Moving Text to a New Footnote

Written by Allen Wyatt (last updated December 12, 2022)
This tip applies to Word 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, and Word in Microsoft 365


Michel is editing a document that has, within the text, information that really should be in footnotes. He wonders if there is an easy way to select the text, have a footnote automatically created, and the selected text be moved to the footnote.

This can, of course, be done manually. All you need to do is to follow these general steps:

  1. Select the text that should be in the footnote.
  2. Press Ctrl+X. This cuts the text to the Clipboard.
  3. Press Alt+Ctrl+F. This creates a new footnote and places the insertion pointer in the footnote itself.
  4. Paste the contents of the Clipboard as plain text.
  5. Format the text of the footnote, as desired.

If you have to do this process quite a bit, you could automate it by creating a macro that does the same things. (Well, the same things except for steps 1 and 5—you will still need to select the text you want moved to the footnote and you will still need to format it once it is in the footnote.)

Sub TextToFootnote()
    Dim sTemp As String

    sTemp = Selection
    Selection.Delete
    Selection.TypeBackspace
    ActiveDocument.Footnotes.Add Range:=Selection.Range, Text:=sTemp
End Sub

The macro copies whatever text you selected into the sTemp variable. It then deletes the selection, types a backspace, and inserts a footnote that is equivalent to the text stored in sTemp. Note that since the macro backspaces after deleting the text from the main document, it assumes that what you selected (and what is being moved to the footnote) does not include the leading space.

You can, of course, make the macro more usable by assigning a shortcut key to it or adding it to the Quick Access Toolbar. Either method will allow you to easily move text from the body of the document into the footnotes.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (13591) applies to Microsoft Word 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, and Word in Microsoft 365.

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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