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How to Add Footnotes in Google Docs


    Google Docs logo on a white background

    Whether you’re composing an essay, article, or legal document, you may have extra details you want to include. Instead of distracting from the main content, you can easily place footnotes in your Google Docs.

    Footnotes display at the end of the page with the footnote indicator (a number) attached to text in your document. This indicator is formatted as superscript and much less invasive than a string of related text.

    Insert a Footnote in Google Docs on the Web

    Visit Google Docs, sign in, and open your document. Then, place your cursor to the right of the word or select a word for the footnote you want to add.

    Select Insert > Footnote in the menu.

    Footnote in the Insert menu on the web

    You’ll immediately see the footnote indicator where you placed your cursor. You’ll also see the footnote at the end of the page which now contains your cursor. This allows you to enter the footnote text right away.

    Footnote and indicator inserted

    Type your note, details, or reference into the footnote area. You can then select a spot in your document to continue writing.

    Footnote text added on the web

    If you add more footnotes to your document, each is numbered sequentially in relation to the page you’re on.

    RELATED: How to Use Footnotes and Endnotes in Microsoft Word

    For example, we added our first footnote on the first page, our next one on the second page, and another footnote back on the first page. Google Docs automatically updates the numbering so that those on the first page are numbered 1 and 2 rather than 1 and 3.

    Two footnotes in Google Docs on the web

    Plus, Google Docs automatically adjust the spacing at the end of the document to accommodate all footnotes you add.

    Remove a Footnote in Google Docs

    If you want to remove a footnote you’ve added, you’ll simply delete the footnote indicator in your text.

    You can place your cursor to the right of the number and press Backspace on Windows and Chromebook or Delete on Mac. Alternatively, you can select the number and hit Delete.

    Footnote number selected in the text

    When you remove the footnote indicator, this also removes the footnote and adjusts the numbering for the remaining footnotes throughout your document accordingly.

    Add a Footnote in the Google Docs Mobile App

    If you use the Google Docs mobile app, you can add footnotes there as well. The steps are the same for both Android and iPhone.

    Open the Google Docs app to your document. Place your cursor to the right of the word or select the word. Then, tap the Insert icon (plus sign) at the top.

    When the Insert options appear at the bottom, choose “Footnote.”

    Footnote in the mobile app Insert menu

    Just like on the web, you’ll see the number indicator in the text and your cursor moves to the footnote for you to enter your text.

    Footnote and indicator inserted in the mobile app

    When you finish, tap a location in your document to exit the footnote area and continue creating your document.

    Also like the Google Docs website, each footnote you add is numbered in order according to the page you’re on and the footnote area automatically expands to accommodate all notes.

    Two footnotes in the Google Docs mobile app

    Remove a Footnote in the Mobile App

    To get rid of a footnote you’ve added, delete the number indicator in your text. You can do this by placing your finger to the right of the number which moves your cursor to it. Then, press the Backspace key on the keyboard.

    Cursor placement to remove a footnote indicator

    This deletes the footnote and adjusts any other footnotes in your document accordingly.

    Footnote deleted in the mobile app

    When you want to add related details to something in your text, but not make it part of the main content, footnotes in Google Docs are perfect.

    For more, look at how to use headers and footers in Google Docs too!


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