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When reading a book or article, you’ve probably noticed small numbers placed at the end of a sentence, which correspond to a note at the bottom of the page.

These are called footnotes, and they can add value for your readers by providing information about your sources, or adding supplementary details so they can better understand a subject.

However, if you want to use footnotes in your next article or nonfiction book, there are several rules you should be aware of, including when and how to use them.

How to Insert Footnotes

If you’re working with Microsoft Word, inserting footnotes is quite easy, Just follow these steps:

1. Place your cursor where you would like the superscript to appear.

2. Under the References tab, click Insert Footnote. This will make the superscript appear in the text, where you placed your cursor.

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3. The corresponding number will be automatically inserted in the footer of your text.

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4. In the footer of the text, add your footnote citation.

What Is an Example of a Footnote?

Footnotes can be used to cite all kinds of sources, including books, magazines, journals—even websites and blog posts!

Here’s an example of how to cite this post in a footnote, using the rules of the Chicago Manual of Style:

[1] Kaelyn Barron, “How to Write Footnotes: When to Use Them and How to Add Them in Word,” TCK Publishing, last modified August 18, 2020,

As this is a web page, it follows this format:

[1] Author first and last name, “Title of Page,” Website name, Publishing organization, publication or last modified date, URL.

How Do You Quote Using Footnotes?

If you want to quote a source directly, follow these steps ton make sure you insert the footnote in the proper place:

1. Copy the exact words from the original source.

2. Place quotation marks (“) at the beginning and end of the quoted text.

3. Insert the superscript number at the end of the sentence containing the quote. If more than one author is quoted within a sentence, insert a footnote next to each author’s name. If there is punctuation present, insert the superscript outside the punctuation (i.e., after a period or comma).

Always Cite Your Sources

Regardless of which style you choose, it’s important that you always cite your sources in order to avoid plagiarism.

Fortunately, there are plenty of online citation generators to make things easier for you. All you have to do is select the style you want, enter the source information, and you’ll have a properly formatted citation ready for your footnotes or bibliography.

Did you find this post helpful? Let us know in the comments below!


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