Office solution: Word's disappearing header demystified

This week, learn why Word headers sometimes take a header, and disappear from view, and what you can do to get them back.

Last week, we asked why a Word document's header might disappear. Eljensen mentioned that not all views display the header area, which is correct. That's the easiest place to start troubleshooting. Check the document in Print Layout. If the header's still not showing, that's not the problem. Eljensen was the first to respond with the most probable cause, in this case. Word usually displays the white space between the first (or last ) line of text and the edge of the paper.

By default, Word displays the white space, but you can easily hide it without realizing what you've done. Hover the mouse over the top or bottom edge of any page until Word displays the white space arrows. Then, double-click the edge and Word will hide the header (and footer) and the white space. If you want to permanently remove the white space, do the following:

  1. Click the File tab and choose Options (under Help) in the left pane. In Word 2003, choose Options from the Tools menu.
  2. Select Display in the left pane. In Word 2003, click the Display tab.
  3. Uncheck the Show White Space Between Pages in Page Layout View option.
  4. Click OK.

If your documents don't have this white space, someone's probably unchecked this option.


Susan Sales Harkins is an IT consultant, specializing in desktop solutions. Previously, she was editor in chief for The Cobb Group, the world's largest publisher of technical journals.

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