How to Add Footnotes in Google Docs and Google Slides

August 25, 2020
Kevin Kessler

So, you’ve just started a Google Doc or Google Slide that requires footnotes. Tedious as adding footnotes can be, it’s even worse if you don’t know how to do it correctly.

Rest assured. You’re not alone. This is a problem that almost all users will face at some point, no matter how seasoned/inexperienced. Finding a way to add footnotes in Google Docs or Google Slides can be annoying. It’s certainly not identical to adding footnotes to your Word document.

Fortunately, once you learn how to add footnotes in Google Docs and Google Slides, you’ll quickly get the hang of it.

In this article, we’ll show you how to add those footnotes to your text. Plus, you’ll learn more about footnotes in general and find a step-by-step walkthrough for adding them to your document.

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What are Footnotes?

Have you ever encountered a piece of writing at the bottom of a page in a book or a virtual document? The little citations that explain a point made in a text? These are called footnotes. A footnote helps you better explain the point made on the page in a text without compromising the flow of the document.

This citation style is essential in most pieces of writing. An alternative would be adding this information in brackets directly to the text or adding a sentence that explains the point made. This, however, definitely impacts the aforementioned flow of the text. Which is exactly where adding a footnote can be of huge help.

Why Use Footnotes in Google Docs or Google Slides?

Google Docs and Google Slides are becoming increasingly popular. More people are using these applications to collaborate on documents and presentations.

In addition to the regular need for footnotes (in books, Word documents, etc.), footnotes in Google Docs or Google Slides help users understand what the author meant by making a certain point in the text.

They’re also used in academic or other types of research to cite sources. In this respect, footnotes are an essential part of professionally-written Google documents.

How to Add Footnotes in Google Docs: A Step-by-Step Walkthrough

So, you want to add some clarity to your text without compromising the flow of your writing, but you don’t know how to add footnotes.

Fortunately, this is very easy to do. In this section, we’ll guide you through the process of adding footnotes to a Google Docs document in a step-by-step fashion.

Step 1: Select the Footnote Point

Provided that you’ve opened a Google Doc and have something written in it, select a certain point in the text where you want to add the notation. This notation will tell the reader to navigate to the bottom of the page to read the corresponding footnote.

Step 2: Insert the Notation

To insert the notation in the text and the footnote at the bottom of the page, go to the ‘Insert’ tab in the upper toolbar inside your Google Docs document. Alternatively, press Ctrl+Alt+F. A notation will be added automatically to the selected point inside your text.

How to insert a footnote in Google Docs

Step 3: Type Out the Footnote

Once you’ve added the notation, you’ll be taken to the bottom of the page, which will automatically prompt you to type out the footnote. Write down what is required and, once you’re done, click anywhere in the text. You can then continue working on your document.

Footnote in Google Docs

Step 4: Add the Next Footnote

You’ll note that the notation and the footnote that you’ve added share the same number. When you add the second footnote, wherever it is located in the text, it will display a new number. This is how you and others will distinguish the footnotes from one another.

How to Add Footnotes in Google Slides: A Step-by-Step Walkthrough

Giving a presentation? You can also add footnotes to your Google Slides presentation to provide additional information or reference citations without taking up too much space.

Unlike Microsoft PowerPoint, there’s no menu option to add or remove footnotes in Google Slides. Fortunately, you can still add them manually and it’s easy to do.

This section will guide you through the process of adding footnotes to Google Slides.

Step 1: Select a Google Slide

Start by opening your presentation in Google Slides if you haven’t already. Then select the slide you want to add a footnote to by simply clicking on it.

How to insert a footnote in Google Slides

Step 2: Add a Text Box

Next, click on ‘Insert’ from the toolbar at the top and click ‘Text box.’ Then place your cursor near the bottom of the slide and click to add a text box.

Insert a text box in Google Slides

Step 3: Customize the Text

You can change the font, size, color, alignment, and styling with the options in the toolbar.

Styling menu in Google Slides

Step 4: Insert a Superscript Number

Typically, you would include a footnote in a presentation to cite a source. Insert a number next to the text to indicate you’re referencing a source. Click ‘Format’ from the toolbar, hover over ‘Text,’ and click on ‘Superscript.’

Insert a superscript number in Google Slides

Step 5: Cite Your Sources

It’s important that you cite your sources to support any statements you make. This gives proper credit to the authors of the sources you used and allows others to learn more.

Use the APA style (the format established by the American Psychological Association) to cite your sources in your presentation. Use an online citation generator to help with this step and paste the source into the footnote.

Example of a Google Slide with a footnote

How to Add Footnotes in Google Docs and Google Slides on Mobile

Working on the go? You can also easily add footnotes to Google Docs and Google Slides from a mobile device. Download these apps from the App Store for iOS devices or Google Play for Android devices.

Adding Footnotes on Google Docs on Mobile

Open the document you want to add a footnote to and tap the ‘+’ button at the top.

Blank Google Docs on iOS

Then scroll down and tap ‘Footnote.’

Google Docs insert menu options on mobile

Then simply type in your footnote and it’ll automatically insert a superscript number.

Insert a footnote on Google Docs on mobile devices

Adding Footnotes on Google Slides on Mobile

Start by opening your presentation from the Google Slides app. Then tap the ‘+’ button at the top.

Blank Google Slides presentation on mobile

There’s no option to add a footnote in Google Slides, so we’ll need to make do with a text box. Tap ‘Text’ to add a text box.

Google Slides insert menu options

Then type in your footnote into the box. You can edit and customize the text with the options in the toolbar.

Example of a Google Slide with a footnote

Footnotes in Google Docs and Google Slides – FAQs

How do you move footnotes in Google Docs and Google Slides?

You can actually move notations upon inserting them. This is a very cool function, as it helps you avoid deleting the notation and the footnote and adding a new one. To move a footnote in Google Docs or Google Slides, treat it like any other piece of text that you want to move. Simply place the pointer before or after the notation, left-click and hold, drag the pointer to the other end of the notation, and release it. Once highlighted, left-click and hold the notation and move it to any other point in the text.

How do you copy and paste footnotes in Google Docs and Google Slides?

Unfortunately, copying an actual notation and pasting it somewhere else with the same footnote isn’t possible in Google Docs. However, you can copy the text of a footnote by navigating to the footnote and highlighting the text. Right-click and copy the text. Either that or use the Ctrl+C shortcut command. Copying and pasting footnotes is much easier in Google Slides. Simply copy the text box that has a footnote and paste it into a different slide.

How do I make every footer different in Google Docs?

You can customize footers (and headers) in Google Docs so that they’re to your preference. Start by selecting the footer (or header) in question by double-clicking it. Then, navigate to the top part of the page and click ‘Format.’ Now, navigate to Headers & footers. Click More options. Enter the custom margin sizes of your preference and select Apply.

How do you add references in Google Docs and Google Slides?

To add references to your document, go to the Tools menu in the top toolbar. Then, select Research. Alternatively, use the Ctrl+Alt+Shift+I shortcut. A new bar will appear to the right. Make your searches, select the study/paper, and select ‘Insert’ or ‘Cite’ as footnote. In Google Slides, you’ll need to create your own citations and paste them into a footnote. Using an online citation generator will help.

How do I find Google references?

This doesn’t have anything to do with footnotes, but Google Scholar can be a handy resource for finding references that you’ll end up putting in your footnotes. Visit the website and bookmark it.

Conclusion

We hope that we’ve helped you get a better understanding of footnotes and how to use them. You should find it easy to add footnotes in Google Docs and Google Slides now.

The outlined step-by-step guide has shown you how to insert footnotes and notations, while the other provided information should help you deal with footnotes whether you’re working from Google Docs or Google Slides.

Kevin Kessler
Kevin J. Kessler is a published author of five fantasy novels, a professional wrestler, and a puppeteer (not all at the same time). Kevin is a content writer at Codeless.

About the Author

Kevin Kessler
Kevin J. Kessler is a published author of five fantasy novels, a professional wrestler, and a puppeteer (not all at the same time). Kevin is a content writer at Codeless.