Linked Headers Not Working

Copper Contributor

I am a longtime user of MS Word (remember windows 3.1?) I have recently noticed that when I use the "link to previous" option it doesn't keep linked. In other words, when I go back to the header and make a change it doesn't automatically change the linked headers that follow. When I go to the next header I can see that "link to previous" is not highlighted. I have to go through all of the headers and link them again. When I do this, they update properly. But I have to re-link again if I make another change.

I have made sure that the Different First Page and Different Odd & Even Pages are not selected. If I select the Link to Previous option it asks me if I want to delete this header/footer and connect to the one in the previous section just as if this hasn't been done yet.

I am using Microsoft Office Professional Plus 2019.


8 Replies


Hi Lorna,


There has been no change in Word to do this.

Can you include a link to a document that is displaying this behavior.

Why a sample file is important for troubleshooting - - - - - - - and how to do it.


Each section of a Word document has three headers and three footers. The Link to Previous setting applies to the specific header or footer, not to the entire section's set of headers and footers. The setting is checked by default until changed by the user. When it is not checked and you check it, you are telling Word to make the header/footer in the current section apply to the previous section (and delete any content in the header/footer in the previous section).


If you have a header/footer in the previous section that you want in the current section and you want them to stay linked, you need to copy the content from the previous section's header/footer into the current section's header/footer and then check the box.


Here is my Header/Footer Settings Recap.

I am unable to send a link to my file. Please can you send me an email address I can use? Thank you.

email address removed for privacy reasons


I will post a link to the file here unless you tell me not to. Please include in the email a link to this post.


Here is a temporary link to a document demonstrating some of the principles.



Here is a link to another version of that document that seems to be happier without Section fields in the headers and footers.

I used the temporary link to upload the file.
In case the big brother struck the email address before you got this, you will have to decipher:
The file I posted gives my system conniptions because of a Section field. Here is a link to one without that.
I will be expanding that periodically.
The security system on my end does not allow me to access your link. Please, were you able to access the document I uploaded to dropbox?
The temporary link is Not a way for you to upload a file. It me posting a link to a file that you can look at. You can't save to that link.



As Charles said, the "linkage" is between sections, and there is one possible link for each type of header (first page, even page, odd page). Similarly, there is one possible link for each type of footer (first page, even page, odd page). 


The default, when you insert a section break, is that Word does create a link to the headers (footers) of the preceding section.