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: Controlling Footnote Placement.

Controlling Footnote Placement

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated March 4, 2013)


In Word, footnotes can be placed either at the bottom of a page or at the bottom of the text appearing on the page. While this may not seem to be a big difference, it typically comes into play on the last page of a document. The final page may actually end after only a couple lines, sentences, or paragraphs. If you choose to have footnotes placed at the bottom of the page, a large white area may appear between the text and the first footnote on the page. If, instead, you place them at the bottom of the text, the first footnote will appear right after the final text on the page.

To specify where Word 97 and Word 2000 place footnotes on a page, follow these steps:

  1. Select Footnote from the Insert menu. Word displays the Footnote and Endnote dialog box.
  2. Click on Options. Word displays the Note Options dialog box.
  3. Make sure the All Footnotes tab is selected.
  4. Using the Place At drop-down list, select where you want Word to place your footnotes.
  5. Click on OK.
  6. Click on Close in the Footnote and Endnote dialog box if you don't want to add a footnote at this time; otherwise click on OK.

If you are using a later version of Word, you should follow these steps instead:

  1. Select Reference from the Insert menu and then choose Footnote. Word displays the Footnote and Endnote dialog box.
  2. Make sure the Footnotes radio button is selected. (See Figure 1.)
  3. Figure 1. The Footnote and Endnote dialog box.

  4. Using the drop-down list to the right of the Footnotes radio button, select where you want Word to place your footnotes.
  5. Click on Apply to make your change effective.
  6. Click on Cancel if you don't want to add a footnote at this time; otherwise click on Insert.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (516) 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: Controlling Footnote Placement.

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. ...


Converting Text Case

Ever notice that if someone types in all CAPS, it appears they are shouting? If your worksheets include lots of text, you may ...

Discover More

Creating a Document Clone

If you need to work with a copy of a document rather than the original document, you can use Word's Open dialog box to ...

Discover More

Using Parallel Columns

Users of WordPerfect know what parallel columns are. There is no such capability in Word, but there are ways you can achieve ...

Discover More

Learning Made Easy! Quickly teach yourself how to format, publish, and share your content using Word 2013. With Step by Step, you set the pace, building and practicing the skills you need, just when you need them! Check out Microsoft Word 2013 Step by Step today!


Deleting All Footnotes

Tired of all those footnotes hanging on the bottom of each page in your document? You can get rid of them in one step, as ...

Discover More

Inserting Footnotes

Footnotes appear at the bottom (or foot) of each page. It is an easy task to insert a footnote at any point you desire, as ...

Discover More

Disappearing Footnotes

Footnotes can be an integral part of many documents, particularly those written for a scholarly audience. If those footnotes ...

Discover More

FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in WordTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

View most recent newsletter.

Comments for this tip:

If you would like to add an image to your comment (not an avatar, but an image to help in making the point of your comment), include the characters [{fig}] in your comment text. You’ll be prompted to upload your image when you submit the comment. Images larger than 600px wide or 1000px tall will be reduced. Up to three images may be included in a comment. All images are subject to review. Commenting privileges may be curtailed if inappropriate images are posted.

What is 9 + 8?

2017-02-16 12:25:33

GW Patton

I arrived at while looking for a way to move a footnote on the bottom of the first page so it wouldn't be over our address that lives at the bottom of that page. I stumbled on an easy solution by moving the left scale up from the bottom of the page, which moved the first page's text up from the footer address area. I expect, though, that I'll next have to figure out how to have that apply only to the first page (section break maybe?).

2017-02-13 21:53:04

Gideon Boyle

Your image does not have a "radio button". No idea what you are talking about.

I am haveing the same problem as Frank J. Doherty. When I insert a Footnote it is always aligned to center. I have to then manually left align each one. Could you please tell me how to fix the default align position.


2015-02-27 10:31:24

Julianne Comstock-Keuper

I inserted cross references to footnotes, the footnotes need to appear on all pages where they are cross reference, not just the first page, how do I do that?

2014-02-16 08:03:07

Frank J. Doherty

my footnotes are all centered at the bottom of the page. I right click on the notes, choose paragraph and click onleft instead of center, but it only corrects the footnotes I have highlighted. How do I get it to change for the entire document?

2013-08-22 14:46:27


I want footnotes after each paragraph. I select "below text" which works for the first paragraph. I then want to type another paragraph of text, and footnote it.

But everything I type after the first footnote appears as a continuation of that footnote.

How do I end the first footnote so that what I type next appears as text?

Newest Tips

FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in WordTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

(Your e-mail address is not shared with anyone, ever.)

View the most recent newsletter.

Links and Sharing