How-To Geek

How to Use Footnotes in Microsoft Word

A footnote is a note that appears at the bottom of a page that is commonly used by writers to cite other authors publication in their document. We will show you how to manage footnotes in Microsoft Word.

Inserting a Footnote

To start inserting a footnote place your mouse cursor at the document where you want to put the footnote and click the ‘Insert Footnote’ button under the ‘Reference’ tab.


Word automatically assigns a number and a line separator at the bottom of the page when we insert a footnote.


Each footnote will be marked as a superscript number beside each reference point in the document.


Rest your cursor for a few seconds beside each footnote reference mark to see the footnote or click the ‘Next Footnote’ button in the reference tab to navigate from one footnote to another.


Custom Footnote Format

We can insert custom footnote format  by clicking on the small arrow icon in the reference tab.


Our footnotes can have different number format and special characters.


We can even convert our footnotes to endnotes by clicking on the ‘Endnotes’ radio button under the ‘Location’ section.


Reusing Footnote

Microsoft Word maintains a list of footnotes in a document as a ‘cross-reference’ list.

cross-reference section

We can reuse each footnote in other part of the document.


So that’s how to create footnote in Microsoft Word. Of course footnote is only one of the referencing styles that Word supports. We can also create a bibliography with all sort of referencing style.

Zainul spends his time trying to make technology more productive, whether it’s Microsoft Office applications, or learning to use web applications to save time.

  • Published 11/3/10

Comments (8)

  1. Kevin

    Good post. Thank you. I needed this a long time ago

  2. Hans Ecker

    Thanks, but do you have an advice for formatting font size for all footnotes in Word 2010?

    It seems to me as if this functionality got lost since Word 2010??

  3. Hans Ecker

    PS: My goal is to reduce font size for all footnotes in that Word 2010 document, because there are often more than 7 footnotes which takes to much space!

  4. Hans Ecker

    Facebook has answered:

    Microsoft Word
    Hi Hans – Try pressing Ctrl+Shift+S to display the Apply Styles dialog and type Footnote Text into the Style control and then click on Modify. Hope this helps!

  5. DebbieT

    I have Office 2010 Home & Student. I’ve been creating a document with footnotes. The last time I added a footnote, the 6th one, it numbered it #1, so now the document has two #1s. What is going on? I do NOT have tracking on, which has been one of the solutions I’ve seen on the web.

  6. some Footnote dude

    Hans Ecker THANK YOU

  7. Professor Juniper

    Professor Elm from New Bark Town says:
    “Cookies and milk are yummylicious before bed!” 8-D

    Professor Oak from Pallet Town is worried about Elm. Perhaps he’s been stressed lately… Or maybe those Sentret Tackled him a bit too much… The Pidgey might have Pecked him, too…

    Anyway, we all know this won’t end well.

  8. GGia

    Thank you for sharing CTL-Shift-S which permits formatting of footnotes in Word 2010.

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