Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Excel versions: 2007, 2010, and 2013. If you are using an earlier version (Excel 2003 or earlier), this tip may not work for you. For a version of this tip written specifically for earlier versions of Excel, click here: Moving Part of a Footer Down a Line.

Moving Part of a Footer Down a Line

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated October 11, 2014)

Let's say that you have a custom footer that you want at the bottom of all the pages in your worksheet. Left-justified in the footer, you want the full path name for the worksheet, and centered you want a page indicator in the format of Page X of Y.

Because the full path name can be rather long, it is possible that the path will "overprint" the page indicator. This, obviously, is not something you want to do. A better solution would be to push the page indicator down a line, so that it prints on its own line. Toward that end, you try the following:

  1. Click the Page Layout tab of the ribbon.
  2. Click the small icon at the bottom-right of the Page Setup group. Excel displays the Page Setup dialog box.
  3. Make sure the Header/Footer tab is displayed. (See Figure 1.)
  4. Figure 1. The Header/Footer tab of the Page Setup dialog box.

  5. Click the Custom Footer button. Excel displays the Footer dialog box.
  6. With the insertion point in the Left Section area, click the folder tool. The code &[Path]&[File] appears in the Left Section area.
  7. With the insertion point in the Center Section area, press Shift+Enter to move to the next line, then type Page followed by a space.
  8. Click the page number tool, type " of " and click the pages tool. The Center Section area now contains "Page &[Page] of &[Pages]", with a blank line before it.
  9. Close all the dialog boxes by clicking OK, as necessary.

When you print your worksheet, you think that the Shift+Enter keystroke (step 6) should move the center section of the footer down by a line. Unfortunately, it does not—Excel ignores the keystroke and places the center section of the footer on the first line, where it is overprinted by the left section of the footer. Drats!

The solution to the problem—without using a macro—is to follow these steps:

  1. Click the Page Layout tab of the ribbon.
  2. Click the small icon at the bottom-right of the Page Setup group. Excel displays the Page Setup dialog box.
  3. Make sure the Header/Footer tab is displayed.
  4. Click the Custom Footer button. Excel displays the Footer dialog box.
  5. Make sure that all the sections of the footer are cleared; they should have nothing in them.
  6. With the insertion point in the Left Section area, enter the following, just as you see it here. Make sure that you split the lines by pressing Shift+Enter at the end of the first line.
  7.      &[Path]&[File]
         &CPage &[Page] of &[Pages]
    
  8. Close all the dialog boxes by clicking OK, as necessary.

Notice the inclusion of the &C code at the beginning of the second line in step 6. This tells Excel that everything after it should be centered. The cool thing about doing the footer this way is that Excel, if necessary, will move down a line in order to print the centered information. If it can print the left portion of the footer on the same line as the center portion (the part after &C), then it will do so.

It is interesting to note that in my testing, simply putting a carriage return (Shift+Enter) at the end of whatever is in the Left Section area, and then entering information in the Center Section area still produced an overprint. The only way that this technique worked is if I used the &C code to center the page indicator.

ExcelTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Excel training. This tip (9778) applies to Microsoft Excel 2007, 2010, and 2013. You can find a version of this tip for the older menu interface of Excel here: Moving Part of a Footer Down a Line.

Author Bio

Allen Wyatt

With more than 50 non-fiction books and numerous magazine articles to his credit, Allen Wyatt is an internationally recognized author. He  is president of Sharon Parq Associates, a computer and publishing services company. ...

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