Difference Between Header and Footer

Main Difference – Header vs Footer

Header and footer are areas at the top and the bottom of a page. A header is at the top of the page and footer is at the bottom of the page. This is the main difference between header and footer. Both header and footer are set up to stay constant (the area) throughout a document. You can add various information such as page numbers, time and date, author’s name, company name, company logo, document title, etc. to both header and footer.

This article will explain,

1. What is Header? Basic details about header, purpose, and illustrate how to set header in a Microsoft Word Document.

2. What is Footer? Basic details about footer, purpose, and illustrate how to set footer in a Microsoft Word Document.

3. Key Differences Between header and FooterDifference Between Header and Footer - infographic


What is a Header

A header is a text that appears within the top margin on each page of a document. It is very easy to create headers with word processing programs such as Microsoft Word. The information that can be included in a page header includes page number, author’s name, document title, section title, etc. The information in each page is often same, except small differences in information, such as page number.

Usually, the headers of books contain the page number, book title, and chapter title. In academic writing, a special header known as running headline or running header appears at the top of the pages. It usually contains the page number, the author’s last name and the title of the document.

Difference Between Header and Footer

A = Header, B = Footer

What is a Footer

The footer is the text that appears within the bottom margin on each page of a document. In other words, it is at the bottom of the page, under the main text. It is the traditionally preferred place for the page number although page number can also be included in the header.

Footer is also specifically used for footnotes. Footnotes can indicate bibliographical information as well as additional information and comments of the writer.

How to Set Header and Footer in Microsoft Word

First, open a document in MS Word. Then go to insert tab. There, you’ll find Header & Footer category as shown in the image below.

Difference Between Header and Footer - Step 1

When you click on the Header or Footer, you will be presented with different options.

Difference Between Header and Footer - Step 2

If you want to edit the existing header or footer or if you want to make adjustments to the already present options, you can select “Edit” which is at the bottom.  This will give you more options.

Difference Between Header and Footer - Step 3

Difference Between Header and Footer


Header is at the top of the page.

Footer is at the bottom of the page.

Main Text

Header is above the main text.

Footer is below the main text.

Page Number

Header can contain page numbers.

Footer is the traditionally preferred place for page numbers.


Headers usually contain information like book title, chapter title, author’s name.

Footers usually carry the page numbers.


Headers cannot be used for footnotes.

Footer can be used to include footnotes.

Image Courtesy:

“Footer Header” By Nilsjohan~commonswiki (based on copyright claims). Own work (based on copyright claims)., (Public Domain) via

About the Author: Hasa

Hasa has a BA degree in English, French and Translation studies. She is currently reading for a Masters degree in English. Her areas of interests include literature, language, linguistics and also food.

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