How To Add Footnotes in Google Docs (5 Min Guide)

Are you writing in a document and wondering how to add footnotes in Google Docs? Adding footnotes is particularly helpful when you need to include additional information, cite reputable sources, explain complex ideas, or acknowledge external contributions without disrupting the flow of your text.

That said, adding footnotes in Google Docs is a simple process. You can use the keyboard shortcut “Ctrl+Alt+F,” or you can click on the “Insert” menu > “Footnote” and then type your footnote text at the bottom of your page in the allocated space.

Read on to learn how to add footnotes in Google Docs using methods on desktop and mobile devices in detail with screenshots.

How To Add Footnotes in Google Docs on a Desktop

Adding footnotes to your Google Docs on a desktop is quick and easy when writing academic papers. Follow these simple steps below to learn how to do it:

  1. Open your Google Workspace and the Google document.
  2. Click on the place where you want to add the footnote.
    • This can be a specific word or phrase where you want to include additional information.
  3. From the top menu, select “Insert” > “Footnote.”
    • Alternatively, you can use the footnotes Google Docs keyboard shortcut of Ctrl + Alt + F.
How to add footnotes in Google Docs—Insert menu > Footnote
  1. Upon clicking, a small number (superscript) will appear by your chosen word or phrase.
    • This is where your footnote will be added with a corresponding number at the bottom of the page.
  2. Type your footnote text in the designated footnote area.
    • Here, you can format the footnote text according to your document and preferences.
Inserted footnote in Google Docs

How To Insert Footnotes in Google Docs on Mobile Devices

Sometimes, I work on Google Docs from my mobile phone, especially when editing on the fly. If you want to add footnotes in Google Docs on mobile devices, follow the steps below:

  1. Open your Google Docs app on your mobile device.
  2. Open the Google document that you are working on and where you need to add a footnote.
  3. Tap the location within the document where you want to insert your footnote.
  4. Tap the Plus (+) icon in the toolbar at the top of the screen.
  5. Scroll down and tap the “Footnote” Google Sheets option from the list.
Mobile device—adding footnote
  1. A small number will appear at the end of the word or phrase where you want to add the footnote, and a corresponding number will appear at the bottom of the page.
  2. Type your footnote text at the bottom of the page. You can format the text as you would any other text in your document.
Inserted footnote via a mobile device

Once the footnote is inserted, a superscript number for your footnote will appear in the exact location where you had your cursor within the Google Docs. This marks the reference for the footnote you created. And that’s how to add footnotes in Google Docs on mobile!

Short on time? No problem! Check out our newly recorded 1-minute guide on how to add footnotes in Google Docs!

[adthrive-in-post-video-player video-id=”udFG4v8x” upload-date=”2023-12-21T14:28:44.000Z” name=”How to Add Footnotes in Google Docs” description=”To add footnotes in Google Docs, follow these quick steps. My guide takes less than a minute.” player-type=”default” override-embed=”default”]

How To Add Footnotes in Google Docs Using the Explore Feature

The Google Docs Explore feature is an extremely helpful tool. I often use it because it lets me add citations and format my footnotes according to my preferences. It also allows you to find and search related items within your text, making it one of the most efficient and simple tools!

Before we dive into how to make footnotes in Google Docs with formatting using the Explore tool, we will first explore how the tool works.

What Is the Google Docs Explore Tool, and How Does It Work?

The Google Docs Explore tool is a special built-in feature within Google Docs that lets users do several tasks within the document without the need to switch tabs.

Imagine you’re working on an essay in Google Docs, but suddenly, a mental block hits you. It seems you need to consult Google for some inspiration. Instead of opening a new tab to visit Google, you can use the Explore tool to conduct research without leaving the Google Docs interface.

Additionally, the Explore tool allows you to access your Drive storage directly from your document. This is particularly useful when referring to saved files while working on your current document.

The Explore tool uses artificial intelligence and machine learning. This means it can also suggest ways to improve your content. It analyzes your written text and offers relevant and helpful suggestions to enhance your content.

Where is the Explore Tool in Google Docs?

The fastest way to activate the Explore tool in Google Docs is using the keyboard shortcut Ctrl + Alt + Shift + I (on Windows) or Command + Option + Shift + I (on Mac).

Explore tool in Google Docs—where to find the Explore tool in the tools menu

Alternatively, you can open it through the Google Docs toolbar by selecting “Tools” and clicking “Explore.” Once activated, a sidebar panel will appear on the right side of your screen.

Explore tool in Google Docs

It’s good to know that the Google Explore tool is not exclusive to Google Docs alone. It is also available in other Google Workspace apps like Google Slides and Google Sheets. However, this article will only use this feature in Google Docs.

Follow the steps below to learn how to use the Explore tool in Google Docs:

  1. Open your Google Workspace and document.
  2. Find the “Explore” button in the bottom right corner of your Google Docs document and tap on it.
Google Docs "Explore" button
  1. Upon clicking “Explore,” the Explore sidebar will open and appear on your right.
    • You can type in the relevant information (what you want to add as a footnote) and press “Enter” to confirm the search.
Google Docs—Explore option
  1. Upon seeing the search results, select the most relevant result and add as “Cite as a footnote.” This will add the result as a footnote.
Google Docs—Cite as footnote option
  1. Upon clicking, a formatted footnote will be added to your document. The accompanying information will also be added to the footnote (as seen below).
Google Docs—Cited footnote

This feature is particularly handy if you’re working on academic papers with many sources and want to enter some of your citations and footnotes manually.

How To Use the Explore Tool in Google Docs on a Mobile Device

You can also access the Explore tool when using the Google Docs App on your smartphone, making it a versatile tool in your arsenal. To maximize the benefits of the Explore tool, follow the steps below to use it on your mobile device:

  1. Open the Google Docs App and the relevant document on your mobile device.
  2. Activate “Editing Mode” by tapping the “Edit” button.
  3. Tap the three-dot icon located on the top-right corner of the screen.
    Red rectangle on a pen (edit) button
  4. Tap “Explore.
    Red rectangle on the three dots button
Red rectangle on the word "Explore"

That’s it! You have now successfully opened the Explore tool in the Google Docs App.

How To Research in Google Docs Using Explore on a Mobile

Just like on a computer, you can use the mobile version of the Explore tool in the Google Docs App to perform quick Google searches. To get started, follow the steps below:

  1. Open the “Explore” tool in the Google Docs App.
  2. Enter a keyword in the search bar.
Search bar of the Explore tool
  1. Select a search result by tapping on it to view the full details.
Search results for the keywords "writing a poem"

And that’s it! Within seconds, you will see your searched items within the Explore tool. Happy searching.

How To Use Add-on Citation Alternatives

While many users like the fluidity and ease of adding footnotes directly in the Google document, there are several other methods of adding footnotes. One of my favorite ways to add footnotes and citations is by using a Google add-on, which I find to be both convenient and efficient.

Listed below are three add-on tools that I use to add footnotes and citations to my documents:

1. EasyBib

The EasyBib add-on is great because it lets you customize your citations, such as APA, MLA, and Chicago, according to your required style. The add-on is user-friendly and only takes a minute to master.

  1. Select the source type.
  2. Fill in the required information.
  3. Wait for the add-on to generate a formatted citation.

2. Zotero

This is another great add-on and citation tool because Zotero lets you create and organize citations for your sources. Once you have downloaded the add-on, you can insert and remove citations or footnotes from your Zotero library. Here is how it works:

  1. Download the add-on.
  2. Conduct your research and organize it into items, collections, or keywords.
  3. Zotero will create references and bibliographies.
  4. Synchronize your data with Google Docs to keep your notes, references, and citations updated.

3. Paperpile

Paperpile is a reference manager that lets you store and organize your references and generate citations and bibliographies. The Paperpile add-on for Google Docs makes it easy to insert citations and footnotes from your Paperpile library into your document.

To manage your research library using Paperpile, follow these easy steps:

  1. Download the add-on and sign into your Google account.
  2. Collect your references via the Chrome extension.
  3. Organize your data within your Google Drive.
  4. Cite your references in Google Docs.

If you are looking for an alternative method to add footnotes to your Google document, then these add-ons provide the perfect solution. Furthermore, once you master using them, you will see a notable improvement in your workflow efficiency when adding footnotes and citations to your document.

They are also helpful when checking the formatting of your documents and making helpful suggestions and adjustments to your work before submitting your final draft.

How To Remove a Footnote in Google Docs

Removing footnotes can be confusing since the backspace doesn’t work. This is because there is something in the original text that is referencing the footnote.

If you want to remove the footnote because it is no longer needed, follow the steps below:

  1. Find the reference in the normal text.
    • It will have the same superscript number as the particular footnote.
  2. Insert the cursor after the superscript number in the text.
  3. Using the backspace, delete the superscript number.

You’ll notice that the footnote and superscript number will also disappear, meaning you have just deleted your footnote in Google Docs.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is there a Shortcut to Add Footnotes in Google Docs?

Adding footnotes in Google Docs is a simple process that can be done using a keyboard shortcut or by accessing the “Insert” menu. To add footnotes using the keyboard shortcut, follow these steps:

  1. Place your cursor in the text where you want to add a footnote.
  2. Press “Ctrl” + “Alt” + “F” on a PC or “Command” + “Option” + “F” on a Mac.
  3. A small number will appear in superscript at the end of the sentence, and your cursor will jump to the bottom of the page, where you can add your footnote.
  4. Type your footnote text in the box at the page’s bottom.
  5. Click outside the box to return to your main text.

Do Footnotes Go in the Footer of Google Docs?

Traditionally, footnotes are placed at the bottom of the page. By default, footnotes in Google Docs will also appear at the bottom of the page, but Google Docs does provide several options if you want to place your footnotes in another location, such as at the end of the document or on a separate page.

To change the location of your footnotes, follow these steps:

  1. Click on the “Insert” menu in the top toolbar.
  2. Select “Footnote” from the drop-down menu.
  3. Click on the three dots button in the bottom right corner of the footnote box.
  4. Choose your preferred location for the footnotes from the drop-down menu.
    • The options are “Bottom of page,” “End of document,” or “Below text.”

Respectively, if you choose the “Bottom of the page” option, the footnotes will appear at the bottom of the current page. If you select the “End of document” option, the footnotes will be grouped at the end of the document. Finally, if you choose the “Below the text” option, the footnotes will appear at the end of each section.

Can I Change the Font for my Footnotes?

Yes. You can change your footnotes’ font style and size in Google Docs. Follow the steps below:

  1. Go to the Google Docs add-on “Footnote Style.
  2. You will find it in the “Toolbar” > “Add-ons” > “Footnote Style
  3. Select the option to “Match footnote style to selection.”

Once you click the option, you can customize your footnotes according to the font style and size.

Can I Organize my Footnotes into Columns?

Unfortunately, organizing your footnotes into a table in Google Docs is impossible. However, a workaround is to insert a table in your footer. Then, you can manually add a footnote to your table.

While this method is feasible, it is somewhat inefficient, especially if your document has many footnotes. Therefore, an alternative method is to have a reference in your footnotes to another part of the document, such as an appendix.

Wrapping it Up

Overall, adding footnotes in Google Docs is a simple process. Following the steps outlined above, you can easily add footnotes to your document, providing additional context and references for your readers.

Now that you know how to add footnotes in Google Docs, you may want to learn more about Google Suite. Discover these awesome G Suite courses today!

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