How to Change Footnote Style in Microsoft Word

By Filonia LeChat

Footnotes may take up some of the smallest real estate on a Microsoft Word document page, but they can still hold powerful information. Draw a reader’s eye to your footnotes by formatting them with a style that stands out on the page. By default, footnotes in Word are tiny type, but with a few clicks, you can change their color, font, size and alignment, as well as enjoy full control over their numbering.

Step 1

Launch Word 2013 and open the document with the footnotes to change. If you recently worked on this file, it may appear in the Recent column on the start page. If so, double-click it. If not, click “Open Other Documents” to locate it.

Step 2

Change the style of an individual footnote by scrolling to it on the page. It may help to zoom in, since footnotes are usually the smallest text on the page. Highlight the part you want to change, such as the footnote number itself or the text.

Step 3

Click the "Home" tab and use the controls in the Font section of the ribbon to apply a new style, such as changing color, reducing the font size or making the footnote italic. The new style will apply to everything you have highlighted, but not any other footnotes.

Step 4

Change the way footnotes appear globally by clicking the "References" tab, then clicking the “More” arrow, the small arrow in the bottom-right corner of the Footnotes portion of the ribbon, which opens the “Footnote and Endnote” window.

Step 5

Select options such as the numbering to start off the footnotes, which is always “1” by default, as well as adding a custom symbol to the footnotes. You can also choose whether the footnote style should be traditional numerical characters, alphabetical characters, Roman numerals, or symbols.

Step 6

Click the “Apply” button to make the style change, close the window and return to the document.

Tips & Warnings

  • These instructions are written for Microsoft Word 2013 users. Earlier or later versions of the software may behave differently.