Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Word versions: 2007 and 2010. 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 Footnote Separator.

Changing the Footnote Separator

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated January 18, 2021)


If you are using footnotes in Word, you have control over where they appear in your document. In other issues of WordTips you learned that you can place them at the end of the text on a page, or at the bottom of the page itself. Regardless of the placement, Word can print a separator between your main document text and the footnotes. The default separator is a solid line, but you can either change or delete the footnote separator, as desired.

To change the footnote separator, follow these steps:

  1. Make sure you are viewing your document in Draft view.
  2. Display the References tab of the ribbon.
  3. Click the Show Notes tool.
  4. If you have both footnotes and endnotes defined in your document, Word displays the View Footnotes (Word 2007) or Show Notes (Word 2010) dialog box. (See Figure 1.) Click on the View Footnote Area radio button and then click on OK.
  5. Figure 1. The Show Notes dialog box.

  6. Using the Notes drop-down list at the top of the Footnotes window, choose Footnote Separator. Word displays the current separator in the window.
  7. Change or delete the separator, as desired.
  8. When you are satisfied with the appearance of the separator, close the footnote window.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (6033) applies to Microsoft Word 2007 and 2010. You can find a version of this tip for the older menu interface of Word here: Changing the Footnote Separator.

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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What is three less than 9?

2020-06-23 17:16:49

Rebecca Zimmerman

If I could only change one line separator.

2019-12-02 10:21:59


I can never remember how to activate the various panes I only ever rarely need to access, like the footnote separator. So I devised this little macro to do the remembering for me.


Sub SelectAndShowPane()
Const WindowTitle As String = "SelectAndShowPane"
Dim answer As String
Dim panetype As Integer
answer = InputBox( _
"0. No display." & vbCr & _
"1. Primary Header." & vbCr & _
"2. First Page Header." & vbCr & _
"3. Even Pages Header." & vbCr & _
"4. Primary Footer." & vbCr & _
"5. First Page Footer." & vbCr & _
"6. Even Pages Footer." & vbCr & _
"7. Footnotes." & vbCr & _
"8. Endnotes." & vbCr & _
"9. Footnote Continuation Notice." & vbCr & _
"10. Footnote Continuation Separator." & vbCr & _
"11. Footnote Separator." & vbCr & _
"12. Endnote Continuation Notice." & vbCr & _
"13. Endnote Continuation Separator." & vbCr & _
"14. Endnote Separator." & vbCr & _
"15. Comments." & vbCr & _
"16. Page Header." & vbCr & _
"17. Page Footer." & vbCr & _
"18. Revisions." & vbCr & _
"19. Revisions at bottom." & vbCr & _
"20. Revisions at left.", WindowTitle, "20")
If answer = "" Then Exit Sub ' User clicked cancel or entered nothing
On Error GoTo InvalidResponse
panetype = CInt(Trim(answer))
On Error GoTo 0
If panetype < 0 Or panetype > 20 Then GoTo InvalidResponse
On Error GoTo PanelError
ActiveWindow.View.SplitSpecial = panetype
Exit Sub
MsgBox "Invalid response.", vbExclamation, WindowTitle
Exit Sub
MsgBox "Error in showing pane type " & panetype & ": " & Err.Description, vbExclamation, WindowTitle
Exit Sub
End Sub

2019-11-30 02:44:08

Bob Eisenberg

Will Microsoft ever make footnote format options DIRECTLY available from Page Layout view.

2019-11-29 12:23:28


Allen... Wow, that setting is buried deep! Thank you for this precise guidance.
One bit of additional information for fellow readers: I wanted to change the color of the separator line to be medium-gray. Turns out that the line is controlled by the FONT settings. (I thought incorrectly that it would be part of Borders and Shading.) I followed the instructions here, selected the line, changed the font color, and voila.

2017-03-07 08:48:21


Grant: Just like with Marlene, you need to perform step 1 -- you need to be in Draft view. If you aren't, you'll never see the drop-down mentioned in step 5.


2017-03-06 23:17:29


Unfortunately does not seem to work with Word 2016 . I can't get beyond step 3!

2016-08-18 09:24:46

Marlene: Note step 1 -- you have to be viewing your document in Draft view.


2016-08-17 23:35:07

Marlene Smith-Baranzini

Can you give instructions for working on a PC with Word 2013. The Show Notes window doesn't have a drop down that I can find that allows the choice of viewing either fns or endnotes.

2016-07-29 15:25:03

Amy Christian

I have been using Word for years and years and yet can never remember how to do this. Thanks for the quick instructions that work!

2016-05-24 22:38:40


THANKS! This was the only answer, out of all the pages I looked at, that WORKED. :)

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