How to Add Footnotes in Google Docs

- Written by Puneet


Adding footnotes on Google Docs can be very important when you are working on very detailed projects and you don’t want to clutter the main text body further.

With the help of footnotes, you can easily provide additional context without disrupting the main flow of the document. This is especially helpful when working on academic papers where citations and explanatory notes are necessary.

Additionally, footnotes offer practical benefits for document management and collaboration. If you are working on a project with multiple team members, you can use the footnote feature to reference sources and add comments without altering the main text.

And this makes the editing process fuss-free. And today, we will look at how you can add footnotes to Google Docs.

Steps to Add Footnotes in Google Docs

Adding a basic footnote in Google Docs is pretty straightforward, and here’s how you can do it:

  1. First, head to the document on which you are working.
  2. Move your cursor and place it exactly at the point in the text where you’d like to add the footnote.
  3. Then, go to the ‘Insert’ option on the top tool menu.
  1. Upon doing that, you will find a drop-down menu on the screen.
  2. Find the ‘Footnote’ option from the drop-down menu and click on it.
  1. Lastly, type the text you’d want to be added to the footnote in the space that is provided at the bottom of the page.

Edit Footnotes in Google Docs

After adding the footnotes, you might want to edit it as well. And this is how you can do it:

  1. To do this, scroll to the bottom of the page, where the footnote is displayed.
  2. Now click on the footnote to see that it has become editable.
  3. Then, make the necessary changes to the footnote, and you will be ready.

Format Footnotes in Google Docs

Now that you know how to add and edit footnotes, you would also want to know if you can format them too. And the answer is yes. Formatting footnotes can help increase the consistency and reliability of your document. Let me tell you how you format it.

  1. First, scroll down to the end of the page where your footnote is located. Then highlight the footnote.
  1. Once the footnote text is highlighted, move to the toolbar towards the top of the document and change the font, size, and color as needed.

Moreover, you can access the other formatting options too, such as using the bold, italic, or underline features.

Keyboard Shortcuts You Should Know To Add Footnotes In Google Docs

Some people find it more convenient to use keyboard shortcuts to add footnotes in Google Docs instead of following the steps I just mentioned above. If you have a similar preference, here’s how you can add footnotes without having to navigate the menus:

For Windows:

  1. First, you need to place the cursor in the text where you want to add the footnote.
  2. Once you’ve placed the cursor in the desired position, press ‘Ctrl+Alt+F’ on your keyboard.
  3. Then simply type in your desired text and it will appear at the bottom of the page.

For Mac:

  1. For Macbooks too, first you’ll need to place the cursor in at the text point where you want the footnote.
  2. Next, press ‘Command+Option+F’ on your keyboard.
  3. And finally, type in the text in the footnote section at the bottom of the page.

Add Hyperlinks in Footnotes

Some of you might need to add hyperlinks to your footnote. Hyperlinks can provide you with direct access to resources available online and play a crucial role in making your document informative and interactive. Follow the steps I mention and you’ll be able to add a hyperlink to your footnotes with much ease.

  1. To begin with, add a basic footnote to your document following the simple steps that I mentioned before.
  2. Next, highlight the text within the footnote section where you want to add the external hyperlink.
  1. Right-click on the highlighted text and a drop-down menu will appear.
  2. Then click on ‘Insert link’ from the drop-down menu.
  1. On doing that, a dialogue box will appear. All you need to do then is paste the URL you want to link to in the box and click on ‘Apply’.

Alternatively, you can even use keyboard shortcuts to achieve the desired result. Press ‘Command+K’ if you are working on a Mac and press ‘Ctrl+K’ if you are on a Windows device.

After doing this, you will find the highlighted text appearing as a hyperlink in the footnote of your page.

How To Remove Footnotes In Google Docs

Now that we have discussed how to add a footnote, edit it, and format it, I am going to tell you how you can remove it as well. The steps are pretty simple:

  1. At first, you will need to click on the superscript number in the text that directly corresponds to a footnote that you would like to remove.
  1. Next, you simply have to press ‘delete’ or ‘Backspace’ on your keyboards.
  2. The moment the superscript is removed, you will notice that the corresponding footnote is also deleted.

The best thing about Google Docs is that when you remove a footnote from the document, the rest of it gets re-numbered automatically. You don’t have to manually change anything.

Things to Keep in Mind when Adding Footnotes in Google Docs

When adding footnotes in Google Docs, consider these best practices:

  • Keep Footnotes Concise: Brief and informative, avoiding overload.
  • Consistent Formatting: Use uniform font size, style, and color.
  • Relevant Information: Add only valuable details.
  • Proper Citation: Follow citation guidelines (APA, MLA, Chicago) if you are working on academic projects.


Please remember that footnotes may appear in a different font size or style than the main text, disrupting the document’s uniformity. To solve this issue, make the footnotes look the same as the rest of the text by selecting them and changing their font size and style to match. This keeps everything in the document looking neat and consistent.

Last Updated: June 06, 2024