How to Create a PowerPoint Footnote

Incorporate citations or references within your presentations

Microsoft PowerPoint provides a number of 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 your 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.

    screenshot of the Home ribbon in PowerPoint for Windows
  2. Select the Insert tab at the top of the PowerPoint interface, then select Header & Footer.

    screenshot of the Insert ribbon in PowerPoint for Windows
  3. Select the Slide tab (if it’s not already selected), then select the Footer checkbox.

    screenshot of the Header and Footer interface in PowerPoint for Windows
  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.

    screenshot of the Header and Footer interface in PowerPoint for Windows
  5. Your footnote should now be visible. To display your footnote indicators in the proper superscript format, select the number, letter, or symbol so that it's highlighted.

    screenshot of a highlighted footnote indicator in PowerPoint for Windows
  6. Select Home in the top-left corner of the PowerPoint interface, then select the diagonal arrow in the lower-right corner of the Font section in PowerPoint’s main toolbar.

    screenshot of the Dialog Box Launcher in PowerPoint for Windows
  7. Select the Font tab (if it’s not already selected). 

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

    You can raise or lower the position of the superscript by adjusting the Offset value.

    screenshot of the Font interface in PowerPoint for Windows
  9. Your footnote indicator will now be displayed in the proper superscript format. Repeat this as many times as necessary to convert all footnote indicators to the correct size.

    screenshot of a properly formatted footnote in PowerPoint for Windows

To remove footnotes, go to Insert > Header & Footer, then deselect the Footer checkbox 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 your 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.

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

    screenshot of the Insert ribbon in PowerPoint for macOS
  3. Select the Slide tab (if it’s not already selected), then select the Footer checkbox.

    screenshot of the Header and Footer interface in PowerPoint for macOS
  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.

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

    screenshot of the Header and Footer interface in PowerPoint for macOS
  6. Your footnote should now be visible. To display your footnote indicators in the proper superscript format, select the number, letter, or symbol so that it's highlighted.

    screenshot of a footnote in PowerPoint for macOS
  7. Select Home in the top-left corner of the PowerPoint interface, then select the Superscript icon (x2) in the Font section of PowerPoint’s main toolbar.

  8. Your footnote indicator will now be displayed in the proper superscript format. Repeat this as many times as necessary to convert all footnote indicators to the correct size.

If you want to remove a footnote, go to Insert > Header & Footer, then deselect the Footer checkbox 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. Select the Insert tab at the top of the PowerPoint interface, then select Text Box.

    screenshot of the Insert ribbon in PowerPoint Online
  2. A new text box will be added to your slide. Replace the placeholder text with a number, letter, or symbol. Select the text character so that it's highlighted, then select the Home tab.

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

    screenshot of the Font interface in PowerPoint Online
  4. Click-and-drag the entire text box to position it directly to the right of the text or image it’s referencing.

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

    screenshot of a footnote in progress in PowerPoint Online
  6. Click-and-drag the text box to the bottom of your slide. 

    screenshot of a footnote in PowerPoint Online