Word and Pre-Printed Letterhead

Well, comments to my recent posts are generating more topics for me to discuss. Paul Berkowitz is one of our Mac Word MVPs, and he has a couple of items he’d like me to talk about. Before I do, though, I want to point out how valuable our MVPs are. Not only has Paul, along with our other MVPs, been a valuable resource to users in the Microsoft newsgroups, he’s played an important role in making our products better. In particular, you can thank Paul for much of the extent to which Office 2004 implements AppleScript. I know there are still some quirks to work out, but it wouldn’t have been anywhere near as good as it is without Paul’s very insightful feedback. The thing about MVPs is these people do this, and the only thing they get for their trouble is a once-a-year opportunity to meet with the product teams and give us sometimes very pointed feedback. Thank you, Paul.

Paul wants to know how to set the top margin for just the first page of a document so that he can use pre-printed letterhead, without having to insert a section break manually for the first page of text. He’d just rather have the first page have one set of margins and have the second page have standard margins without having to use multiple sections. Unfortunately, there’s no way to do this by adjusting margins. Sections can only have one set of margins, and the only way to have different margins within a document is to have different sections.

However, there’s another way to accomplish the same result while not adjusting page margins. Sections can have a separate header/footer for the first page than the headers and footers that will be used on subsequent pages. Moreover, if a header has an object in it that extends below the default margin, it’s possible to push the text in the main body down on the page to whatever location you want. Here’s how.

From the Format menu, select Document. In the dialog that comes up, switch to the Layout tab. In the “Headers and Footers” section, make sure that the “Different first page” check box is checked, and click <OK>.

Next, select “Header and Footer” from the View menu, which will drop you into the first-page header. If the drawing toolbar is not yet visible, bring it up using View/Toolbars/Drawing. Then click on the rectangle tool, and drag out a rectangle, starting at the very top of the header (you can used the dashed lines outlining the header as a guide) and make it as tall as you want. You can also just drag out a rectangle and use the formatting palette to set the height to exactly what you want.

Once you have the rectangle drawn out, change the line color to “no line” and set the transparency to 100%. Lastly, set the wrapping style to “top and bottom,” and voila! You now have an effective first-page margin that’s equal to the height of the rectangle plus the .5” standard margin for the header from the top of the page. Save this document as a template, and now you have a quick way to start typing a letter that will be printed with a pre-printed letterhead on the first page.

Lastly, if your printer supports multiple paper trays, in the Print dialog, when you print, select “Paper Feed” from the options menu, and you can tell Word to print the first page from one paper tray and the rest of the document from another paper tray.

Just as a general tip, any time you want to have something special happen on just the first page of a document, you can often accomplish what you want through a combination of “different first page” for headers/footers and a well-placed graphic or drawn object.

There have been some other requests for further information in comments, and I’ll talk about those in future posts. Also, I’m not always sure if I’ve been clear enough, so don’t hesitate to ask for more information on a topic I’ve covered.