Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Word versions: 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, Word in Microsoft 365, and 2021. 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 Cross-References in Footnotes.

Using Cross-References in Footnotes

Written by Allen Wyatt (last updated May 7, 2022)
This tip applies to Word 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, Word in Microsoft 365, and 2021


If you are developing a scholarly document that includes numerous footnotes, it is not unusual to need cross-references in the footnotes. The problem is that if you use automatic footnote numbering, which is a powerful Word feature, the cross-references can quickly become a burden to update manually. Word allows you to automatically cross-reference footnotes so that your cross-references always stay correct once set. This is done as follows:

  1. In the main text of your document, select the footnote reference mark you want to cross-reference. (Make sure you are in the main text of the document, not in a footnote or endnote.)
  2. Display the Insert tab of the ribbon.
  3. Click the Bookmark tool, in the Links group. Word displays the Bookmark dialog box. (See Figure 1.)
  4. Figure 1. The Bookmark dialog box.

  5. Enter the name you want to use to reference the footnote.
  6. Click on Add. Word creates the bookmark.
  7. Position the insertion point in the footnotes where you want to place the cross-reference.
  8. Press Ctrl+F9 to insert field brackets. Make sure the insertion point stays between the brackets.
  9. Type NoteRef followed by the name of the bookmark you created in steps 4-5.
  10. Press F9 to update the field information. Word replaces the field with the footnote number to which the bookmark was assigned.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (13324) applies to Microsoft Word 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, Word in Microsoft 365, and 2021. You can find a version of this tip for the older menu interface of Word here: Using Cross-References in 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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