Disappearing Footnotes

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated January 23, 2016)

Jackie is having a problem with the footnotes in a document. It seems that some of the footnotes in the first chapter of her Ph.D. thesis have disappeared. She can view them in Normal view, but she needs to also view them in Page Layout view so she can ultimately print them out. Jackie wonders what is causing the problem.

There are a number of things to check. First, you should check the obvious formatting-related issues. Are some of your footnotes formatted as Hidden text? If they are and you have Word configured to not print Hidden text, the footnotes will not be visible in Print Preview.

You'll also want to check to make sure that Track Changes isn't turned on. It is possible, if it is turned on, that you've actually deleted some of your footnotes. They may still be visible in some views of your document, but wouldn't be visible in Print Preview if you are looking at the "final" document with markup taken into account.

You should also not assume that what you see in Print Layout view is equivalent to what you will see when you actually print your document. Take a look at your thesis in Print Preview and see if your footnotes all show up there. Some users have reported large discrepancies between what is displayed in Print Layout view and what shows up in Print Preview.

You could also have problems if the text of your document is within a large table in which a single table row extends for several pages. Word defers any footnotes in the row to the page where the row ends. If the row ends so close to the bottom of the page that there is not room for all the footnotes, instead of being carried to the next page, the footnotes are just ignored. This problem can be solved by breaking the row up into several rows; any row that long is bound to contain more than one paragraph, and it can be split so that there is one row for each paragraph.

It's also possible, given that this is a thesis, that the length of the footnotes is such that they are overpowering the page. I would think that Word would just take as much room as needed for footnotes, even if that left only a few lines of text on each page, but there may be some limitation. If the footnotes are that long, it might be more satisfactory to convert them to endnotes. At the very least you could try converting the footnotes to endnotes and seeing if they all show up in the endnotes. This may at least give you a starting point for figuring out what is going on.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (7831) 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

Deleting Footnotes and Endnotes

Deleting either footnotes or endnotes is a simple process. Just select the reference mark and delete it. Assuming you are ...

Discover More

Automatically Loading Add-ins

Want to load a particular add-in for use with a specific worksheet? Here's a quick way to do it using macros.

Discover More

Combining Word Documents

At some point you may want to insert one Word document inside another Word document. An easy way to do this is to use the ...

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!

MORE WORDTIPS (MENU)

Jumping to a Relative Footnote

Footnotes can be a great addition to any document that needs detailed referencing of citations. You can navigate from one ...

Discover More

Using Cross-References in Footnotes

Need to make a cross-reference from one footnote to another footnote? You can do it if you throw bookmarks into the mix, as ...

Discover More

Changing How Footnote References Appear

Footnote references normally appear as superscripted digits, both in the main body of your document and in the footnotes ...

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 for this tip:

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.

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.

Links and Sharing
Share