So, you’ve just started a Google Doc 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 Google Docs users will face at some point, no matter how seasoned/inexperienced. Finding a way to add footnotes in Google Docs 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 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. Welcome to footnotes in Google Docs.

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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?

Google Docs is becoming increasingly popular. People are moving to this environment, primarily for purposes of simultaneous document collaboration. In addition to the regular need for footnotes (in books, Word documents, etc.), footnotes in Google Docs help users understand what the author meant by making a certain point in the text.

They are also used in academic or other types of research, to add references made in a document. In this respect, they’re 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.

You can add the footnote from the Insert option.

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.

The footnote is found at the bottom of the page.

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.

Footnotes in Google Docs – FAQ

How do you move footnotes in Google Docs?

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, 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?

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.

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?

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.

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.


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