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: Heavy-Duty Footnotes.

Heavy-Duty Footnotes

Written by Allen Wyatt (last updated March 7, 2020)
This tip applies to Word 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, and Word in Microsoft 365


Carlisle ran into a problem with a professor that was using Word to write a "parallel book." The book would feature Latin text on one page with the parallel English translation on the adjacent page. Each page could contain footnotes, and the footnotes must be counted independently of each other. Carlisle wondered if there was a way to accomplish such a task in Word.

The short answer is no, there is no way. Word was never designed to do such a task. There are, however, workarounds. The first workaround is to simply rely on the book's publisher to handle the footnote issue. This answer is not as flippant as it may at first seem. Many professors are published by academic presses, and those companies wouldn't do their final typesetting in Word. Instead, they use Word as a source of the text that they import into their composition software. A quick check with the publisher may save hours of footnote frustration, because they may want the footnotes done in an altogether different manner that doesn't even involve Word's automatic footnoting.

Assuming that the professor is going to self-publish, then another simple workaround is to just store each of the parallel translations in different document files. Put the English translation in one document and the Latin in another. Then each can have its own footnotes. When it comes time to create the final document, just print one translation on each side of the paper. On the first printing pass, for instance, you could print the Latin document. Then turn the paper over and print the English document. This may take some trial-and-error, but it is ultimately quite flexible.

The downside to this, of course, is that the page numbering will also be independent in each file. That means that each file will have a page 1, etc. What you probably want is to have one document represent the even page numbers and the other represent the odd page numbers. This is handled easily enough by using a field to calculate the page numbers that are printed in the header or footer:

{ = 2 * { PAGE } }
{ = 2 * { PAGE } -1 }

The first field is used to calculate and display the even page numbers and the second one does the odd page numbers.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (12848) 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: Heavy-Duty 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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