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: Using Multiple References to the Same Footnote.

Using Multiple References to the Same Footnote

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated September 26, 2016)


Word includes a feature that allows you to add footnotes and endnotes to your documents. This can come in real handy for some type of scholarly or scientific documents. In some instances, however, you may have a need for a single footnote to have multiple references within a document. For example, some scientific journals require that footnotes not be repeated, but that the same footnote reference be repeated within the main text, and that the references go to a single footnote. Thus, the document may have many occurrences of the same footnote reference.

Normally, Word allows only a one-to-one relationship between footnote references and footnotes. If you have a need for multiple references to the same footnote, this doesn't help you. Instead, you should follow these steps:

  1. Insert your first (primary) footnote as normal.
  2. Position the insertion point in the document where you want the secondary reference to the footnote.
  3. Choose Cross-reference from the Insert menu. Word displays the Cross-reference dialog box. (See Figure 1.)
  4. Figure 1. The Cross-reference dialog box.

  5. Using the Reference Type drop-down list, choose Footnote. Word displays a list of footnotes in the dialog box.
  6. Select the footnote you want used for this reference.
  7. Click Insert. The cross-reference is inserted, but it is still not formatted as a footnote reference.
  8. Click on Close to dismiss the Cross-reference dialog box. The insertion point should be just to the right of the cross-reference you just inserted.
  9. Hold down the Shift key as you press the Left Arrow. The cross-reference should be selected.
  10. Press Shift+F9. The contents of the field used for the cross-reference are displayed. It should look similar to the following.
  11. { NOTEREF _Ref477318004 \h }
  12. Position the insertion point between the last space and the closing brace in the field.
  13. Type \f. This field switch causes the field to use the same formatting as your other footnote references. The field should now appear similar to the following:
  14. { NOTEREF _Ref477318004 \h \f}
  15. Press Shift+F9 to collapse the field.
  16. Press F9 to update the field.

One other thing you might want to keep in mind: If you add new footnotes after following the above steps, the footnote references are automatically updated, but the cross-reference fields are not. To update those you'll need to update the cross-reference fields. The easiest way to do this is to press Ctrl+A (which selects the entire document) and then press F9 (which updates all the fields in the document).

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (70) 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: Using Multiple References to the Same Footnote.

Author Bio

Allen Wyatt

With more than 50 non-fiction books and numerous magazine articles to his credit, Allen Wyatt is an internationally recognized author. He is president of Sharon Parq Associates, a computer and publishing services company. ...


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What is one less than 7?

2018-02-22 20:24:50


Thanks - terrific tip, very helpful

2018-02-14 06:54:37


You are the best, yoou've saved me hours and hours of job. Many thanks

2018-01-18 07:43:01


OMG, excellent... thank you so much!

2017-11-17 22:03:39

B Native

This was the best explanation I found for creating the initial cross reference endnote/footnote. However, how do I get the subsequent notes to refer back? I still cannot figure that out. Say my first note is endnote 12 - God, The Bible, (publication info), page 1. Now on footnotes 20, 45 and 100 I don't want to put all the publication info - just say See "Bible" supra note 12.

I know it's possible because I just finished writing a law review article and the editors had it so subsequent references to the initial footnote (see note supra 12) were changing automatically to the correct footnote number if I deleted or added any footnotes prior to footnote 12.

I'm finishing up a book and this would be a huge help to figure out and I've already wasted a few hours :(.

2017-01-18 14:17:55


Hello! Thank you so much for your help. I was looking everywhere to find an answer to this question. However, it does not work in my document. When I select my cross reference and I make the content of the cross reference visible it says: { NOTEREF _Ref341629039 f h }.
So I tried to change it to { NOTEREF _Ref341629039 h f} but these changes didn't have any effect on the cross reference. If I make the field normal again and click on it, it still refers to the footnootnumber in the text. What can I do? (I work on a Mac laptop with Word for Mac 2011 version 14.6.3)

2016-12-01 09:46:07


Excellent merci ça fonctionne parfaitement :)

2016-06-07 08:20:24


*I'd never:) figure it out ...

2016-06-07 08:19:08


Great help, it worked right away and I'd figure it out by myself!:)

2016-04-04 03:47:29

zyad alsayed

I had the same problem but with Endnotes ant it worked

That helped me a lot.. this problem was a headache .. thank you :)

2016-01-23 14:09:24


How can I please group references in a text to more than 2 footnotes - i.e. notes (4-7)?

2015-11-08 03:15:50


Nice and clear.

2015-09-25 12:07:19

Igor V.

Great tip, very well and nicely explained. Worked perfectly for what I needed. Excellent job.
Thank you very much for this.

2015-06-18 19:53:19


Sorry for the previous comment, we would not use different symbols for the same footnote.
And when copied and pasted a footnote symbol, it created duplicate footnote text :(

So whatever given by Allen Wyatt is good.

For word 2013 just choose "Footnote number (formatted)" while inserting cross reference. Then no need to manipulate the reference code by using Shift+F9 as stated in the original post.

2015-06-18 19:26:22


If different symbols need to be used for the same footnote, then this is useful. I needed same symbol, I just copied original footnote symbol and pasted . it worked perfectly!

2015-05-07 19:51:59


very helpful ,the main tip and comments.thanks a lot

2015-04-03 13:51:17


THANK YOU! Great instructions and they worked perfectly for me in Word 2013! Can't believe Microsoft doesn't have anything that addresses this (not uncommon) scenario in their help, but they don't. You just saved me HOURS of time! Thanks!

2015-03-29 08:38:59


This doesn't help me. It is easy to insert a reference-looking number. What I want is when I go back in the text and insert another reference, for this number to change automatically to match the footnote. It doesn't.

2015-02-25 15:57:36


Unfortunately this doesn't work if you're trying to insert the footnote(s) into an Equation. (I've just fluffed the format using exponential.)

2015-02-23 08:46:26


Great tip. After using the Insert feature, don't mess about with formatting. Simply use format painter from the previous footnote. Much easier than anything else.

2015-02-12 02:03:32


It was really helpful

2014-10-15 06:04:56


When in the Cross-reference dialog box, in the 'insert reference to' drop down list, choose the "Footnote number (formatted)". Then your crossreference-footnote will be correctly formatted without the need to use Schift+F9 editing.
Don't know if this option is always available though but you can try.

2014-09-27 22:29:31

Mike H

the formatting 'f' tip is what I was after and goes the extra yard in this tip. thanks.

2014-08-15 12:31:29


This was very well done. I did not know about the /f option previously. The other tip about updating cross-references was also very helpful. Thank you.

2014-05-21 16:15:18


this is awesome! thanks for the help.

2014-05-06 15:54:22


Great tip - thank you very much.

2013-10-23 10:38:08


After step 5, before you click "Insert": Under "Insert reference to:" select "Footnote number (formatted)". Now you don't need to do steps 8 to 13. But, no matter how you insert it, the footnote text doesn't appear on rollover as it does for the first one.

2013-05-30 14:51:29

MichaEL B

I tried doing this, but it isn't working as I want. Instead of taking me to the end/footnote, it is taking me to the first occurrence of the endnote in the document.

How can I fix this?

2013-03-14 11:09:24


Agree. Clearly explained, as far as you were able with this convoluted coding (yuck!).

2013-01-24 22:29:33


Great tip!! helped me a lot, even though i used end notes instead of foot notes...

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