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: Footnotes in Two Columns.
by Allen Wyatt
(last updated January 27, 2017)
Word includes the ability to place footnotes at the bottom of each page in your document. The footnotes are placed into the same number of columns as you are using in the document. Thus, if your document uses two columns, then the footnotes will be placed into two columns, as well. In general, each of the footnotes appears under the same column in which the footnote reference appears.
If you want your footnotes to appear in a different number of columns than your document does (for instance, two columns of footnotes when the body is a single column), you are out of luck; Word can't handle it. You could work around the problem by "faking" the footnotes, meaning to enter them manually (as regular text) and placing the notes themselves in a multi-column table placed at the bottom of the page. Of course, your footnotes won't automatically renumber and they won't flow from page to page as you add or remove text from the body of the document.
If your desire is to have your footnotes in a single column while your text body is in multiple columns, the folks at the Word MVP site have come up with a workaround. You can find it here:
WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (322) 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: Footnotes in Two Columns.
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