Word 2013 & 2016 – Table ‘repeat header row’ not working

Keeping true to being the source of much frustration for anyone wanting to do complicated formatting, Word 2013 has at times completely disregarded the ‘repeat header row’ setting – leaving you with a table that just doesn’t behave.

This has been observed in several documents, and no matter what options are selected the ‘Repeat as header row at top of each page’ option doesn’t work as expected, if at all.

MSWord2013-RepeatHeaderNotWorking1

The solution is simple, and quite baffling why it works where the other option does not.

  1. Select the table,
  2. at the top of the Window, under under ‘TABLE TOOLS’ open the ‘LAYOUT’ tab,
  3. click on the ‘Repeat Header Rows’ button.

MSWord2013-RepeatHeaderNotWorking2

For whatever reason, where the normal option fails to work this button some how fixes the table and makes the header row repeat across pages.

Help! What if this didn’t work!

Text wrapping must be set to ‘None’

With text wrapping enabled repeatable headers does not work.

  1. Right click on your table and select ‘Table Properties’
  2. On the ‘Table’ tab set ‘Text Wrapping’ to ‘None’
  3. Word2016-TableRepeatHeader1

Page breaks must NOT be in table

If a page break is inside the table repeatable headers will not work.

To check for page breaks:

  1. Enable the display formatting option on the ‘Home’ tab, under ‘Paragraph’
  2. Word2016-TableRepeatHeader2
  3. Look through the table for a page break and delete it, if there is one it will be at the bottom of the page (hence being a page break). You may also need to delete an empty line to join your table together again.
  4. Word2016-TableRepeatHeader3
  5. If you need the table to page break you will instead have to set a page break on the row.
  6. This is done by clicking on the row you want to start on the new page
  7. Then on the ‘Layout’ tab open the ‘Paragraph’ settings window (click on the little arrow icon next to ‘Paragraph’)
  8. Word2016-TableRepeatHeader4
  9. On the ‘Line and Page Breakstab tick ‘Page break before’ and click ‘OK’ to save the changes
  10. Word2016-TableRepeatHeader5

Nested tables

Repeatable header rows will not work for nested tables, that is, a table inside a table – make sure you only have one table.

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