You are here:

Microsoft Word/Centering headings in the header


Ms. Barnhill,

In Word 2008 for Mac, after I highlight only the words in a header and click the centering icon, Word moves them and the page number that's on the left-hand side of the page when I need that number to stay put.  The computer acts as  though I told it to center the whole heading, including the page number.  Since the ruler confuses me when I try to use it to solve the problem, please tell me each step I need to do to solve it.

Thank you for your kind help.  You're an excellent expert.

As noted in my profile, I have no expertise in Word for Mac, but in WinWord, the answer would be that the default Header style has two tab stops: a center-aligned one at the center of the text line (centered between the margins) and a right-aligned one at the right margin. To put a title in the center and a page number on the left, you need to insert the page number, then press the Tab key and type the title. If you want a page number on the right, you press Tab, enter the title, then press Tab again and insert the page number.

You say, "The computer acts as  though I told it to center the whole heading, including the page number." You did. The centering icon applies Center alignment to the paragraph. Paragraph alignment always applies to the entire paragraph; it can't be applied to selected text.
About Microsoft Word
This topic answers questions related to Microsoft Word stand-alone or Microsoft Office Word including Word 2003, Word 2007, Office 2000, and Office XP. You can get Word help on formatting text, tables, tabs, fonts, styles, general Word layouts, bullets, headings, and outlines, using templates, toolbar modifications, and using Track Changes. You may also find tips on linking Word and Excel embedded objects including charts. This site does not provide a general Word tutorial nor the basics of using a word processor. It provides specific answers to using Microsoft Word only. If you do not see your Word question answered in this area then please ask a Word question here

Microsoft Word

All Answers

Answers by Expert:

Ask Experts


Suzanne S. Barnhill


I've been using Word for Windows since version 2.0 (1992), and the more I learn about it, the more I realize how little I know. But I may know a few things that you don't, and I'll help if I can. I answer many questions every day in Microsoft's peer support forums and as a result have been awarded the MVP (Most Valuable Professional) designation by Microsoft Corporation. You may be able to find the answer to your question at the Word MVPs' FAQ site or at my own Word FAQ site, so please check those first! Please, no questions about VBA (macros), Registry editing, networks, or complex merges, as I have no experience with these aspects of Word, nor do I have any experience with Word for Mac. Please indicate which version of Word you are using; if you are not sure, see "What version of Word do I have?".


I have a master's degree in classics (Latin), which is surprisingly helpful, though I no longer teach. The things I am proudest of: Having raised two children to maturity, both Merit Scholars, both college graduates (one a philosophy major!), one Phi Beta Kappa (from Harvard!); having been made a Paul Harris Fellow by my Rotary club; having been designated a Microsoft MVP.

Rotary Club of Fairhope, Friends of the Fairhope Public Library

B.A. (Latin), Agnes Scott College, 1966; M.A. (Classics), Emory University, 1972.

Awards and Honors
Microsoft Most Valuable Professional award every year since 1999; many Rotary honors

©2017 All rights reserved.