Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Word versions: 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, and Word in Microsoft 365. 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: Sequentially Numbering Footnotes.

Sequentially Numbering Footnotes

Written by Allen Wyatt (last updated September 19, 2023)
This tip applies to Word 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, and Word in Microsoft 365


The footnote feature in Word is quite flexible, allowing you to set up your footnotes in the format that is best for your needs. Normally, footnotes are numbered sequentially, either within the document or within a section of the document. As you add or remove footnotes, Word automatically renumbers the remaining footnotes, so they are sequential.

If you notice that the numbering on your footnotes is getting out of whack (no longer sequential) there could be a couple of different reasons. This problem can crop up if you have Track Changes turned on and you do quite a bit of copying and pasting in the document. In those instances, Word may not renumber the footnotes until you resolve all the outstanding changes by accepting them or rejecting them.

Another possibility is that you have somehow changed the properties of some of the footnotes so that their numbering is no longer continuous. Finding and correcting the properties of some wayward footnotes can be bothersome but is made much easier through the use of a macro. The following macro will step through each footnote in a document and make sure that it is set for continuous numbering.

Sub MakeFootnotesAuto()
    Dim f As Footnote

    For Each f In ActiveDocument.Footnotes
        f.Range.FootnoteOptions.NumberingRule _
          = wdRestartContinuous
    Next f
End Sub

Note:

If you would like to know how to use the macros described on this page (or on any other page on the WordTips sites), I've prepared a special page that includes helpful information. Click here to open that special page in a new browser tab.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (12815) applies to Microsoft Word 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, and Word in Microsoft 365. You can find a version of this tip for the older menu interface of Word here: Sequentially Numbering Footnotes.

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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