Combining Footnotes

Written by Allen Wyatt (last updated June 6, 2020)
This tip applies to Word 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, and Word in Microsoft 365


Daniel has an academic paper that uses many footnotes. Right now, he has footnotes at the end of each sentence. He would like to combine all of the footnotes within a paragraph into a single footnote at the end of the paragraph. He wonders if there is a way to do this automatically.

There is no way to do this automatically, but you can do it with a macro. All the macro needs to do is to step through each paragraph in the document and see if it has any footnotes. Then, assuming it does, it concatenates those, deletes the footnotes, and adds a new footnote with the concatenated text at the end of the paragraph. Here's a macro that does just that:

Sub MoveFootnotes()
    Dim p As Paragraph
    Dim iFN As Integer
    Dim J As Integer
    Dim oCurPar As Object
    Dim sTemp As String

    For Each p In ActiveDocument.Paragraphs
        sTemp = ""
        iFN = p.Range.Footnotes.Count
        For J = iFN To 1 Step -1
            sTemp = p.Range.Footnotes(J).Range.Text & " " & sTemp
        Next J
        sTemp = Trim(sTemp)
        If sTemp > "" Then
            Set oCurPar = p.Range
            oCurPar.Collapse Direction:=wdCollapseEnd
            oCurPar.MoveEnd Unit:=wdCharacter, Count:=-1
            ActiveDocument.Footnotes.Add Range:=oCurPar, Text:=sTemp
        End If
    Next p
End Sub

Note that the macro concatenates the footnote text for each paragraph into the sTemp string. This is then used when adding the footnote to the end of the paragraph. This does present a drawback to the macro—it copies only text, not any formatting for the text.

For instance, if you have a bunch of footnotes that include citations to books, chances are good that those book titles are formatted in italic. After running the macro, the italic will be gone, though all the text is there. (There is no way that I'm aware of to transfer the formatting, intact, into the new footnote.)


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 (13767) 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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What is 1 + 1?

2020-06-08 13:24:29


Here's the way I would do it, using the Clipboard to retain the formatting of each footnote's text, and permitting a specified separator text to be inserted between the original footnotes' text and a prefix to each footnote.

Sub CombineParagraphFootnotes()
Const Prefix As String = "Fn: " ' Set to "" to not have a prefix,
Const Separator As String = " " ' Set to "" to not have a separator.
Dim P As Paragraph
Dim CurNo As Integer
Dim AggregatedFootnote As Footnote

For Each P In ActiveDocument.Paragraphs
If P.Range.Footnotes.Count > 0 Then
' Add a new footnote to the end of the paragraph.
Set AggregatedFootnote = ActiveDocument.Footnotes.Add(Range:=P.Range) ' Here, "Range" parameter is the *paragraph's text*
' Loop backwards through the paragraphs footnotes, except the newly created last one
For CurNo = P.Range.Footnotes.Count - 1 To 1 Step -1
' Move the Footnote's formatted text to the beginning of the new footnote via Clipboard
Selection.Collapse Direction:=wdCollapseStart
' Add Separator and Prefix.
Selection.Collapse Direction:=wdCollapseStart
If CurNo <> 1 Then Selection.InsertAfter Separator ' No Separator for first footnote (= last iteration).

Selection.InsertAfter Prefix
Next CurNo
End If
Next P
End Sub

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