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The other day I was asked by my boss to convert our product sheets to editable word documents for translation purposes. Now I am somewhat reluctant to let other people mess with my design. Especially if they have no idea about design or layout in general. My biggest concern is that they are going to somehow mess up the design or product photos (which is quite easy to do in Word). In situations like these I normally ask for the translated text in a word document and paste it in myself, making sure everything looks as it should. This time however I remembered an old trick, the Page header.

The page Header (or Footer) allows you to place layout items in a locked layer behind your word document, not just for header (or footer) text, page numbering, company name etc. but also background images, text blocks and so on.

First I opened my original document in Illustrator (my program of choice) and removed all text from the document. Leaving behind all the background graphics. I saved that as a high-resolution JPEG image. I also saved the product image as a transparent PNG image, and decided to replace the stamped seal with another logo. Now I was ready to put it all together in the Word Document. Here’s how I did just that. I use Word 2010 but this will work in any word version.

  • Open Word and create a blank document
  • Choose the Insert tab and click the Header Button, choosing a Blank Header
  • Delete any text objects visible

You can leave the Header size as is. There is no need to change that.

  • Again, Click the Insert Tab and Choose Picture
  • Browse to the image you want to use and click OK.

The image will be placed somewhere on the page much smaller than anticipated. Now, this is the image I want to cover the entire page so naturally I need to scale it and place it floating outside the page margins. In order to do that we need to change how the image is being wrapped.

  • With the Image active, In the Format Tab, click Wrap Text
  • Choose “behind Text”

This will place the image as a floating picture behind any text in the header. Clicking the image will now allow you to move the image any way you want.

  • I first place the image in the top left corner about 2-3 mm outside the page border.
  • Then Scale the image to cover the page and about 2-3 mm outside the page border (in the bottom right corner)
    If you scale the image holding the SHIFT button, the image is scaled to proportion.
  • Adjust the image position if necessary

Next, I wanted to add the product image and a theme logo.

  • Again clicking the Insert Tab, choosing Picture.
  • Repeating the steps from the background image I positioned the images where I wanted them.

Last thing I did before finishing off the layout was to add the Product name as this is the same in all languages.

  • In the Insert Tab, Click Text Box and choose “Simple text Box”
  • Place the text box on your page and add the text you’d like.
  • Format the text

In my design the product text is supposed to be vertical aligned so I did that.
The Word text box has a White background with a black border as default. In order to make everything look good I changed it.

  • With the text box active, Click the Format Tab and set Shape Fill to No Fill and Shape Outline to No Outline (see the above picture).
  • Repeat this step on all text boxes in the page

Click the Header & Footer Tools Design Button and Close Header And Footer.

Adding the replaceable text

At this point you have an empty document with all the layout elements grayed out.  All that’s left is to add a few text boxes using the same layout on them as we did in the Header Section. Then add the text.

Now I am able to send this document (along with the fonts) to whomever are going to translate the text, without worrying about them making a mess of my layout.





About Thomas

Computer geek from the age of 7, which amounts to 30 years of computer experience. From the early days (when every computer company had their own OS) of DOS, Windows 1.0 through Seven...

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2 thoughts on “Word: Use Page Header as layout Layer [Quick Tip]”

  1. Mark Price says:

    genius. so simple i missed it. Thanks, Mark Price

    1. Thomas says:

      glad you liked it :-)

Comments are closed.

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