How to Insert Footnotes in Word 2010

Woman working on laptop with notepad

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Footnotes are used to reference text in your document. Footnotes appear at the bottom of the page, while endnotes are located at the end of a document. These are used to annotate text in your document and explain that text. You can use footnotes to give a reference, explain a definition, insert a comment, or cite a source.

Instructions in this article apply to Word for Office 365, Word 2019, Word 2016, Word 2013, and Word 2010.

About Footnotes

There are two parts to a footnote: the note reference mark and the footnote text. A note reference mark is a number that marks the in-document text, while the footnote text is where you type the information. Using Microsoft Word to insert your footnotes has the added benefit of having Microsoft Word control your footnotes as well.

This means that when you insert a new footnote, Microsoft Word will automatically number the selected text in the document. If you add a footnote citation between two other citations, or if you delete a citation, Microsoft Word will automatically adjust the numbering to reflect the changes. Microsoft Word also adjusts the bottom margins to accommodate the number of footnotes at the bottom of each page.

Insert a Footnote

Inserting a footnote is an easy task. With just a few clicks, you have a footnote inserted into the document.

  1. Click at the end of the word where you want the footnote inserted.

  2. Select the References tab.

    Screenshot of References tab in Word
  3. Select Insert Footnote in the Footnotes section. Microsoft Word shifts the document to the footnote area.

    Screenshot of Insert Footnote in Footnotes section
  4. Type your footnote in the Footnote text area. Click back inside the body of the document to leave the footnote.

    Screenshot of footnote in Word

Follow the above steps to insert more footnotes or create a macro to assign a keyboard shortcut to insert footnotes.

Read Footnotes

You do not have to scroll down to the bottom of the page to read a footnote. Simply hover your mouse over the number citation in the document and the footnote is displayed as a small pop-up, much like a tool-tip.

Change the Footnote Numbering

You can decide how you want your footnotes numbered, either starting at number 1 on each page or having continuous numbering throughout your document. Microsoft Word defaults to number continuously throughout the entire document.

  1. Select the on the Footnote & Endnote Dialog Box Launcher on the References tab in the Footnotes group.

    Screenshot of Footnote & Endnote Dialog Box Launcher.
  2. Choose the desired starting value in the Start At box.

    Screenshot of Start At in Footnote and Endnote dialog box
  3. Choose Continuous to have the footnotes have continuous numbering throughout the entire document.

    Choose Restart at Each Section to have footnotes restart numbering at each section, such as a new chapter in a long document.

    Choose Restart Each Page to have the numbering restart at the number 1 on each page.

    Screenshot of Continuous in Numbering list
  4. Choose a number format from the Number Format drop-down menu to change from the 1, 2, 3 numbering format to a lettering or roman numeral numbering style.

    Screenshot of Number Format list

Create a Footnote Continuation Notice

If your footnote is long and runs onto another page, you can have Microsoft Word insert a continuation notice. This notice will let readers know that it continued on the next page.

  1. Select Draft on the View tab in the Document View section. You must be in Draft view to complete this procedure.

    Screenshot of Draft in Views section of View tab
  2. Insert a footnote.

    Screenshot of footnote in Draft view
  3. Select Show Notes on the References tab in the Footnotes section.

    Screenshot of Show Notes
  4. Select Footnote Continuation Notice from the drop-down menu on the note panes.

    Screenshot of Footnote Continuation Notice
  5. Type what you want to readers to see, such as "Continued on Next Page."

    Screenshot of continuation notice

Delete a Footnote

Deleting a footnote is easy as long as you remember to delete the note citation within the document. Deleting the note itself will leave the numbering in the document.

  1. Select the note citation within the document.

  2. Press Delete on your keyboard. The footnote is deleted and the remaining footnotes are renumbered.

Change the Footnote Separator

When you insert footnotes, Microsoft Word also places a separator line between the text in the document and the footnote section. You can change how this separator appears or remove the separator.

  1. Select Draft on the View tab in the Document View section. You must be in Draft view to complete this procedure.

    Screenshot of Drafts on View tab
  2. Select Show Notes on the References tab in the Footnotes section.

    Screenshot of Show Notes in Draft view
  3. Select Footnote Separator from the drop-down menu on the note panes.

    Screenshot of Footnote Seperator
  4. Select the separator. Select Borders and Shading button on the Home tab in the Paragraph section.

    Screenshot of Borders and Shading
  5. Select a separator line style from the Style menu. You can also select a color and width.

  6. Make sure that only the top line is selected in the Preview section. If more lines are displayed, click on the bottom, left, and right line to toggle them off.

  7. Select OK. The newly formatted footnote separator is displayed.

Give it a Try!

Now that you see just how easy adding footnotes to your document can be, try it the next time you need to write a research paper or long document!