How to Insert Footnotes in Word 2010

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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.

About Footnotes

Footnote Parts

Screenshot/Rebecca Johnson

There are two parts to a footnote: the note reference mark and the footnote text. The 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

Footnote Inseration


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.
  3. Click Insert Footnote in the Footnotes section. Microsoft Word shifts the document to the footnote area.
  4. Type your footnote in the Footnote text area.
  5. Follow the above steps to insert more footnotes or create a macro to assign a keyboard shortcut to insert footnotes.

Read Footnotes

Footnote flag


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. Click on the on the Footnote & Endnote Dialog Box Launcher on the References tab, in the Footnotes group.
  2. Choose the desired starting value in the Start box.
  3. Choose Continuous to have the footnotes have continuous numbering throughout the entire document.
  4. Choose Restart at Each Section to have footnotes restart numbering at each section, such as a new chapter in a long document.
  5. Choose Restart Each Page to have the numbering restart at the number 1 on each page.
  6. 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.

Create a Footnote Continuation Notice

Show Notes Option


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. Click Draft on the View tab in the Document View section. You must be in Draft view to complete this procedure.
  2. Insert your footnote.
  3. Click Show Notes on the References tab in the Footnotes section.
  4. Select Footnote Continuation Notice from the drop-down menu on the note panes.
  5. Type what you want to readers to see, such as Continued on Next Page.

Delete a Footnote

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. Click Draft on the View tab in the Document View section. You must be in Draft view to complete this procedure.
  2. Click Show Notes on the References tab in the Footnotes section.
  3. Select Footnote Separator from the drop-down menu on the note panes.
  4. Select the separator.
  5. Click the Borders and Shading button on the Home tab in the Paragraph section.
  6. Click Custom on the Settings menu.
  7. Select a separator line style from the Style menu. You can also select a color and width.
  8. 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.
  9. Click 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!