Google shows that I am not the first to have this problem: when I delete a section break, my header disappears too.
Here’s the set up: I have a Word document with two (or more sections), and headers (and/or footers) in the sections. I think this is fairly common.
But, when I delete the break between the two sections, the headers disappear completely.
This is a version large breed puppy problem: it results from Word trying to help you out … too much.
First off, Word keeps the information about headers at the end of the document/section (in the same way that the paragraph format is retained by the paragraph symbol at the end of each one).
Second, to make your life easier, Word allows you to have a document that is broken into sections, but retains the same header across those sections. This is activated by the “Link to Previous” button that you can see on the ribbon when you double-click a header.
One of the annoying things about Word is that when you have two paragraphs with different formats, and you delete the paragraph marker from the first paragraph, the two paragraphs merge into a larger version of the second one. That actually makes sense once you realize that the paragraph format is in the mark at the end of the paragraph … and you just deleted it.
The same works for sections: when you have two sections with different formatting, and you delete the section break, the merged section follows the formatting of the second section.
Which works great, except for the “Link to Previous” feature. Normally, we write from beginning to end of the document. The “Link to Previous” feature allows us to use the header from the part of the document we’ve already written for the new part we’re working on. That’s cool. But it also means that the new section doesn’t actually have it’s own header … it’s just copying the earlier one.
So, when you delete a section break, you delete the header from the first section. And if the second section has its header set as “Link to Previous”, you will no longer have a header in the merged section.
What to do? Well, this is an easy fix: turn off the “Link to Previous” first, and then delete the section break. You’ll be left with a merged section, and the header from the old first section.