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: Printing without Footnotes.

Printing without Footnotes

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated July 21, 2014)

Word allows you to add any number of footnotes to your document. At some point you may want to print your document, but without the footnotes. Word does not have a setting that allows you to print without footnotes, however. Word normally includes the footnotes whenever you print.

You may think that one way to get a printed copy without footnotes is to modify the styles used for footnotes (Footnote Text and Footnote Reference) so their font has the Hidden attribute set. You should then be able to print a copy of the document, without Hidden text, so that footnotes aren't printed. Testing, however, showed that this perfectly logical idea doesn't work. What happens is that the footnotes, which use the Footnote Text style, are indeed hidden. The footnote references in the main text, which use the Footnote Reference style, are also hidden. However, the footnote references within the footnote area are not hidden, even though they are also formatted with the same Footnote Reference style. This behavior is inconsistent and illogical, but it is nonetheless Word's behavior.

The only sure-fire way to print a document without footnotes is to get rid of the footnotes. Since you could have quite a few footnotes in your document, deleting them one by one can get tedious. Such tedium, though, is prime territory for macros. The following macro will delete all the footnotes in a document, print that document to the currently selected printer, and then close the document without saving the changes.

Sub BanishFootnotes()
    Dim iFNCount As Integer
    Dim J As Integer

    iFNCount = ActiveDocument.Footnotes.Count
    For J = iFNCount To 1 Step -1
        ActiveDocument.Footnotes(J).Delete
    Next J
    ActiveDocument.PrintOut
    ActiveDocument.Close SaveChanges:=False
End Sub

It should be noted that if you delete footnotes (or even hide them, as earlier discussed), Word "closes up" the layout of your document. This means that pagination is affected. Thus, a copy of the document printed with footnotes will have different pagination than a copy without footnotes. If you simply want to hide the footnotes and not affect pagination, there is no direct or easy way to do this. Instead, you need to manually "hide" footnotes on each page, perhaps by covering the footnote area with a drawing object (a text box or a rectangle) that has no border. This, of course, won't get rid of the footnotes references in the text; those you will need to tinker with so they are covered by very small drawing objects.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (1882) 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: Printing without Footnotes.

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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