck “same as previous”. But it’s going to be a lot of error-prone manual work and is thus an abysmal idea imho.

    • May 5th, 2016

    Thank you!

    • Warren Moore
    • October 9th, 2016

    I have version 14.6.5 of excel for Mac 2011. Clicking on the “Format” tab in the menu bar, there is no “Document” to click on. Just Cells, Row, Column, Sheet, Conditional Formatting and Style.

    • You do realize that this post is about Word and not Excel? πŸ˜‰

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