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: Using Multiple References to the Same Footnote.

Using Multiple References to the Same Footnote

Written by Allen Wyatt (last updated November 5, 2020)
This tip applies to Word 2007 and 2010


Word includes a feature that allows you to add footnotes and endnotes to your documents. This can come in real handy for some type of scholarly or scientific documents. In some instances, however, you may have a need for a single footnote to have multiple references within a document. For example, some scientific journals require that footnotes not be repeated, but that the same footnote reference be repeated within the main text, and that the references go to a single footnote. Thus, the document may have many occurrences of the same footnote reference.

Normally, Word allows only a one-to-one relationship between footnote references and footnotes. If you have a need for multiple references to the same footnote, this doesn't help you. Instead, you should follow these steps:

  1. Insert your first (primary) footnote as normal.
  2. Position the insertion point in the document where you want the secondary reference to the footnote.
  3. Display the References tab of the ribbon.
  4. Click the Cross-reference tool in the Captions group. Word displays the Cross-reference dialog box. (See Figure 1.)
  5. Figure 1. The Cross-reference dialog box.

  6. Using the Reference Type drop-down list, choose Footnote. Word displays a list of footnotes in the dialog box.
  7. Select the footnote you want used for this reference.
  8. Click Insert. The cross-reference is inserted, but it is still not formatted as a footnote reference.
  9. Click on Close to dismiss the Cross-reference dialog box. The insertion point should be just to the right of the cross-reference you just inserted.
  10. Hold down the Shift key as you press the Left Arrow. The cross-reference should be selected.
  11. Press Shift+F9. The contents of the field used for the cross-reference are displayed. It should look similar to the following.
  12. { NOTEREF _Ref477318004 \h }
  13. Position the insertion point between the last space and the closing brace in the field.
  14. Type \f. This field switch causes the field to use the same formatting as your other footnote references. The field should now appear similar to the following:
  15. { NOTEREF _Ref477318004 \h \f}
  16. Press Shift+F9 to collapse the field.
  17. Press F9 to update the field.

One other thing you might want to keep in mind: If you add new footnotes after following the above steps, the footnote references are automatically updated, but the cross-reference fields are not. To update those you'll need to update the cross-reference fields. The easiest way to do this is to press Ctrl+A (which selects the entire document) and then press F9 (which updates all the fields in the document).

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (12153) applies to Microsoft Word 2007 and 2010. You can find a version of this tip for the older menu interface of Word here: Using Multiple References to the Same Footnote.

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 seven minus 1?

2017-08-08 08:14:04



2017-02-06 10:33:08

Anna C

Hi Allen,
Thanks for the tip! I have a related question which is sort of the inverse of this one: how can one refer to a group of endnotes in one citation? I am using the endnote function to number a set of figures, and I need to refer to four of them in a group, i.e. "See Figures 2-5". I will want to do this multiple times in my document, and it will be too tedious to do all of the numbering by hand if I need to make changes to a later draft. So far, I have put in the four numbers as endnotes, but I cannot figure out how to reformat it from "See Figures 2345" to "See Figures 2-5". Is it even possible to do this? Thanks!

2016-12-18 07:08:57

Rodney Jones

Many thanks for this very useful tip, Allen.

2016-12-17 12:42:47

Rajesh Bhavsar

Ultimate solution. No words to say.

2016-12-01 06:52:32


Hello! Thank you so much for your help. I was looking everywhere to find an answer to this question. However, it does not work in my document. When I select my cross reference and I make the content of the cross reference visible it says: { NOTEREF _Ref341629039 f h }.
So I tried to change it to { NOTEREF _Ref341629039 h f} but these changes didn't have any effect on the cross reference. If I make the field normal again and click on it, it still refers to the footnootnumber in the text. What can I do? (I work on a Mac laptop with Word for Mac 2011 version 14.6.3)

2016-04-24 20:05:26


1/ How can I obtain formatted endnote number with bracket with comers eg. (1) or (1, 3, 6)? Cos current office word 2013 has no option of such to choose. To achieve, I have to highlight>font>click superscript. At times two or three references (endnotes) are required to enter at the end of sentence.

2/ Can I change endnote (references) into A to Z order? If so, the endnote number in the paragraph will change automatically or not??
Looking forward!.

2016-04-03 02:55:11

Anthony Nott

Thank you Allen for this useful tip.

Do you have any recommendations about staying with Word 2010 or 2013, or upgrading to 2016? I would use the footnoting features regularly, and was thinking of only upgrading from Word 2010 to 2013, in order to use two-column footnotes under a single body of text; and I perhaps might avoid having to learn to find various features in Word 2016, if there have been significant changes.

2016-03-30 09:58:30


You can eliminate steps 9-14 by changing the drop down for "Insert reference to:" to 'Footnote number (formatted)' before clicking Insert. It will then format it automatically.

2015-07-30 09:41:58

Rodney Jones

Thanks for this tip, Allen, which works fine for my purposes. The only problem is that it is a bit unwieldly. I have a Latin text and English translation where I want to reference one endnote from both sources. Although I have clearly got to choose the relevant footnote in every case, I wonder if there is any way of encapsulating the rest of the operations into a macro that could be attached to a keyboard shortcut?

2014-12-09 12:43:16


I agree with Ted...although this gets me one step further it does not complete the desired task. I need several spots within the main body of the document to refer to the same end note located at the end of the document. Only other option I can come up with is to create bookmarks in the end note section and then hyperlink using bookmark feature. So tedious. Wish we could just use ctrl function while cross-referencing to apply same end note to multiple text at once. But an overall thanks to you for sharing your knowledge and helping us amateurs out.

2014-11-06 00:20:44


There must be a special place in heaven reserved for people who take time to provide these free tutorials. I'm working long and late this week and you saved me a lot of grief. Thank you, Allen!

2014-10-17 11:50:40


This does NOT provide "Multiple References to the Same Footnote", it provides multiple references to the same footnote REFERENCE.

This is not the same thing.

What is required is a second reference to the footnote that goes directly to the footnote text without any hops.

The only saving grace is that having reached the footnote text, the hyperlink back button does return the user to the correct point in the document.

2014-09-22 12:55:59


A very clear explanation, thank you!

2014-05-09 08:56:11


It worked for boss was having footnote trouble and I was able to play "hero"! You made me look good! Thank you!

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