Blog article cover Footnotes: A Step-by-Step Guide with Word Instructions

Footnotes: A Step-by-Step Guide with Word Instructions

What are Footnotes?

Footnotes are another way to structure your article and distribute information properly. Footnotes allow students to cite sources at the very end of the article rather than constantly talking about authorship. Thanks to this, you can designate authorship, different sources of information, references, quotations, and more. As a result, the text will be more concise and easy to read. We show examples of a footnote and tell you how to insert them into the work properly.

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Footnotes VS Endnotes

Good footnotes examples are always created according to a few essential rules that will not confuse readers and still be within the bounds of good research paper writing. An index is often put after the last word of the sentence in which there is a cited fragment or other relevant information. The index is put after all punctuation marks, including commas, but not including dashes.

When asking how to write footnotes, remember to create them sequentially, starting with one and going on. You can conveniently use Word or Google Docs, as discussed below. However, you need to understand the difference between regular footnotes and endnotes. Here are their features:

  • footnote. The critical difference is that the text and the link to the publication are on the same page as the footnote. This means you need to leave space for the information at the bottom of the page;
  • an endnote. On the contrary, are placed at the end of your scientific work under a separate heading of notes. Usually, the standard rules apply here, with the location in the center, an inch from the beginning of the page.

With this distribution, you can distribute information intelligently over the pages. However, remember that most academic advisors prefer to use endnotes only. So check with your professor or supervisor beforehand about the method you should use. There is no fundamental difference between the two, but it is an opportunity to get a few extra points into your piggy bank.

Here are some essential footnotes in word parameters that will help you distribute information correctly:

  • the footnote number should be the same as the index that was used in the article, followed by a period;
  • always include in the information inside the footnote the exact page number or unique number from which the information was taken. This will help locate your source and verify its authenticity;
  • the first footnote to a particular source should contain as much information about the scholarly material you are taking as possible.

A penguin writes notes in a notebook

Now the difference between footnotes and endnotes will not be a big secret to you, and you can set them correctly to get a good result. Here is an example of a small footnote that refers to a new source for the first time.

  1. Alex Cotton, The Peculiarities of Table Sorting, 1888-1914 (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2001), 88.

This is an example of the first footnote, but you should also show an example of subsequent references to the source. They will be much more straightforward and concise because you have covered the publication. However, you should still include the page from which the information, quotation, or other relevant data was taken.

  1. Cotton, The Peculiarities of Table Sorting, 105
  2. Cotton, The Peculiarities of Table Sorting, 77

Try to practice writing footnotes as much as possible so that you can put them down without unnecessary delay. This is an essential part of any essay. It is also your personal assistant and text reference point, which will not allow you to get confused.

Setting up Footnotes in Word and Google Docs

More often than not, the question of how to do footnote citation is quite difficult for students to answer, especially if they have not worked with these programs too much before and were engaged only in writing essays. However, everything can be learned, and therefore it is recommended to follow simple instructions:

  1. You first need to find the place in the text where you want to place the footnote. Click on the Links tab and click on the Insert Footnote button. Immediately after that, you will have your first footnote.
  2. Next, you need to check that everything works as it should. In this case, you will have two footnotes appear at once. One number will be in the body of your paper, and the other will be at the bottom of the page.
  3. Next comes the citing in footnotes, which you need to fill in the information. You can write everything in the footnotes. Be sure to keep in mind the need to edit everything according to the supervisor’s rules. Familiarize yourself with them, or request a copy if you don’t have them.

A person is typing on a laptop

You can quickly return to where you started if you click a number. Consider this proper citing in footnotes, which will give you a good score for using the tool. You can edit other work settings by clicking the arrow next to the footnotes group. Check out the different features and choose the best option for your essay.

Footnote usage via Google Docs won’t be much more difficult, so you can also handle this task. It’s enough to use another instruction that our experts have compiled:

  1. As in the first case, choose the right place for your footnote.
  2. After that, open the Insert tab in the top panel. Select “Footnotes” and look at the result.
  3. Two numbers should have appeared. You put the citation and all the useful additional information next to the number in the footer.

And so you have no problem coping with this task, and hence now guaranteed to be able to put a footnote in your research paper. To create the following footnotes, you will also need to click on the same buttons. Be sure to clarify the design style with your teachers not to mix up the rules and perform the work for the maximum score.

Citing Sources in Footnotes

It is imperative to remember that your footnotes in essays must be done appropriately and designed. Only in this case, the student can count on a sufficiently high score and the opportunity to get a positive review from the teacher. Therefore, let’s immediately determine a few critical points of their placement.

First of all, here are a few essential rules:

  • all the names of the authors of scientific or artistic publications should be given in full. That is, with the first name and initials before his name. If the author of the publication is unknown, you can specify so;
  • it is necessary to consider the spelling rules in English because here they also work. All titles are written with a capital letter, and information about the publication of the book, article, or magazine should be given in parentheses;
  • it is the commas that should act as separators between the various elements of the quotation. Usually, the page is separated from the name and title.

It is also important to remember that journal titles should be italicized if they have been printed before. But in the opposite case, it is worth underlining them, which will immediately give the supervisor the information he needs.

It is still essential to follow the stylistic rules of your university, college, or supervisor. That’s why you should clarify them several times and apply them correctly. Running into a few additional questions or even redoing the work is possible. That’s why we recommend that platform authors drop as extensive guidelines and design rules as possible so that all the requirements write your research paper for the educational institution.

The cat flips through the book

Footnote Numbering and Placement

The footnote numbering is often classical; therefore, you do not have to guess here for long. However, in any case, it is better to get specific requirements from your teacher and use them to achieve the correct result. Formatting is as vital as the content; therefore, you can not neglect the rules and standards, especially if you claim to get the highest grade possible.

Start to write footnotes should choose the correct numbering according to their appearance in the document. Each footnote should have a unique number, which was assigned only to it, and that’s it. The numbers must change even if you want to resort to the same source several times. It starts with 1 and continues to 2, 3, 4, 5, etc.

Since you already know how to add footnotes in an essay, you need to understand that usually, the numbers are put at the end of the sentence in which the information is taken. The only exception is sentenced with a dash ending because, in that case, the index should appear before that word. Also, you do not need to add an extra space before the number because those are the standard rules.

Footnotes in MLA Style

The first thing the student needs to understand is that MLA format footnote most often does not allow the use of long footnotes or endnotes. At the same time, the classic style guide allows such an option; therefore, they should be used to add information to the readers. With such footnotes, you can increase the data readers can get.

In this case, a few essential recommendations are best to follow strictly. This allows you to add the necessary elements without breaking the MLA formatting footnotes. It is recommended that indexes be placed outside commas, periods, or other punctuation marks. The exception still only applies to dashes, which require an index before them.

Here are the most useful recommendations:

  • you should place the footnote in the middle of a sentence, adding purely after the last comma;
  • if you need to place a footnote at the end, you should add a number already after the sentence point;
  • only in the case of dashes can you add the index before the last punctuation mark.
  1. Citations of marginalia refer to George’s edition and include page numbers.

Using the automatic footnote system in your program where you type is best. An indentation should also be added at the beginning of the footnote to help make it look right. All in all, everything can be done automatically, so you shouldn’t have too many problems.

A man makes notes in a notebook

Footnotes in Chicago Style

Most often, in this case, citing sources with footnotes is only used for that purpose, but various comments on the source can supplement them. You can also clarify something if you have touched on it in the main text. The main rule is to place a footnote at the end of a paragraph requiring some citation. In doing so, the footnote contains all the source data when you first cite it.

After that, you can already use the short form. When asking what is a footnote in an essay, you should also consider what precisely such additional information includes. They are usually at the very end and work according to several rules:

  • you will need to write the number at the beginning of the additional footnote in plain text and only after that put a period with a space;
  • it is worth adding an extra indent at the beginning of each footnote above the number;
  • students use single spacing and leave a special blank line between different footnotes.
  1. George Clooney, “Some Title Text,” March 11, 2022,

This is an example of how to use footnotes to cite. Try making a few footnotes yourself, and you’ll soon learn how to do it automatically. The rules and complex requirements are not as numerous as they may seem at first glance. And that is why students often cope with this kind of task without any problems and successfully get the highest marks for the project. Consider the reader first, and you won’t have unnecessary problems.

Footnotes in APA Style

Such examples of footnotes in an essay will fundamentally differ from other design styles because of their peculiarity. They can be used exclusively to provide their audience with additional information that will clarify and complement the presented theses in the main text. In this case, the classic citation is made unusually: the conclusion is in parentheses.

At the same time, it is essential to be as responsible as possible in creating such footnotes because they are designed to provide examples, explanations, and other additional facts. The very concept of APA prohibits the inclusion of false information, and therefore it is necessary to double-check the arguments and explanations used. Also, such footnotes may indicate copyright in those works where necessary.

  1. Therapy, by Centers for Disease Control, 2019 ( In the public domain.

It is recommended that you create such footnotes using automated systems. Just work with Word or Google Docs, where you can make handy footnotes in a few clicks. We already gave detailed instructions above. It pays to add an indentation at the beginning of each sentence. The index should be at the top, followed by another space.

Notepad and pencil on a phone background

Tips for Writing Footnotes

A student needs to understand the footnotes purpose and use them in time in their essay. It is straightforward to forget this necessity and get too carried away with writing. Distributing footnotes already after completing the research paper is a bad idea because you can fail to include essential sources and lose several points.

In general, for the first time, it is recommended to ask for help from experts or your supervisor, who will show you the correct design of such text elements. Doing so will allow you to distribute information efficiently and not clutter your article with references to every article you read. You need to be fully transparent regarding the data used and not expand your reference list to the size of an individual essay.

Here are a few more recommendations:

  • try to think of the reader. First, you need to make reading your research paper easier and more informative through footnotes. It is necessary to convey helpful information to the audience as effectively as possible without overloading your text. An excessive number of footnotes can be irritating and even very distracting from reading, and that effect you do not want to achieve;
  • improve the text, but do not make it voluminous. Try to make each footnote at least for yourself to justify so that the information makes sense and is helpful for the audience. Valuable additions and quotations help to open up the topic more deeply and give readers the opinions of authorities. However, the information should still only be supplemental, and the potential reader should understand the meaning of your research paper without it;
  • adhere to the stated design styles. Be sure to take care of the correct formatting of the paper because it dramatically affects the possibility of receiving higher grades. Remember that only one style should be used for the entire paper. Otherwise, you will get too heterogeneous text, which will be challenging to read, and the supervisor will not appreciate it.

Now you know precisely what are footnote citations and how to use them correctly in your research papers. Thanks to this, you can write essays much more efficiently and cite authors correctly. Don’t forget to disclose the source in the first footnote, and be sure to take the opportunity to give additional explanations. All this can help you find the right contact with your audience and give the broadest possible relevance to the information.

We recommend contacting your professor again to learn more about your institution’s accepted style. Stick to the recommendations or get them and try collaborating with the authors of our ‘write my paper for me‘ service. This will help you save time and meet all the designated requirements. Good luck creating the right footnotes for you!