Headers & Footers

Headers & Footers

Headers and Footers are the names given to information repeated at the top and bottom of a series of printed pages. Look at most published books and you’ll find the title name of the book printed at the top of every page, this is a header. In contrast, the page numbers are often printed at the end of each page, this is the footer.

However any information regularly printed at the top of the page is a header, whilst any regularly at the bottom of the page is a footer.

Headers and Footers in manuscripts nearly always contain the same information - title, author, contact details, page numbers, total number of pages.
Why?
Including the information not only allows the editor to quickly find your phone number when he realises how desperately he wants to publish your work, but it also means that if your cover letter gets separated from your writing (or your whole manuscript gets drops and becomes out of order) everything can all be put back in order.

How and where you choose to put the information, though, is entirely up to you. There are no set rules about what goes where in your header and footer. However while you’re deciding on the placing remember that the story or article you’re submitting should always be the most obvious thing on the page. For this reason I often suggest 1) use a font size smaller than the one the rest of work is printed in and 2) don't clutter up the top of the page with too much information.
How do you create Headers and Footers?
If you are using Microsoft Word simply:
  • Click on the word VIEW at the top of the page.
  • From the drop down menu select ‘Header and Footer’.
  • When the rectangle of broken lines appears at the top and bottom of the page just type in the information you want to include. When you’re including page numbers do this using the ‘page numbers’ option in the INSERT drop down menu, this way they will automatically change for each page.
  • If you plan to change your headers or footers for different sections of your manuscript you’ll need to insert ‘page breaks’ (again under the INSERT drop down menu). I recommend you go to the HELP section of MS Word to find the break that is most suitable. If, on the other hand, you want different Headers and Footers on odd and even pages you’ll need to go to the ‘Page Setup’ option under FILE and select the ‘layout’ tab.
Headers and Footers are nowhere as difficult as they may appear once you get the hang of them and they certainly give the professional touch to your work. Just approach them logically.
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