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How to Insert a Footnote in Word (Step-by-Step)

Footnotes are notes placed at the bottom area of a page. It allows you to cite references or comment on a concept without overstuffing the main text.

Inserting and managing footnotes in Microsoft Word is very simple. If you add more than one footnotes in a document, it’ll number them automatically for you. And clicking on a footnote in Word will jump to it, or place your mouse on the footnote mark to read the note as a tooltip.

Illustration of endnote in Word

How to Insert footnote in Word

To footnote in MS Word, select the text you want the footnote to reference and press Ctrl+ Alt+F (shortcut) to open the footnote section, then type the footnote text.

For detailed steps on how to add footnotes in Word, follow the instructions below.

  • Select the text you want the footnote to reference.
Select the text you want the footnote to reference
  • Go to Reference > Footnotes > Insert Footnote.
  • Alternatively, press Ctrl+ Alt+F on the keyboard.
Go to Reference>Footnotes>Insert Footnote

As soon as you click on the Insert Footnote command, MS Word will superscript a number by the selected text. The insertion pointer then moves to the bottom area of the page, waiting for you to type your footnote text. There’s also a horizontal line that separates the main text from the footnote text. This line can be removed though – I’ll show you how in a moment.

Type your footnote text in bottom area of your Word document
  • Type the footnote text
How to add a footnote in Word
  • Click back into your document main text area and continue editing.

Changing the Footnote number format

The Microsoft Word’s footnote has a habit of numbering your footnotes as you add them into your document. You can change the number format of the footnote so that it can use either roman numerals or other numbering options.

To change the number format of your document’s footnote:

  • Click on the more options command for Footnotes under the Reference tab.
Click on More options in the Footnote group under the References tab
  • The Footnote and Endnote dialog appears. Under the Format category, click to select the numbering format of your choice, then click Apply to save the settings.
Select the numbering format of you choice and click on the Apply button

Richard C Day

Saturday 24th of December 2022

Do the endnotes show up when you print the page?

Abarika Abdulai

Friday 20th of January 2023

Footnotes and endnotes are not displayed in printouts by default. You can, however, change this.


Thursday 6th of January 2022

thank you- this helped a lot since i am doing a national history day paper haha