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I'm using Microsoft Word 2007. I'm writing a commentary on a book, and the way I'm formatting it is using two columns, newspaper style. I'll quote part of the passage I'm commenting on and then write my comments. If the passage is on a new page, I'll write the page as well, as follows:

Page one of the document:

[Page 1] "Quote #1".

My comments here

"Quote #2".

My comments here

[Page 4] "Quote 3".

My comments here

Page two of the document:

"Quote 4".

My comments here

I want the header of each page to state the page # of the first passage quoted on the page. So in the example above, Page one of the document would have the header "Page 1" and Page two of the document would have the header "Page 4".

I've seen the way to have different headers is to use Section Breaks. I thought I would have a continuous section break whenever I'm quoting a new page of the book. The problem is since I'm using Columns, Word gives the option for different sections to have different Column formats, so a Section Break ruins the Newspaper style flow of the columns (instead of reading top down to the bottom of the page, if there's a section break it's top down until the break and then goes to the next column, disrupting the flow).

The only thing I could think of is have a section break at the end of the page, but then I have to commit to that being the end of the page. What if I want to add text to that page? It will shift the section break to the next page, and I'll have to remember to delete it and recreate a new one at the new end of the page.

Is there another option?

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First off, you don't need to insert section breaks, which, as you've seen, disrupt the continuous flow of text.

An easy way to achieve what you want is to define a character style that you'll use just for those page references (you can also repurpose one of the built-in styles, as long as you won't use it for anything else). If you'll be using brackets around the page references, as in your example, but you don't want the brackets to appear in the header, don't apply the character style to them; apply it just to what's inside them.

Then, in the page header, insert a STYLEREF field that references that style (on the Insert tab, in the Text group, click Quick Parts > Field, select STYLEREF in the Field names list, and then select the name of the style in the Style name field). Word will then find the first bit of text on each page that's in that style, and stick it in the header for that page.

  • This was helpful but two related issues: if I have a paragraph style for [Page 1] "Quote #1" and select Page 1 and do what you said and give it the referenced style, the header says no instances of this style. I have to put it on its own line and have it all be the referenced style. If I leave out the []'s, same issue – robev Nov 14 '16 at 19:57
  • Well, I just double-checked the info about STYLEREF fields on support.office.com, and it claims to apply to Word 2007, so this should work. So you have a paragraph style for the whole paragraph that consists of a quotation and a page reference, and then you have a separate character style that's applied just to 'Page 1', right? And you were actually able to select that character style when you inserted the field code? Maybe you could post a screenshot, preferably one that shows the field code in the header toggled (right-click, and click Toggle Field Codes; or press Alt+F9)? – cnread Nov 14 '16 at 21:09
  • Styleref IS working but not within another paragraph, only on its own line – robev Nov 15 '16 at 0:24
  • Interesting. The functionality must have changed since Word 2007, in spite of what support.office.com says. If you're stuck with using a separate paragraph for the Styleref field to work, but you want the page ref to appear to be on the first line of the quotation, you could always modify the style definition (of the paragraph that's used for the page ref) so that it's in a frame that the quotation text wraps around. – cnread Nov 15 '16 at 0:48

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