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: Controlling Footnote Placement.

Controlling Footnote Placement

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated January 23, 2016)


In Word, footnotes can be placed either at the bottom of a page or at the bottom of the text appearing on the page. While this may not seem to be a big difference, it typically comes into play on the last page of a document. The final page may actually end after only a couple lines, sentences, or paragraphs. If you choose to have footnotes placed at the bottom of the page, a large white area may appear between the text and the first footnote on the page. If, instead, you place them at the bottom of the text, the first footnote will appear right after the final text on the page.

To specify where Word places footnotes on a page, follow these steps:

  1. Display the Reference tab of the ribbon.
  2. Click the small arrow icon at the bottom-right of the Footnotes group. Word displays the Footnote and Endnote dialog box.
  3. Make sure the Footnotes radio button is selected. (See Figure 1.)
  4. Figure 1. The Footnote and Endnote dialog box.

  5. Using the drop-down list to the right of the Footnotes radio button, select where you want Word to place your footnotes.
  6. Click on Apply to make your change effective.
  7. Click on Cancel if you don't want to add a footnote at this time; otherwise click on Insert.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (6063) 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: Controlling Footnote Placement.

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 1 + 8?

2016-12-06 01:25:36

Graham D. McKelvie

Your advice does not appear to be correct. I have Windows 10 and when I click on the Footnote and Dialogue Box the "Footnote Layout" does not appear and hence it is impossible to make sure that the text and the relevant footnote appear on the same page. This is most annoying as it wastes my time and holds me back from submitting to a publisher.

Graham D. MCKelvie

2016-11-23 01:51:55

Graham McKelvie

Your description of the Reference Tab for Windows 2010 does not appear to be correct. My Reference TAB in 2010 shows up like your illustration in earlier versions. Hence how do we make sure that the footnote appears on the same page as the the text to which it relates.
Am preparing a book for publication and it is annoying to find that you save text only then to find on reopening it that the footnotes are not in line with the page to which they relate. This is frustrating

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