How to Add a Footnote to Microsoft Word: A Step-by-Step Guide

Adding a footnote to your Microsoft Word document is an easy way to provide additional information, cite sources, or offer commentary without cluttering the main text. To do this, simply place your cursor where you want the footnote to appear, go to the “References” tab, click on “Insert Footnote,” and type your note at the bottom of the page.

After completing this action, a number or symbol will appear in the text where you placed your cursor, corresponding to the footnote at the bottom of the page. This provides a clear and unobtrusive reference for readers to follow for additional information.


Footnotes are a powerful tool in any writer’s arsenal. They allow you to provide extra information without interrupting the flow of your main text. Whether you’re writing an academic paper, a report, or any document that requires citations, knowing how to add a footnote in Microsoft Word can make your life a lot easier.

But why are footnotes so important? Well, for starters, they help you avoid plagiarism by properly citing sources. They also make your document look more professional and credible, as you’re showing readers that you’ve done your research. Plus, they’re really handy for giving readers extra insights or information without distracting them from the main content.

Whether you’re a student, a professional, or just someone who loves to write, learning how to add footnotes in Microsoft Word is a skill that will definitely come in handy. So, let’s dive in and get to grips with the nuts and bolts of footnote insertion, shall we?

Step by Step Tutorial: Adding a Footnote to Microsoft Word

Before we jump into the steps, it’s worth noting that adding a footnote in Microsoft Word automatically numbers the footnotes for you. This ensures consistency throughout your document and saves you the hassle of manually updating the numbering if you add or remove footnotes later on.

Step 1: Position Your Cursor

Place your cursor at the point in the text where you want the footnote to be referenced.

Once your cursor is in the right spot, you’re ready to insert the footnote. It’s important to place it at the end of the sentence or clause that the footnote will be referencing.

Step 2: Go to the “References” Tab

Click on the “References” tab in the top menu of Microsoft Word.

The “References” tab is where you’ll find all the tools you need for citations and references, including the footnote function.

Step 3: Click on “Insert Footnote”

In the “Footnotes” section of the “References” tab, click on “Insert Footnote”.

After clicking, a number or symbol will appear in the text, and you’ll be taken to the bottom of the page to type your footnote.

Step 4: Type Your Footnote

Type the text of your footnote at the bottom of the page.

Here, you can provide your additional information, citation, or commentary related to the text tagged by the footnote number or symbol.


ClarityFootnotes offer a way to include extra information without disrupting the reader’s flow through the main text.
CredibilityProperly citing sources through footnotes can lend credibility to your writing by showing you’ve done proper research.
ConsistencyMicrosoft Word automatically numbers footnotes, ensuring consistency and saving time if changes are made.


Page SpaceFootnotes can take up valuable page space, which might be limited, especially in printed documents.
DistractionSome readers might find footnotes distracting, as they can lead away from the main body of text.
LimitationsThere’s a limit to the amount of information you can include in a footnote before it becomes unwieldy or overwhelming.

Additional Information

When adding a footnote to Microsoft Word, there are a few additional things to keep in mind. First, consider the formatting of your footnotes. While Word will take care of numbering, the style of citation or additional information is up to you. Make sure to follow the appropriate style guide, whether it’s APA, MLA, or Chicago.

Also, think about the placement of your footnotes. While it’s common to place them at the end of a sentence, sometimes placing a footnote in the middle of a sentence might make more sense, especially if it pertains to a specific part of the sentence.

Remember that while footnotes are useful, they should not be overused. Only include footnotes when absolutely necessary to provide clarification or citation. Overloading your document with footnotes can make it difficult to read and may frustrate your audience.


  1. Position your cursor where you want the footnote reference.
  2. Click on the “References” tab.
  3. Select “Insert Footnote.”
  4. Type the text of your footnote at the bottom of the page.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do you delete a footnote?

To delete a footnote, remove the footnote number or symbol in the main text. Microsoft Word will automatically delete the corresponding footnote at the bottom of the page.

Can you customize the numbering style of footnotes?

Yes, you can customize the numbering style by clicking on the arrow in the “Footnotes” section of the “References” tab and choosing your preferred style.

How do you add a footnote to a table?

Place your cursor within the table where you want the reference number to appear, and then follow the same steps to insert a footnote.

Can you convert footnotes to endnotes?

Yes, you can convert footnotes to endnotes by right-clicking on the footnote text and selecting “Convert to Endnote.”

How do you restart footnote numbering on each page?

To restart footnote numbering on each page, go to the “Footnotes” settings in the “References” tab and select “Restart Each Page” under the numbering options.


Adding a footnote to Microsoft Word is a simple process that can greatly enhance your document’s clarity and credibility. Whether you’re a student writing a thesis, a professional preparing a report, or a writer sharing insights, footnotes are an essential tool in professional and academic writing.

By following the easy steps mentioned above, you can seamlessly insert footnotes into your documents and ensure that your readers have all the information they need without interrupting the flow of your main text. So go ahead, give it a try, and watch your writing improve!