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How to add footnotes in Word?

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If you are writing a research paper or a document and you need to cite the sources, you may need to add footnotes to your Word document. Footnotes are a valuable tool in academic writing, research papers, or any document where additional information needs to be provided without disrupting the flow of the main text. They help in providing context, explanations, and citations for sources used in the document. Additionally, footnotes make the document more professional and scholarly by indicating that the writer has done extensive research and has used credible sources.

Adding footnotes in Word is easy and in this article, we’ll dive into ways by which you can do that.

Two ways to add footnotes in Word

In Word, you can add footnotes in the following two ways:

Using the Reference tab

The References tab in Word is a section of the Word ribbon that contains tools and commands related to adding and managing references in a document. It is typically used in academic or research writing, where an accurate and proper citation of sources is important.

We’ll use the References tab to add footnotes in Word:

Step 1: Place the cursor on the document and then click on Reference > Insert footnote.

Step 2: Next, type the text that you want as a footnote and press Enter to return to the main text.

Using the keyboard shortcut

Word provides ample shortcuts that you can use quickly to perform functions. You add footnotes in Word via the Ctrl + Alt + F shortcut.

Also read: How to insert a Non-Breaking Space in Microsoft Word?

Customising footnotes in Word

You can customise your footnotes in Word. Customising footnotes in Word is important to ensure that they are clear, readable and easy to distinguish from the main text.

Step 1: Head to the Home tab and then select press the downward arrow in the Styles subsection.

Step 2: Now, click on Manage Styles.

Step 3: The sort order will be automatically set to Alphabetical. Don’t change it. Next, click on Modify to format footnotes as per your style.

Tips for using footnotes in Word

Here are some tips that might help you in using footnotes more effectively:

  • Use the footnotes sparingly, as too many of them can make the document cluttered and difficult to read.
  • Use footnotes to provide additional information that is relevant to the content, but not essential to the main text.
  • Keep footnotes concise and to the point. Avoid excess detail or tangents.
  • Use consistent formatting for footnotes throughout the document, including the font size, style and spacing.
  • Use footnotes to cite the sources properly, including the author’s name, publication, date, title of the work, and page number.

Frequently answered questions (FAQs)

Let us dive into some FAQs so that all your questions related to the topic are answered:

What is the shortcut for adding a footnote in Word?

You can use the following shortcut for adding a footnote in Word — Ctrl + Alt + F.

Where do you add footnotes?

Footnotes are added at the bottom of the page to cite the sources or give an explanation to the paragraph.

How do you add and edit footnotes in Word?

You can use the References tab and then click on Insert footnote or use the keyboard shortcut to add and edit footnotes in Word.

Also read: How to create a bookmark in Word?


Kumar Hemant

Deputy Editor at Candid.Technology. Hemant writes at the intersection of tech and culture and has a keen interest in science, social issues and international relations. You can contact him here: [email protected]

  • PT says:

    Great article on how to add footnotes in Word!

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