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: Brackets around Footnote References.

Brackets around Footnote References

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated June 25, 2016)

3

Ayman created a document that has numerous footnotes in it. He would like the footnote references to have square brackets surrounding the numbers and wonders if there is a way to do this automatically.

The short answer is no, there is no way to add brackets around footnote references automatically. You can, however, add them by using Find and Replace. Simply follow these general steps:

  1. Press Ctrl+H. Word displays the Replace tab of the Find and Replace dialog box. (See Figure 1.)
  2. Figure 1. The Replace tab of the Find and Replace dialog box.

  3. In the Find What box, enter ^f. (Make sure you use a lowercase letter "f".)
  4. In the Replace With box, enter [^&].
  5. Click on Replace All.

That's it. Word searches for all footnote references in both the main body of the document and in the footnote area. It then replaces them with brackets containing whatever was found in the search.

There is one caveat to this approach: You should do it only once, probably after you are done inserting footnotes in your document. If you do it more than once you will end up with multiple nested brackets, which could be a mess to try to clean up.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (9253) 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: Brackets around Footnote References.

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

Merging Formatted Data

Using the mail merge feature of Word, you can make data from Access databases accessible for your documents. How information ...

Discover More

A Shortcut for Switching Focus

Word provides keyboard shortcuts for lots of things, but it doesn't provide one for switching to the desktop and back to your ...

Discover More

Correcting a Capital Mistake

As you are entering data in a worksheet, Excel can monitor what you type and make corrections for common mistakes. One such ...

Discover More

Comprehensive VBA Guide Visual Basic for Applications (VBA) is the language used for writing macros in all Office programs. This complete guide shows both professionals and novices how to master VBA in order to customize the entire Office suite for their needs. Check out Mastering VBA for Office 2010 today!

More WordTips (menu)

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

Formatting Footnote Reference Marks

The reference marks that appear for footnotes in a document are normally just superscripted digits. If you want to change the ...

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
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 four less than 9?

2017-04-24 04:39:34

Ayman

a lot of thanks, it's effective, but some times i need to remove the brackets again, can me?!


2016-06-25 19:56:15

Byongchol Kim

Thank you very much for your tip. I spent several hours searching for this fuction. It really helps a lot. Many thanks.


2016-06-25 09:05:13

Fred Burg

Hi Allen,

Congratulations and new daughter-in-law. May they live happily ever after.

As to the caveat on the footnotes. I was reading the first paragraph and was curious as to how you were going to pull this rabbit out of a hat.

When I saw your solution, it was a "duh" moment.

But why not take it one step further. You know that you're never finished with a document. When you think you are and run the Replace operation you described, you'll find there's more text and, hence, more footnotes to be added.

So a macro comes to mind with the following steps:
- find all [^f] as find what and replace it with ^f
- find all ^f (now w/o any brackets) and replace as you had

Fred


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.