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Word Headers/Footers and the LinkToPrevious — Visual Basic Feng Shui

Word Headers/Footers and the LinkToPrevious

Filed under Office, Troubleshooting, Word

imageIf you’ve had to work much with Word’s Object Model, either from VBA macro scripts or C#/VB.net projects, you’ve probably dealt with Headers and Footers at one point or another. And Headers and Footers can be particularly convoluted things in Word.

I’m not going to try explaining the whole “three objects, but some exist and some don’t, and you have to jump through hoops to see them” issues of Headers and footers, but rather focus on one small element: LinkToPrevious.

As the name suggests, the LinkToPrevious property indicates whether the header or footer for a particular section is “Linked to” the same header/footer of the previous section. When linked, changing the header/footer of either section automatically changes the other, which makes sense.

Often, when scanning through the sections of a document, you’ll need to adjust headers and footers, to a common pattern in code is to check the LinkToPrevious property and if true, skip that header/footer. The reason is because, since it’s linked to the immediately previous section, and you’re scanning through all sections starting at the top, you’ve already processed it. Makes sense.

Except, that the LinkToPrevious property should NEVER be true for the header/footer of the FIRST section.

But it can be!

To prove it, create a document with two sections, set the header for the second section to “LinkToPrevious” true. Then delete the first section. If you do it right. You’ll end up with a single section document whose header is set LinkToPrevious True. Technically, this shouldn’t be possible and it certainly isn’t correct.

The end result is that if you’re scanning headers/footers like this, you have to check LinkToPrevious on all sections except the first.

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