Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Word versions: 2007, 2010, 2013, and 2016. If you are using an earlier version (Word 2003 or earlier), this tip may not work for you. For a version of this tip written specifically for earlier versions of Word, click here: Changing the Way Footnotes Are Numbered.

Changing the Way Footnotes Are Numbered

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated December 26, 2015)


In Word, footnotes can be automatically numbered from 1 through the number of footnotes in the document. Thus, if your document contains 14 footnotes, they will be numbered 1 through 14. You can change the way footnotes are numbered, however. Word allows you to specify both a starting footnote number and whether the numbering starts over with each new section in your document.

Word allows you to change how it handles footnote numbering by following these steps:

  1. Make sure the References tab is selected on the ribbon.
  2. Click the small downward-pointing arrow at the lower-right corner of the Footnotes group. Word displays the Footnote and Endnote dialog box. (See Figure 1.)
  3. Figure 1. The Footnote and Endnote dialog box.

  4. Make sure the Footnotes radio button is selected.
  5. Change the Start At value to reflect where you want Word to start numbering.
  6. Change the Numbering area to reflect how you want Word to count your footnotes.
  7. Click on Apply and then Cancel; otherwise click Insert to add a footnote mark at the current document location.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (5973) applies to Microsoft Word 2007, 2010, 2013, and 2016. You can find a version of this tip for the older menu interface of Word here: Changing the Way Footnotes Are Numbered.

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. ...


Changing a Heading to Body Text

When working on an outline of your document, you may want to demote a heading so that it is treated just like your body ...

Discover More

Alerts About Approaching Due Dates

You may use Excel to track due dates for a variety of purposes. As a due date approaches, you may want that fact drawn to ...

Discover More

Protecting Worksheets from Deletion

If you share a workbook with others in your office, you will probably want to make sure that some of the worksheets don't ...

Discover More

Create Custom Apps with VBA! Discover how to extend the capabilities of Office 2013 (Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, and Access) with VBA programming, using it for writing macros, automating Office applications, and creating custom applications. Check out Mastering VBA for Office 2013 today!

More WordTips (ribbon)

Viewing Footnotes and Endnotes

Footnotes and endnotes are normally visible with the rest of your document, but such visibility is dependant on which ...

Discover More

Using Multiple References to the Same Footnote

Do you want to have multiple footnote references to the same actual footnote in a document? The easiest way to do this is ...

Discover More

Heavy-Duty Footnotes

Word allows you to add footnotes to a document, but they are rather straightforward and simple in their application. If ...

Discover More

FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in WordTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

View most recent newsletter.


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 1 + 8?

2016-11-12 09:33:03

Frederick Williams

I am writing an article of some complexity, and a lot of footnotes. In the course of composition, some notes have been deleted or moved, and others inserted. I now find that they are not in complete numerical sequence: the next note after 10 is 12, and so on. When Ihave tried to renumber some of them manually, a stern warning has appeared on the screen, suggesting that I am in danger of deleting whole notes by this procedure. Is there any foolproof method of renumbering them in normal sequence?

2016-09-06 05:59:45

t seng

Is it possible to start the footnote numbering on an individual basis for each section, or must the start number be the same for all sections?

2016-01-21 07:56:33


Hi Jonathan,
you should be able to find that if you look at the image in this post and look at the part labeled "Format."

I bet that if you click on the number format dropdown box you can switch to numbering.

2016-01-20 17:57:47

Jonathan Carter

How do I convert footnote marks/asterisks to footnote numbers, please?

This Site

Got a version of Word that uses the ribbon interface (Word 2007 or later)? This site is for you! If you use an earlier version of Word, visit our WordTips site focusing on the menu interface.

Newest Tips

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.