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: Sequentially Numbering Footnotes.

Sequentially Numbering Footnotes

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated March 22, 2014)

The footnote feature in Word is quite flexible, allowing you to set up your footnotes in the format that is best for your needs. Normally, footnotes are numbered sequentially, either within the document or within a section of the document. As you add or remove footnotes, Word automatically renumbers the remaining footnotes so they are sequential.

If you notice that the numbering on your footnotes is getting out of whack (no longer sequential) there could be a couple of different reasons. This problem can crop up if you have Track Changes turned on and you do quite a bit of copying and pasting in the document. In those instances, Word may not renumber the footnotes until you resolve all the outstanding changes by accepting them or rejecting them.

Another possibility is that you have somehow changed the properties of some of the footnotes so that their numbering is no longer continuous. Finding and correcting the properties of some wayward footnotes can be bothersome, but is made much easier through the use of a macro. The following macro will step through each footnote in a document and make sure that it is set for continuous numbering.

Sub MakeFootNotesAuto()
    Dim f As Footnote

    For Each f In ActiveDocument.Footnotes
        f.Range.FootnoteOptions.NumberingRule _
          = wdRestartContinuous
    Next f
End Sub

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (3431) 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: Sequentially Numbering 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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