Tips & Tricks

Adding Headers and Footers in Acrobat

May 26, 2004

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Along with assigning page numbers to documents, you can add precise headers and footers to the pages. When adding them in Acrobat, you should avoid using source documents with visible headers and footers to prevent confusion. I'm going to add some footer information, including custom text, to a document.

  1. From the main program menu, choose Document > Add Headers & Footers. The Add Headers & Footers dialog opens. Click the Footer tab to open the appropriate dialog. Headers and footers use individual tabs in the dialog; each contains the same options.

    The dialog gives you a lot of options for adding custom headers and footers to your document.

    At the top of the dialog are three boxes, which will hold the content that you want to be left-justified, centered, or right-justified on the document page. All the content is added initially to the left-justified box; you can move it to the location where you want it placed.

  2. Choose the font and font size from the dropdown lists below the header/footer content boxes.

    Note: You have to preview the page to see font effects.

    • Make entries in the Insert fields as desired. For this example, you want to use a date, page numbering, and custom text:

    Select content to insert and type content for the header or footer.

    • To insert the date, click the Style pull-down list under Insert Date, choose a format, and click Insert.
    • To insert page numbers, click the Style pull-down list under Insert Page Number, choose a format, and click Insert.
    • To add custom text, type your text in the field under Insert Custom Text and click Insert.
  3. When the items are added to the Footer box, click each item and then click the alignment icon to move it to its respective location.

    Move content to its respective page locations.

  4. The final layout shows the correct blocks of text in the correct areas. To remove text, select it in the text boxes and click Remove.

    Select an item to delete and click Remove.

  5. In the Page Options section, make selections as required for your document. For our sample document:
    • Choose Apply to Page Range from the Page Range pull-down list. The other option is Apply to All Pages.
    • Define the page range in the From and To fields.
    • Set the margins for the layout. To use a nonstandard value, type the number in the field, as shown in the bottom-most field.

    Define locations for the footer by setting margins.

    Note The top margin applies to headers; the bottom margin applies to footers.

  6. Click Preview to see the layout of the footer elements in a pop-up Preview window. You can see the selected font and font size in the preview as well. Click OK to close the Preview window.

    Preview the page before closing the dialog.

  7. Click OK to close the dialog and apply the footer. The content and numbering are applied to the page in the area specified.

Fun with Headers and Footers

Well, maybe not fun, but experimenting with headers and footers can be interesting and useful for guiding readers through your document. This book, for example, displays either the chapter or tip title in the footer, depending on the page number. Short of setting up this style in a page-layout program, how can you add a touch like this to your long documents?

In the dialog, enter the footer information for the right-hand, odd numbered, pages into the right-aligned field. Choose Odd Pages Only from the Alternation listing in the Page Options area of the dialog. Click OK to apply.

For the left-hand pages, reopen the dialog and repeat with the even-numbered page information. This time, choose Even Pages Only from the Alternation listing, and enter the text in the left-aligned field.

Modifying Headers and Footers

To modify headers or footers after you've applied them to the document, choose Document > Add Headers & Footers, then make your changes. If you've already saved the document and you want to delete the header or footer, open the dialog and click OK without inserting anything in the boxes. The header or footer will disappear. You can also edit the information using the TouchUp Text tool.

This tip is excerpted with permission from "Adobe Acrobat 6 Tips and Tricks: The 100 Best" by Donna Baker, published by Peachpit Press/Adobe Press, Copyright 2004 Peachpit Press.

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