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How to Add Footnotes in Word? [For Students]

June 5, 2024
2.3K Views

Being a student can be tough. They say it’s one of the best days of your life, but with all the assignments and thesis work, it can definitely take the fun out of it. To excel as a student, you need to ensure you submit your best work. That means your essays need to be convincing, with all the right citations placed correctly. In this article, I’ll show you  how to add footnotes in Word for students so you can properly cite your sources.

How to Add Footnotes in Word for Students


Footnotes in APA, MLA and Chicago Format

You haven't truly completed the format if you haven't added the citations and footnotes in the right way. Citations are a crucial component of academic writing, ensuring you give proper credit to sources and maintain scholarly integrity. Each citation style—APA, MLA, and Chicago—has its own specific rules for citing sources and adding footnotes. This can get complicated, especially when you're trying to meet tight deadlines or juggle multiple assignments. Here's what proper citation and footnote placement looks like when you are aiming to meet your academic standards:

  • APA format:

In APA format, footnotes are used by inserting superscript numbers in the text that correspond to the footnote numbers. Here's how to format footnotes:

  1. Double-space footnotes.

  2. Indent the first line.

  3. Add a space between the superscript number and the note text.

For example, in a research paper, you might cite a book like this:

Antony Grafton, The Footnote: A Curious History (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1999), 221.

And a chapter from a book might be cited like this:

W. Jones and R. Smith, 2010, Photojournalism, 21, p. 122. (Copyright 2007 by Copyright Holder. Reprinted with permission.)

These footnotes include detailed citations, including author names, book titles, publication years, and page numbers.

Footnotes APA Format


  • MLA format:

In MLA format, footnotes are used for citing sources within the text. Here's how to format footnotes:

  1. Place superscript numbers within the text to correspond with the footnote numbers.

  2. Include detailed citation information in the footnote.

  3. Single-space entries, with double-spacing between footnotes.

Footnotes MLA Format


  • Chicago Format:

In Chicago style, footnotes are used for citing sources within the text. Here's how to format footnotes:

  1. Place superscript numbers within the text to correspond with the footnote numbers.

  2. Include detailed citation information in the footnote.

  3. Separate multiple citations with semicolons.

  4. Ensure consistency in citation style throughout the document.

Footnotes Chicago Format


How to Add Footnotes in Your Essay?

Adding footnotes correctly is incredibly important for academic writing, allowing you to reference sources and add explanations or additional information. To ensure you do this right, follow the steps below, designed to be compatible with various devices. To make sure you can follow along on your mobile, Windows, or Mac, I'll use WPS Office for the demo. It's a free office software that's compatible with all Word document versions and can even convert your papers to PDF without losing format.

1.On the References tab

As we move forward in this tutorial, let's address a common query students encounter when working on projects under strict professorial guidelines: how to add footnotes and endnotes in a Word document. Word simplifies this process. By navigating to the "Reference" tab, you can effortlessly insert footnotes and endnotes in your document.

Step 1: Let's launch WPS Writer, a simplified yet advanced writing software, and open our project where we need to insert footnotes.

Step 2: Now, within our document, place the cursor where you want to add the footnote.

Step 3: Next, the option to insert a footnote is located in the "Reference" tab. So, navigate to the Reference tab and click on "Insert Footnote" in the reference ribbon.

Step 4: A subscript will be added next to the text where you placed the cursor, and you will be directed to the bottom of the page where the footnote will appear.

Insert Footnote in Word document using WPS Writer


That's how easily footnotes can be added in WPS Writer for your school projects. Another significant reason for using WPS Writer was its user-friendly interface, making it easy for me as a student. Additionally, it is budget-friendly while providing all the necessary tools.

2.Footnotes formatting

Probably the most important thing to keep in mind is the style requested by the instructor to follow: APA, MLA, or any other. Different styles entail different formatting. In this part, I'll show you how to add footnotes in APA style formatting. So, let's open WPS Writer and delve into formatting our footnotes.

Step 1: The first thing to remember is proper footnote referencing; ensure to follow the citation format when adding it to the footnote.

WPS Writer Footnote


Step 2: To change the numbering format or starting position of your footnotes, right-click on your footnotes and select "Footnote/Endnote" from the context menu.

Footnote/Endnote option in the WPS Writer Context Menu


Step 3: In the Footnote and Endnote dialog box, select the numbering format according to the style in the "Number Format" field.

Step 4: Using the "Start at" field, you can start numbering your footnotes as desired.

Footnote and Endnote options in WPS Writer


Step 5: In APA style, our footnotes should be double-spaced. So, let's select our footnotes and navigate to the Home tab.

Step 6: In the Home ribbon, click on the "Line Spacing" icon and select "2.0" to change the line spacing to double.

Footnote Spacing in WPS Writer
To change the line spacing to double for footnotes, select them and use the shortcut key "Ctrl + 2".
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With these easy steps, you'll be creating well-structured and formatted footnotes in no time. WPS Writer lets you concentrate on your writing and leaves the technicalities to the software. With a simple and clean interface and powerful tools that support all student needs, WPS Writer is my preferred choice for my writing needs. Plus, there's no bill at the end of each month just for using a writing software!

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Bonus Tips

1.How to Revise Your Essay Easily?

When you're tackling a long essay, going through every sentence to ensure correct grammar, spelling, and formatting can be quite the challenge. This task can be especially daunting when you're juggling multiple assignments or working under tight deadlines. Thankfully, you don’t have to worry about any of that because with its WPS AI spell check and AI writer functions, you can automatically scan your essay for spelling errors, grammatical mistakes, and formatting inconsistencies.

The AI spell check feature helps you correct typos and other errors in real time, allowing you to focus on refining your ideas rather than hunting for misplaced commas or incorrect word choices. The AI writer function can also help you refine your writing style, offering suggestions for rewording sentences to make them clearer or more impactful. This combination of automated proofreading and writing assistance saves you time and ensures that your essay maintains a high standard of quality, allowing you to submit your work with confidence.

To ensure your thesis/assignment is error-free, let's utilize the WPS AI Spell Check to proofread your document.

Step 1: Open your document in WPS Writer and ensure the "AI Spell Check" toggle is activated in the status bar.

WPS AI Spell Check in Status bar


Step 2: Click on any incorrect word or phrase highlighted with a colored dotted underline in your document.

Step 3: This action will open the WPS AI Check pane on the right side of the screen.

Step 4: You will see all suggestions in the "All Suggestions" tab. To view different suggestions, click on each tab and make the correction.

WPS AI Spell Check


2.How to Convert Word to PDF without Losing Format

Dealing with your thesis or professional essay requires very careful attention to detail, especially when it comes to proper formatting and final submissions. However, converting your essay to PDFwhich is a crucial step for academic or professional submissions—can be a source of frustration, particularly when using Microsoft Word 365, where the process might disrupt your APA or MLA formatting.

Unexpected changes in margins, font sizes, or spacing can turn a polished document into a chaotic one. WPS Office is really helpful in regard to allowing you to convert your essay to PDF while preserving your original formatting. Unlike Word, WPS Office ensures that your APA or MLA style remains intact, with no unexpected shifts in headers, footnotes, or page layout. With just a few clicks, you can convert your document to PDF and be confident that it looks exactly as intended, avoiding last-minute adjustments.

Here is how WPS Writer can help you convert your work with footnotes into PDF in a few easy steps:

Step 1: Open your Word document in WPS Office. Look for the Menu button at the top left corner of the screen.

Step 2: Click on "Save as" in the menu. Then choose "Other formats".

Save options in WPS Office


Step 3: In the options, pick "PDF" from the list. Click "Save" to change your document to a PDF file.

Save document as PDF in WPS Office


FAQs about adding Footnotes in Word

1. How do you insert multiple footnotes in Word?

Here's a straightforward guide on how to insert multiple footnotes in Word:

Step 1: Position your cursor in the main text where you want the footnote number to be displayed.

Step 2: Navigate to the References tab located in the ribbon toolbar.

Step 3: Click on the "Insert Footnote" option. This action will direct you to the bottom of the page, where you can input your footnote text.

Step 4: Enter the content of your footnote according to the required style.

Step 5: Repeat the process for each additional footnote needed. Word will automatically adjust the numbering for you.

2. How do you put two footnotes in one sentence?

According to the Chicago Manual of Style (CMOS), if you have more than one citation relating to the same concept or idea, all relevant citations can be included in a single footnote, each separated by a semi-colon. This method ensures clarity and organization in your references

3. How do you footnote something already footnoted?

Place the Cursor: Click where you want to insert the new footnote.

Insert a Footnote: Use the "Insert Footnote" option, typically in the "References" or "Insert" tab.

Add Reference: In the new footnote, refer to the existing footnote. You can quote, summarize, or mention the original footnote number (e.g., "See footnote 1").

Check Footnote Numbering: Ensure that the numbering is correct. Adjust if needed.

Proofread: Confirm that the new footnote is clear and that the document's structure remains intact.

Stop Struggling with Footnotes: Here's the Word Hack You Need

Your essay isn't complete without proper citations, which usually come in the form of footnotes. Once you learn how to add footnotes in Word for students, it's crucial to double-check them to ensure they're correctly formatted and contain all the necessary information. This step is especially important to maintain academic integrity and avoid plagiarism. WPS AI can be a tremendous help in this regard. It can scan your document for errors, suggesting corrections if you've missed a citation or formatted something incorrectly. With WPS AI's assistance, you can confidently complete your footnotes, knowing that you've referenced your sources accurately and consistently. So do yourself a favor and download WPS Writer to make your academic life easier.

15 years of office industry experience, tech lover and copywriter. Follow me for product reviews, comparisons, and recommendations for new apps and software.