Word: Header row won’t repeat revisited

October 8, 2010

I was trying to get the header row to repeat on a large and long table in a client’s Word document. But no matter what I did, it just wouldn’t repeat on the next and subsequent pages. I looked for a selected paragraph mark above it, but there was nothing there.

Then I selected a later row in the table to change its properties and noticed that the Header row repeat check box was checked, but dimmed/grayed out. Hmmm… I checked more rows — they all had the Header row repeat check box selected but dimmed out.

So on a whim I selected the entire table, went to Table Properties > Row tab and found that the Header row repeat check box was still selected but now it was clickable. Aha! I cleared that check box and clicked OK.

Then I selected just the header row and reapplied the Header row repeat to it. Now it worked!

Someone, somewhere, sometime had applied Header row repeat to the entire table and that’s why the real header row would not repeat on the subsequent pages. An easy fix — once I figured it out.

See also:

[Links last checked October 2010]


  1. […] Word: Header row won’t repeat revisited […]

  2. Worked for me. Many Thanks.

  3. This solution did not work for me . . . at first.
    The issue turned out to be that I was operating in Compatibility Mode on a .doc file, not a .docx. Once I saved as .docx, I solved the problem using the solution given above.

    (Perhaps every row is checked as a header row when Compatibility Mode is first invoked?)

  4. Thanks! Solved my problem on a large table. Love the interwebs.

  5. Thanks for eliminating my frustration

  6. Thanks for helping this worked!

  7. Yeeeeaah! Finally! Thanks for the tip!

  8. This problem has been bothering me for years. Thanks for finally providing a solution :)

  9. Solved my problem too. Been working on a document that someone else created and struggling to get the header row to repeat. Tried another solution I found on Google, but that didn’t work, then I ended up here. Thanks a lot. Sorry I don’t use Paypal so I can’t buy you a coffee, but just know that you have made my day. I will probably be able to apply this solution to many other corporate documents.

  10. it works thank you

  11. Thanks this tip helped me as well. I think you have developed a work around for a “bug”.

  12. Thank you, thank you, thank you!

  13. Tried all of the above — but it did not work for me. True, I was able to select the entire table and change it to select header rows repeat, but the header rows did not repeat and I could not individually select one row to be the repeating header. I tried unclicking some rows so I could then click on the row I needed, but once I unclicked any row, it defaulted back to greying out the option. Any other suggestions would be app

  14. Hi Maureen

    Did you uncheck the Header Row Repeat check box when the entire table was selected, as described above? You have to uncheck that box before you select a row that you really want to be the header row.


  15. thank you so much for this – I could never figure this darn function out until now!

  16. That was it!! Thanks for sharing that solution. This stupid table was driving me crazy this morning.

  17. Thank you!!!

  18. Yaayyy! It worked. Thank you so much.

  19. It worked! Thank you!

  20. Superb – this has been a real help to formatting my busines plan.

    Go raibh míle maith agat!

  21. I am still having a problem with this. The wrapping is turned off. And I have triple and quadruple checked that only the header row is selected to repeat. I saved as .docx. And, there is not a hard break between the cells. Anything else to try?

  22. Thanks this was a great help to me. I have been frustrated over this for years. Always seemed to make to work first time for me but often someone elses table does not work. Usually I would paste the cell contents into a new table but never new how to fix it until now. Great tip.

  23. Thanks! This was a great help.

  24. thank you! I had been struggling with this all day and finally decided to look.

  25. I had the same problem. Tried all the advise that I could get but nothing worked. I save the doc in three different versions. It still stays the same. I checked wrapping text, highlighted the whole table and turn of “Header to repeat at the top of each page” still nothing happened, until I clicked on “View Gridlines” and Volla!!! I were unaware that the final product is nested tables. I do not know how it happened but that was the problem.
    I changed the outside table “Convert to text” and then is showed only the Table that I needed.
    Then I turned on “Repeat Header Rows” and everything was just as I want it to be. The correct row repeats on every page – Learnt something new and I trust this huge search and frustration, is of help to others who also struggle against time to deliver a impressive document.

  26. It works for me too! Thank you very much!

  27. I’ve tried everything in this conversation and still can’t get it to work. Surely Microsoft should fix this? It’s a pretty obvious bug in what is an often used feature of tables. Works easily in Excel, why not Word?

  28. It worked this way for me:
    1. Select whole table, remove the check box for adding the header row repeat.
    2. Select the row you wish to have repeated. Select option for header row repeat.
    3. You may have a duplicate header row, but that can deleted..

  29. Just had to say “Thank you!?

  30. I’ve run into this before and never figured out to fix it. Thanks this worked like a charm :)

  31. Thanks, Very Smart tip

  32. Thanks, Word HELP does not indicate the difference in selecting one row or the whole table

  33. Yay!!! Thanks!! That WORKED for me!! :D

  34. Thank you! I just shared your answer on my Fb biz page!

  35. thank you very much…header rows have been a frustration for me for some time now… ;)

  36. thanks for sharing.. it helps me.. :D

  37. Brilliant. Worked. Thanks a lot for the tip.

  38. I know this is an old post, but I just wanted to echo the thanks for sharing this. Your solution fixed a problem that’s been bugging me for a week. In my case, I think I caused it when I rejiggered a table from an old template and one of the later rows not connected to the actual header was marked to repeat.


  39. An old post but still helping many. Thanks a lot for sharing this.

  40. THANK YOU !!

  41. Amazing!!! It worked from the very first moment! Thx! :))

  42. Add me to the list of admirers. This worked for me, too. Thank you!

  43. Thanks you!!!!

  44. Finally it works, after everything else won’t. Thank you very much for you tips.

  45. This was the correct answer that worked for me. I also had the “Allow row to break across pages” unchecked in the table->properties->row tab. Thought this may have cause an issue with the repeating headers, but it was unrelated.

    Key thing is that you have to set the “repeat as header row at top of each page” for JUST the row that you want to repeat on each page. If you have more than one row with this option selected it seems to ignore repeating any row.

    You can remedy this using the table properties, or in Word 2010 use the Layout tab Data section to select the “repeat header for all rows” button.
    Per original solution above
    1)select the entire table, remove check mark to the “repeat header for all rows” by going to table->properties->row (you can also reach it in table layout tab on top ribbon).

    2) Select JUST the header row you want to repeat and check the repeat as header row at top of each page for just the row you want repeated using table->properties->row tab. You can also do this by selecting the row you want to repeat and then selecting the “repeat header for all rows” button in the Layout tab Data section in the ribbon on the top of the window.

  46. Brilliant, this just fixed the problem I was having. Thanks!

  47. OK – I tried everything!! Nothing worked. Finally I figured out that for each place where I wanted a new section of the table to begin at the top of a new page I was hitting Cntrl + Enter to make a new page break – but apparently creating two separate tables in the process. I did not thing they were. I could not simply get rid of the page break to fix the problem. I had to recopy the table rows on each new page back into the original table on page one to re-establish one complete table. Only then did the headers appear on each page. Would still like each section to begin at the top of a page though. One problem solved in my limited ability, another one to solve now!

  48. Hi John

    If you want a new section in the table to start on a new page, try using the ‘Page break before’ attribute in the Paragraph dialog box under the Line and Page Breaks tabs. If you have the Header Row repeat set, the header row WILL repeat on the new page too.


  49. soveld my problem, thanks!

  50. Thank you so much!

  51. Thanks – that worked. Such a small thing for such a big headache.

  52. Worked for me! This fix is four years old, but it looks like it’s still saving lives.

  53. Thanks. It 2014 and the fix is still working.

  54. thank you so much for the solution – had been trying to fix this problem for a day!!

  55. Thank-you! I was going crazy trying to figure out why this one table wouldn’t work. This fixed it.

  56. Simply is not working for me. :( Every time I highlight the first row and turn it into a Header Row, the “Header Row” checkbox stays checked no matter where in the table I click. I’m going completely bugnuts over here. I’ve checked compatibility mode, not it. Checked for extra lines, not it. Unchecked Header Row in all successive rows of the table, then Word unchecks the first row too. When I recheck the first row, it checks the rest of the table.

    Wrapping is at None. HALP!!

  57. That’s weird. If it’s only happening to one table, at some point you need to ask yourself whether it’s worth pursuing or easier to re-create the table.

    You could troubleshoot a bit further by splitting rows off the table (perhaps from the bottom and work up) and seeing if you can change the setting independently on these split rows. If you can, then do so, then take out the paragraph marks and join them back together.

    Or just re-create the table entirely.


  58. Rhonda–

    I tried c&p into a new document and back, but nope.

    I ended up just hacking it in two and forcing the format. I hate doing that because I’m a contract tech writer and I HATE fixing other people’s broken documents. I once wrote a short lesson entitled “The Spacebar is not the only formatting tool!”

    When I leave noob moves in my wake, I become sad. But software release is in two weeks.

  59. Again… Thanks! :)

  60. Also check that the “Allow row to break across pages” in the “Table Properties” ==> “Row” tab is NOT selected. If this is selected, no matter what you do, it will not repeat the header row.

  61. I cut and pasted the table into a new Word doc, made sure that none of the rows were specified as header rows, and then was able to set the top row as a header row. The setting was no longer grayed out. I then cut and pasted the table back into the original Word doc and deleted the faulty table.

    I also have used that tactic when other objects, such as images, misbehave.

  62. Thank you so much; I’ve been battling with this but your suggestion totally worked.

  63. Does not work for me. I selected the entire table, ‘repeat header rows’ was not selected so I selected 1st row and made it header row – didn’t work. I tried a second time, selected whole table, header row still not selected but selected it and immediately unselected. Selected top row, made it header row and it still does not work. Any more suggestions?

  64. Hi Carla

    Did you try this first: https://cybertext.wordpress.com/2010/03/26/word-header-row-wont-repeat/?


  65. THANK YOU!!!

  66. There is another cause of this problem. If you have a table within a table, the heading rows in the nested table will not repeat. (Caution: you be unable to see that a table is nested if the borders of the larger table are invisible.) The solution is to denest.

  67. Thanks! It worked for me-:)

  68. Thanks. It worked for me, too.

  69. Thank you thank you thank you – you’ve just saved me from a Word-fuelled meltdown! :-)

  70. Thanks! Every time I hit repeat header, it duplicated the entire table and I didn’t check duplicate header initially, so I don’t know why it did that, but, after 3 hours of trying to fix this, your blog did the trick!!!!

  71. Thank you! There’s another solution at the following address on this blog too. It didn’t work for me but may work for others:


  72. I may have found another reason why header rows wont repeat. I was trying to get them to repeat but to no avail. Out of frustration i tried sorting and was told it’s not possible cos all my rows are header rows!

    Turns out, one of the default table formats caused all the rows to be formatted as headers..

  73. Yep — that’ll cause it as well!

  74. Thanks! This was driving me crazy.

  75. Thank you so much! worked perfectly…it was driving me nuts :-)

  76. Thank you so much!! I was becoming unbelievably frustrated with this very issue!

  77. Thanks a million. I’ve been working with Word/Excel since the mid 80s and have never encountered this problem before. It worked!

  78. Brilliant! Thank you

  79. Yeah! Thank you!

  80. thanks solved my problem too…

  81. Aaah! solved thanks a mill Rhoda.

  82. Wow. Thanks so much. It was driving me crazy! This worked. I find all of Office 2010 to have many issues including email, excel and word. I thought new versions were supposed to be better, not worse. Irritating.

  83. So the first message fixed my first spreadsheet, but I had another one just like it. And just like in the second message, the first fixes did not work. But this one that says, just select the header row, not the whole table, and hit repeat, it worked! Like I said, why in the world did Microsoft make 2010 a POS?

  84. This worked great. I was able to show my manager who also wanted to know how to do it. Thank you so much.

  85. Thanks! Solved my problem

  86. Thanks

  87. Thank you, this solved my problem too!

  88. Many thanks for the solution!!! worked for me…

  89. Ah ha!!!!!!!!!!! It worked, I was going crazy trying to figure this out! Thank you!!!

  90. Yes! It worked- thank you so much for this

  91. So…mine wasn’t wrapping OR having table header checked for the whole table. This was data pasted in from a web application, so I figured it must have brought in some hidden data. I selected the whole table, converted to text (tabs), removed formatting, then cut (Ctrl-X). What I found then was a HIDDEN tiny table that had hitchhiked in and was messing things up (clue was when I tried to select a row with the arrow on the left of the row, it selected the whole table). I deleted the hidden junk, pasted my other text back, turned it back into a table (Insert, table) and proceeded to format…Header worked fine!

  92. thank you very much, I’m almost crazy :))))

  93. Thanks! That did the trick. Joining the other crazies for a drink!

  94. Lifesaver :) thankyou!

  95. Thank you so much. The text wrapping needed to be set to NONE. After that it worked and now header row works. Sure would be nice if MS would make this a little more apparent.

  96. I am so grateful that I found your solution. My table issues have been resolved! Thanks!

  97. THANK YOU!!!!!

  98. Thank you very much. I am really grateful.

  99. Excellent!!

  100. thanks… was about to give up and you saved the day.

  101. thank you so much for this tip!

  102. AWESOME that was a good and quick fix, just unselecting the repeat header in the entire table and then going back to the header row ONLY highlighting it and THEN checking the repeat header row box. You are a Genius.

  103. Omaigosh! It work!! I can’t believe it! I almost cry out of happiness. Thank you so much!

  104. Thank you for this! it was driving me nuts!

  105. This is AMAZING! I LOVE THE INTERNET! I have been going crazy trying to figure out why this table someone gave me wouldn’t work. THANK YOU!

  106. Thank you.

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