How to Add a Running Head in Google Docs: A Step-by-Step Guide

Adding a running head to your Google Docs can seem tricky, but it’s actually pretty straightforward. A running head is a header that appears on each page of your document, and it typically includes the title of the paper or the page number. In just a few clicks, you can have a professional-looking running head that meets all your formatting needs.

Step by Step Tutorial: Adding a Running Head in Google Docs

Before we dive into the steps, let’s clarify what we’re aiming for. A running head is a repeated header that will show up on every page of your Google Doc. It’s often required for academic papers, and it can really make your document look polished and professional.

Step 1: Open the Header Section

Click on the “Insert” tab, then select “Header & page number,” and finally, click on “Header.”

When you do this, a new section will appear at the top of your document. This is where your running head will go. You might notice that the text you type here will appear fainter than the rest of your document – that’s normal!

Step 2: Enter Your Running Head

Type the text for your running head in the header section.

Remember to keep it brief. If you’re writing an academic paper, often this will be a shortened version of your title. If you’re including a page number, don’t worry about typing it here – we’ll get to that in the next step.

Step 3: Insert Page Numbers

Still in the header section, click on “Insert,” then “Header & page number,” and then “Page number.” Choose the option that places the page number in the header.

This will automatically number each page for you, which is a huge time-saver. If you need to adjust the formatting or the position of the page number, you can do that by highlighting the number and using the toolbar options.

Step 4: Format Your Running Head

Adjust the font, size, and alignment of your running head as needed.

Make sure that your running head conforms to any style guidelines you’re following, like APA or MLA. The header toolbar will have all the options you need to get your font just right.

Step 5: Double Check Your Work

Scroll through your document to ensure the running head and page numbers appear correctly on each page.

It’s always a good idea to give your document a once-over to catch any mistakes. This is especially important if your document includes a title page that shouldn’t have a running head or page number.

After completing these steps, your document will have a consistent running head on every page. This adds a level of professionalism to your work and is often a requirement for academic papers.

Tips for Adding a Running Head in Google Docs

  • Make sure your running head is in all caps if required by your formatting style.
  • If your document starts with a title page, you may need to adjust settings so the running head doesn’t appear on the first page.
  • Keep your running head concise to avoid it taking up too much header space.
  • Use the “Different first page” option if your first page requires a different header.
  • Remember to save your document after adding your running head to prevent losing your work.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I remove a running head from a single page?

To remove a running head from a single page, you can use the “Different first page” option in the header settings.

Can I add a running head to a Google Doc on my mobile device?

Yes, you can add a running head on the Google Docs app by tapping on the header section and entering your text.

Is a running head required for all documents?

No, a running head is typically used for academic papers or other formal documents. It’s not necessary for less formal writing.

How do I change the running head on different pages?

If you need a different running head on various pages, you can check the “Different first page” option and manually change headers on those pages.

What should I do if my page numbers aren’t showing up correctly?

Double-check that you’ve selected the correct page numbering option and ensure there’s no additional text interfering with the numbers.


  1. Open the Header Section
  2. Enter Your Running Head
  3. Insert Page Numbers
  4. Format Your Running Head
  5. Double Check Your Work


Adding a running head in Google Docs is a simple process that can greatly improve the appearance and professionalism of your document. Whether you’re writing an essay for school, a report for work, or any other type of document that requires a running head, following the steps above will help you get the job done quickly and accurately. Remember, the details matter when it comes to presentation, and a running head is one of those small details that can have a big impact. So take the time to add a running head to your Google Doc. It’s an easy way to make a good impression on anyone who reads your work.

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