How to Make a Running Head in MS Word

Use the header and footer tools in Word 2013 to add a running header as defined by the American Psychological Association. An APA-styled running header displays at the top of every page of your paper and includes the paper’s title in all caps and a right-aligned page number. The first page differs slightly in that the header title is prefaced by “Running Head:”. Before you add the header, compose at least a couple pages of your paper so that you can customize the first page’s header. If you do not need to adhere to APA style and want to just add a header, the steps are the same.

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An APA header in Word
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Step

Click the “INSERT” tab, then click “Header” in the Header & Footer section.

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Click the “INSERT” tab, then “Header.”
credit: Image courtesy of Microsoft
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Click inside the textbox area for the “Blank” header.
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Step

Click inside the textbox area for the “Blank” header which opens the header portion of your document displaying the placeholder text “Type here.” For non-APA headers, you may choose any header style.

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Enter “Running Head: ” followed by your title in all caps.
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Step

Enter “Running Head: ” followed by your title in all caps, replacing the placeholder text “Type here.” By default, the header is flush-left, which complies with APA style. Retain the default “Header From Top” setting of one-half inch. Make sure the “Different First Page” check box is selected. This option enables you to set a different header for your first page than for all subsequent pages.

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Select “Insert Alignment Tab” in the Position group of the Design tab to launch the Alignment Tab dialogue box.
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Step

Add a tab in preparation for adding a page number. Ensure that your cursor is placed just after your header text on the same line, then select “Insert Alignment Tab” in the Position group of the DESIGN tab's HEADER & FOOTER TOOLS to launch the Alignment Tab dialogue box. Select “Right,” and then click “OK.” The cursor moves to the right margin.

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Click “Quick Parts” on the INSERT tab, and then click “Field...”
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Step

Click “Quick Parts” on the INSERT tab, then click “Field...”

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Scroll down in the "Field names:" list, then click “Page.”
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Step

Scroll down in the "Field names:" list, click “Page,” and then “OK.” Depending on your settings, Word may notify you that the use of this field is not compatible with earlier versions of Word. If so, click “OK” to continue.

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Exit the header by double clicking anywhere else in the document.
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Step

Exit the header by double clicking anywhere else in the document. The header becomes grayed out, and the body of the document becomes editable again.

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Add a header for subsequent pages.
credit: Image courtesy of Microsoft

Step

Add a header for subsequent pages by scrolling down to the header section of the next page and double clicking in the top margin to activate the header editing tools. Enter the title of your paper in all caps, without the initial “Running Head: ” entry. Add a right-side page number as in the first-page header. All subsequent pages will automatically have this header.