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For a documentclass{article} document, I would like to print a word on the right edge of my footer on the first page, otherwise I would like all headers and footers to be empty (no page numbers). I assume I can use fancyhdr to accomplish this, but the documentation is a little beyond me (it contains a few examples, but it doesn't explain what all the different options are or what they do).

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The Wikibook LaTeX section Page Layout: Customising with fancyhdr (which is among the first Google hits for "fancyhdr") might help you with using fancyhdr. – doncherry Jul 25 '12 at 16:06
up vote 3 down vote accepted

You can use \thispagestyle{fancy} for the first page, and \pagestyle{empty} for the rest:

enter image description here

\usepackage{lipsum}% http://ctan.org/pkg/lipsum
\usepackage{fancyhdr}% http://ctan.org/pkg/fancyhdr
\fancyhf{}% Clear all headers/footers
\renewcommand{\headrulewidth}{0pt}% No header rule
\renewcommand{\footrulewidth}{0pt}% No footer rule
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With fancyhdr you can declare a page style to contain the special footer and declare this pagestyle for the first page; for the other pages you can use the empty page style. A little example:

\usepackage{lipsum}% just to generate text for the example

  \fancyfoot[R]{Some special text}



enter image description here

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