How to Create a PowerPoint Footnote

Incorporate citations or references within your presentations

Microsoft PowerPoint provides several ways to annotate slides. If you need to cite an external document or elaborate on a particular item in a presentation, you should know how to add footnotes in PowerPoint.

Instructions in this article apply to PowerPoint 2019, PowerPoint 2016, PowerPoint 2013, PowerPoint Online, and PowerPoint for Microsoft 365 on Windows and Mac.

How to Insert a Footnote in PowerPoint for Windows

Follow these steps to add footnotes in the desktop version of PowerPoint for Windows:

  1. Select the text or image you wish to reference in the footnote and type a number to the right of it (preferably 1 if it's the first footnote on the slide). You can also use a letter or symbol if you prefer.

    the Home ribbon in PowerPoint for Windows
  2. Go to the Insert tab, then select Header & Footer.

    Header and Footer in PowerPoint
  3. In the Header and Footer dialog box, go to the Slide tab (if it isn't selected), then select the Footer check box.

    The Footer checkbox on the Slide tab
  4. In the Footer field, type the number, letter, or symbol you used in the first step followed by a space and then the text you wish to appear in your footnote. To display the footnote on the current slide, select Apply.

    To display the footnote on all slides, select Apply to All.

    The Footer text field and Apply button
  5. To display the footnote indicators in the proper superscript format, select the number, letter, or symbol so that it's highlighted.

    a highlighted footnote indicator in PowerPoint for Windows
  6. Go to the Home tab, and then select the diagonal arrow in the lower-right corner of the Font section.

    The More button in the Font panel
  7. In the Font dialog box, go to the Font tab (if it isn't selected). 

    he Font settings interface in PowerPoint for Windows
  8. Select Superscript in the Effects section to enable it, then select OK.

    To raise or lower the position of the superscript, adjust the Offset value.

    The Superscript option in the Font menu
  9. The footnote indicator displays in the proper superscript format. Repeat this as many times as necessary to convert all footnote indicators to the correct size.

    a properly formatted footnote in PowerPoint for Windows

To remove footnotes, go to Insert > Header & Footer, then clear the Footer check box and choose Apply or Apply to All.

How to Add a Footnote in PowerPoint for macOS

In the desktop version of PowerPoint for Mac, you can add footnotes as follows:

  1. Select the text or image you wish to reference in the footnote and type a number to the right of it (preferably 1 if it's the first footnote on the slide). You can also use a letter or symbol if you prefer.

    the Insert ribbon in PowerPoint for macOS
  2. Go to the Insert tab at the top of the PowerPoint interface, then select Header & Footer.

    The Header and Footer button
  3. In the Header and Footer dialog box, go to the Slide tab (if it isn't selected), then select the Footer check box.

    The Footer option
  4. In the Footer field, type the number, letter, or symbol you used in the first step followed by a space and then the text you wish to appear in the footnote.

    the Header and Footer interface in PowerPoint for macOS
  5. Select Apply to display the footer with the footnote text on the current slide, or select Apply to All to display this footer on all slides.

    the Header and Footer interface in PowerPoint for macOS
  6. To display the footnote indicators in the proper superscript format, select the number, letter, or symbol so that it's highlighted.

    a footnote in PowerPoint for macOS
  7. Go to the Home tab in the upper-left corner of PowerPoint, then select the Superscript icon (x2) in the Font section.

  8. The footnote indicator displays in the proper superscript format. Repeat this as many times as necessary to convert all footnote indicators to the correct size.

To remove a footnote, go to Insert > Header & Footer, then clear the Footer check box and choose Apply or Apply to All.

How to Create a Footnote in PowerPoint Online

The process of creating footnotes in PowerPoint Online is significantly different from its Windows and macOS counterparts, partially because the web version doesn't offer the ability to convert numbers, letters, or symbols to superscript.

To start, navigate to the slide where you wish to add a footnote, then follow these steps:

  1. Go to the Insert tab at the top of PowerPoint, then select Text Box.

    The Insert Text Box command
  2. A new text box is added to the slide. Replace the placeholder text with a number, letter, or symbol. Select the text character so that it's highlighted, then go to the Home tab.

    a new text box in PowerPoint Online
  3. Use the Font Size drop-down menu to modify the size of the footnote indicator to a number at least 3 points smaller than its accompanying text. This gives it the appearance of a superscript even though it's technically a smaller font.

    the Font interface in PowerPoint Online
  4. Drag the text box to position it to the right of the text or image it references.

    screenshot of a footnote indicator in PowerPoint Online
  5. Repeat step 1 to add another text box to the slide, then substitute the placeholder text with the same number, letter, or symbol used in step 2, followed by a space and the footnote description.

    screenshot of a footnote in progress in PowerPoint Online
  6. Drag the text box to the bottom of the slide.

    screenshot of a footnote in PowerPoint Online