Different Layouts for Footnotes

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated May 13, 2017)

Footnotes can be a handy feature to use within a document. For some documents (such as academic or legal works), they are absolutely critical. How you create and use footnotes within your document has been discussed in other issues of WordTips.

When laying out your documents, you may want to have the number of columns in your footnotes be different from the number used in the main body of the document. For instance, you may want footnotes to use two columns, while the main body uses only one. Unfortunately, Word doesn't allow you to do this—the number of columns in the footnotes and the main body must match.

This requirement can cause other problems, too. For instance, try making the top half of a page two columns and the bottom half one column. (This is easily done with a continuous section break splitting the two parts of the page.) Next, insert a footnote in the two-column section, in the top-half of the page. Make sure the footnote is set to appear at the bottom of the page. When you insert it, the one-column section no longer resides on the same page as the two-column text, despite the continuous break.

The only way to work around this problem is to "fudge" and do a manual layout. This means doing something like manually placing footnotes in the footer of the page, or using a two-cell table to put text in the main body of the document. Either method is fraught with drawbacks that are immediately evident to any long-time Word user. (The biggest drawback being the "intensive" labor involved in making the manual layout work properly.)

If you only have a couple of short footnotes (less than one line each) and want to simulate columns, you can do it this way:

  1. Make sure the insertion point is within the first footnote on the page.
  2. Put a left tab stop at the position on the full width line where the second of two columns would begin.
  3. At the end of the first footnote, insert a tab.
  4. Format the paragraph mark of that paragraph as hidden text.
  5. When you turn off printing of hidden text, you will see that the second footnote has jumped up to the tab stop on the printout.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (1365) applies to Microsoft Word 97, 2000, 2002, and 2003.

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. ...

MORE FROM ALLEN

Aligning Borders with the Page Margins

Add a border to a paragraph and you may find that it extends to the left and right of the regular text margins. To pull the ...

Discover More

Resetting Paragraph Formatting

Tired of the formatting used in a paragraph? One way to "start over" is to make sure that the formatting is reset to its ...

Discover More

Counting String Occurrences in Odd Rows

Counting the number of times text occurs within a range of cells can be relatively easy. If you need to only count ...

Discover More

Create Custom Apps with VBA! Discover how to extend the capabilities of Office 2013 (Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, and Access) with VBA programming, using it for writing macros, automating Office applications, and creating custom applications. Check out Mastering VBA for Office 2013 today!

More WordTips (menu)

Shortcut to Return to Document Text

When you are done typing a footnote or endnote in your document, you may want a way to return to the main document text ...

Discover More

Automatically Adding Tabs in Footnotes

When you add a footnote to a document, Word's normal formatting adds a space after the footnote number and before the body of ...

Discover More

Creating a Bibliography from Footnotes

Most scholarly papers need to have both footnotes and a bibliography. The two are closely related, as they provide different ...

Discover More
Subscribe

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

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. Maximum image size is 6Mpixels. 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 4 - 2?

There are currently no comments for this tip. (Be the first to leave your comment—just use the simple form above!)


This Site

Got a version of Word that uses the menu interface (Word 97, Word 2000, Word 2002, or Word 2003)? This site is for you! If you use a later version of Word, visit our WordTips site focusing on the ribbon interface.

Newest Tips
Subscribe

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.