Word: Adding Sidebar Content to a Document

Posted February 26, 2007 by Aaron St. Clair in Microsoft Word

A sidebar is a standalone addition to the main document that resides on either side or on the top or bottom of the page. The sidebar is ideal for highlighting important additional information on the topic matter of the document. Due to its styling and orientation, this location really stands out to the reader.

Adding page layout to documents in Microsoft Word 2007 and MS Word 2010 will add style and flair. These versions of Word have several nice text boxes that are formatted as sidebars. Please note that Word 2011 for Mac does not have these options available.

1. Go to the page in your document that will contain the sidebar.

2. On the Ribbon, select the Insert tab.

3. In the Text section, click Text Box.

4. Select the style of sidebar for your document.

5. The sidebar will appear on the document. Click inside it to insert your text.

example of a sidebar in Word


About Aaron St. Clair

Aaron St. Clair is a tech guru studying Computer Science at Appalachian State University in Boone, North Carolina. When he's not tinkering with new gadgets, modding systems, or slaving away at the mercy of the Tech-Recipe overlords, you can find him exploring the high country.
View more articles by Aaron St. Clair

The Conversation

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  • McDD

    Okay you told me how to add a sidebar and its purpose, thanks, but in case I change my mind how do I delete it…

  • Seattle Inspector

    Possible to create a side bar outside of the doc to jump from section to section during editing?

    • http://www.berylsingletonbissell.com Beryl S Bissell

      In Word 2007, I used to have a convenient sidebar that listed my chapters which made it easy to jump from section to section. It showed on every page and was very helpful. How can I do this with Word 2010? Thank you for your help.

      • http://www.tech-recipes.com/ Aaron St. Clair

        I’m not sure what you mean by “chapters”. Are you writing a book? If so, are you using some sort of template? That functionality sounds like it’s simply using the Navigation Pane. What you would do in Word 2010 is click the View tab at the top, then in the area labeled “Show”, there’s options for Ruler, Gridlines and Navigation Pane. Check the Navigation Pane box. Then, select the chapter title text, and on the Home tab, in the area labeled “Styles”, select Heading 1 to set your chapter title as a heading. This should make it show up in the Navigation Pane.

  • Anonymous

    What is the “Ribbon”? Something only available after 2007? (I have 2004 (mac) and XP).

  • Anonymous

    How do you create a page (template) which will have the text box appear in every page?

  • carol jean

    I need a template for typing one a day devotional thoughts (one to the page) but with the scripture references at the side as footnotes, instead of at the bottom. I need them to automatically put the number, smaller type, etc as in a regular footnote, but located on the line where I insert footnote. Is this possible? I don’t want to format each page, just a blank template which could be used.

  • Arriel

    Thanks! this helped me a lot!

  • Mywell

    Thanks. It was very helpful

  • brittany

    Im doing a test in word processing, it wont let me use this way. its says to try another way?

    • http://www.tech-recipes.com/ Aaron St. Clair

      I’m not sure what you mean by “it says to try another way”. If you’re using Word 2007 or newer, this method should work every time. A bit more detail might help me in answering your question!

  • Meg

    Is there a way to have the sidebar created repeat on every page? The same way that a header does so that if a change is made to the original all subsiquent pages will also change?

    • http://www.tech-recipes.com/ Aaron St. Clair

      > Hmm, that’s a very good question. I’ll look into it and reply when I’ve figured it out =)

      • Kristen

        I’d love to know the answer to this too – I have used Publisher in the past to set up a report template that gives me a side bar on every page – which I then use to insert quotes or additional data tidbits. But I have to use Word in my current job and can’t figure out how to even insert a solid line, say, two and half inches away from the right hand margin for purposes of visually creating a side bar on every page.

    • PeterMcC

      If you want the sidebar to appear on each page and change all pages if a change is made to the text on one page, then click to edit header, insert the appropriate style of text box and edit to taste. Even though the side bar is notionally in the header, it doesn’t mean that the insterted text box can only be placed in the section defined as the header area.

      If you want different text in the sidebar on different pages, do as above but separate each page by making each one a separate section and giving each section its own sidebar and text. That way, you won’t update the page’s sidebar text as a result of changing the sidebar on any other page.

      • Meg

        This doesn’t seem to work for me as I also have a repeating header. Suggestions?

  • Connie

    well I accidentally created this sidebar thing on a 13 page document and I need to remove it but cannot find out how.
    It ‘appears’ that this thing showed up when I clicked on accept formatting (there was a bracketed thing with bullets and formatting message on the right side). Using word 2010- sure is confusing compared to simple 2003 version.

  • Connie

    Just figured it out. Under review, tracking, select final and that cleared the right sidebar. Thanks for the info on the sidebar though. Nice to know ‘how to’ when needed and this helped me to find the solution

  • Jean

    I am a senior and really appreciate your step by step directions.