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Changing How Footnote References Appear

Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Word versions: 97, 2000, 2002, and 2003. If you are using a later version (Word 2007 or later), this tip may not work for you. For a version of this tip written specifically for later versions of Word, click here: Changing How Footnote References Appear.

Nancy notes that for years she has used Word's footnotes with no problem. When she inserts a footnote, the footnote reference (in the footnote area) shows as a superscripted number. Some of the style guides that Nancy follows now specify that footnote references actually be regular (not superscripted) digits followed by a period. She wonders how she can get Word to handle this formatting automatically.

This is a bit more complex of a topic than it may at first appear. There are actually two footnote references—one in the main body of the document and the other at the beginning of the actual footnote. The appearance of both of these references is controlled by the Footnote Reference character style. If you change the formatting of this style, you change how the actual footnote reference appears.

The problem, of course, is two-fold. First, the Footnote Reference style is a character style, which means that it defines the appearance of the text itself, not the appearance of any special characters after the text, such as a period and a space or tab. Thus, you can change the Footnote Reference style so that the references appear as, say, unsuperscripted, but you cannot through the style specify that the reference be followed by a period.

The second problem is that even if you could define such special characters in the Footnote Reference style, it wouldn't help in this case. Because the style is used for the footnote reference in the main body of the document as well as at the beginning of the footnote itself, a change to the style affects both instances. So if you change the Footnote Reference style to display regular (unsuperscripted) text, then the references in both places—the document body and the footnote area—are affected.

There is a workaround you can use; one that involves doing some searching and replacing. Go ahead and insert your footnotes as you normally would. When you are all done (when you have no more footnotes to add to the document), follow these general steps:

  1. Display your document in Normal view (Draft view in Word 2007).
  2. Display the footnote pane and place the insertion pointer at the beginning of the first footnote in that pane.
  3. Display the Replace tab of the Find and Replace dialog box. (See Figure 1.) (You can press Ctrl+H to display the proper tab.)
  4. Figure 1. The Replace tab of the Find and Replace dialog box.

  5. In the Find What box, enter "^02" (without the quote marks). This specifies that you want to search for footnote references.
  6. In the Replace With box, enter "^&." (again, without the quote marks). This specifies that you want to replace what is found with whatever is in the Find What box, followed by a period.
  7. With the insertion point still in the Replace With box, click the Format button and choose Font. (If you can't see the Format button, you'll need to click the More button first.) Word displays the Find Font dialog box.
  8. Make sure the Superscript check box is cleared.
  9. Click OK to close the Find Font dialog box.
  10. Click Replace All.

That's it. Word does the Find and Replace operation only within the footnotes area of the document. It replaces any footnote references with an unsuperscripted reference followed by a period. This find-and-replace process is described more fully at this archived Web page:


If you find in your version of Word that the steps don't work for some reason, you could try to replace what you search for. Instead of searching for "02" (step 4), leave the Find What box empty and instead indicate you want to search for any text that has the Footnote Reference style applied to it. Since you are searching only within the footnote area of the document, this would only be the references that begin each of the footnotes.

Understand that if you later add any new footnotes to your document, you will need to go through the find-and-replace operation again. If you are looking for a more automatic way to handle the footnotes, then you will need to develop a macro that will handle the formatting for you. A great article on this can be found at the following page on the Word MVP site:


WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (520) applies to Microsoft Word 97, 2000, 2002, and 2003. You can find a version of this tip for the ribbon interface of Word (Word 2007 and later) here: Changing How Footnote References Appear.

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Comments for this tip:

Josh    16 Dec 2016, 16:43
In order to have a superscripted number for my footnote reference (e.g., in my manuscript text) and then the footnote as a normal case 1 followed by a period, I had to use a macro that I found on some website. This is required for SBL and Turabian styles, I think.

I use the one mentioned below: http://word.mvps.org/FAQs/MacrosVBA/UnSuperscptFnotes.htm
You apparently can't save macros in docx files now though.
santha Jetty    29 Oct 2015, 23:37
Fantastic help. I had struggled for 3 hours with endnotes before I did this.
Patrick Butler    31 Jul 2015, 15:04
Works like a charm with my Word 2013/Office 365.You'd think that Microsoft would have by this time put two Footnote Reference styles in its style sheets, one for the text body, and one for the footnote itself.

Thank you for the clear description of the problem and for the work-around.
Jay    13 Jun 2015, 10:36
Hi Allen,
Thanks for this, but I have the same problem as another commenter above. It changes the superscript in the main text and the footnotes. Obviously, we want the superscript to remain in the main body, but we want normal number in footnote/endnote. Any other advice most welcome. I paste the post from the other commenter with the same problem. Thanks. Jay
a4aim 26 Jul 2014, 07:32
Hi Allen,

Thanks for your tip, but unfortunately I cannot seem to make it work for MS Word 2011 on Mac.
Wen I follow your steps, it affects both the in text and bottom of page footnote reference. I get a period after each footnote reference, but the superscript still remains.

Would be grateful for any further tips!

Nicole    15 Apr 2015, 00:08
Thank you so much! I've been searching for this workaround for DAYS! <3
Thomas JLS    14 Feb 2015, 06:35
Thanks a lot.
Works perfectly for me.
a4aim    26 Jul 2014, 07:32
Hi Allen,

Thanks for your tip, but unfortunately I cannot seem to make it work for MS Word 2011 on Mac.
Wen I follow your steps, it affects both the in text and bottom of page footnote reference. I get a period after each footnote reference, but the superscript still remains.

Would be grateful for any further tips!


Jan Snoek    07 Feb 2014, 09:21
Thanks Allen! Jan
awyatt    05 Feb 2014, 07:44

You don't need a macro to convert footnotes to endnotes. See the following:


Jan Snoek    05 Feb 2014, 07:41
Hi! I wondered if there exists for MS-Word 2000 a macro that converts footnotes to endnotes (like the FOOTEND macro of WordPerfect). Can you help me? Thanks! Jan
kevin    19 Jan 2014, 11:00
Awesome - thanks. Search and replaced foot/end notes with a new style. I deleted the character syle by mistake.
Iris Wood    07 Jan 2013, 19:13
Hello Allen
Yes I am using Word 2010. I don’t have a problem with this temporary fix and I am using it. But it is time consuming and I may have to make alterations after proofing and there is too much room for error. Also I am writing a book so need a permanent fix and for endnotes after each chapter (not footnotes). Currently I have footnotes but now have to change to endnotes due to typesetter who can’t pick up text after the footnote line!!

What also worries me with this method above is the warning <Be careful not to delete a note number or type a note number by hand.> as stated in article you referred to which was written in year 2000.. http://lists.topica.com/lists/editorium/read/message.html?mid=1703696660. I have also read http://word.tips.net/T000520_Changing_How_Footnote_References_Appear.html.

 I want to create a new macro. I am aware that if I make changes it cannot be undone and I am ok with this. I have been given a new code and I have been referred to another article by the author of http://word.mvps.org/FAQs/MacrosVBA/UnSuperscptFnotes.htm. It is called
 “What do I do with macros sent to me by other newsgroup readers to help me out?” http://www.word.mvps.org/FAQs/MacrosVBA/CreateAMacro.htm
It is this article that I cannot follow. It is for an old version of Word.
. My problem is that when I look at creating a new macro I am lost. I have read Word help for “record or run a macro” and there are similar articles. I need screenshots.
. This is getting away from this article of a temporary fix. Is it possible for you to supply a new version of how to create and implement a new macro for endnote? that explains the article http://www.word.mvps.org/FAQs/MacrosVBA/CreateAMacro.htm better using screenshots.

many thanks
awyatt    07 Jan 2013, 08:46

If you are using Word 2010, did you click the link at the end of the article that leads to a version of this for your version of Word?
Iris Wood    06 Jan 2013, 21:03
I emailed you about this problem but the article you referred us to is very old and for a much earlier version of word. Also I had a new code written because apparently this one is wrong.http://word.mvps.org/FAQs/MacrosVBA/UnSuperscptFnotes.htm
 I reaslise you are only going to refer me back to this article. I forgot to tell you I had investigated it a long time ago when trying to find a solution.
John kamau    13 Jul 2012, 02:31
thank you

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