skip to Main Content

Footnote numbering incorrect in Word

A footnote is a note at the bottom of your page that contains information about something you write in your Word document. When you add a footnote, it automatically comes with a number. However, if you delete a footnote in Word, the other footnotes will not change their number. You can’t manually change the number of a footnote in a Word document. It is a problem when the footnote numbering is incorrect in Word, but we will guide you to solve it. This article will help you to get the footnotes to follow the correct order.

Footnote numbering incorrect after deleting footnotes

If you add a wrong footnote to a Word document, you may want to delete it. So let’s say that you have five footnotes in your Word document, and you want to remove two footnotes; numbers 2 and 4. If you delete these footnotes in your Word document, it removes them from your page. However, the other footnotes stay the same, meaning that footnotes do not renumber automatically.

Before footnote numbering

The footnote reference in the text still matches the footnote number, but the numbering skipped the footnotes you deleted. Instead of 5 references, you should have 3, but the numbering is wrong. See the example below to understand how the footnotes are missing numbers.

The footnote numbering could look like the below picture: 1, 3, 5, which is not sequential. The last footnote is still number 5 and should be number 3.

If your footnotes do not renumber automatically, then you can solve this problem.

delete footnote numbering incorrect

Solution for footnotes missing number is Track Changes off

If you try to delete text with a footnote in a Word document, you may experience a problem. You can see removed footnotes, but the numbering is still incorrect and does not automatically update correctly.

Some people edit and change a document with the feature Track Changes turned on. If this is the case, the footnotes will not delete entirely from your Word document. When Track Changes is on in your Word document, it is set aside as deleted text. You must accept or reject changes before Word can correctly renumber your footnotes. We will guide you through the steps below to solve incorrect footnote numbering in Word.

The next step is to check if Track Changes is turned off:

  • Click on the Review tab in the ribbon
  • Go to the Track Changes icon
    • If dark-grey, then it is ON
    • If normal, then it is switched OFF

If the Track Changes icon is on, use one of the options below.

Steps to turn the Track Changes off:

  1. Review tab
  2. Click on the upper icon once
Track changes on

You can also turn Track changes off using this option below:

  1. Review tab
  2. Click on the Track Changes arrow
  3. Select Track Changes
track changes off

Accept all changes to avoid footnotes skipping number

In our example, we deleted two footnotes, numbers 2 and 4. Sometimes you can’t see the changes you made in the document because you have No Markup in the Track Changes. It is the reason why most people don’t notice they have the Track Changes feature turned on.

Now, check if there are changes:

  • Click on the Review tab in the ribbon
  • Go to the Changes group > Click on the Accept icon
  • Select Accept all Changes
Accept all changes in review tab in Word

Then check if there are any comments:

  • Right-click on each comment
  • Select Delete

Now the footnotes should update correctly. In our example, you can see that the numbering changed to 1, 2, and 3. If your footnote numbering is still incorrect, please read further to solve the problem.

Footnote numbering correct in order and sequential.

Footnote numbering incorrect due to the wrong format

The footnote numbering in your Word document is incorrect and uses symbols, Arabic numbers, or Roman numerals instead of numbers 1, 2, 3. Or the footnotes in Word skip numbering and are wrong. Another problem is that the footnote number restarts at 1 on every Word page. Luckily there is a solution for each of these problems.

You could have used the wrong format when inserting a footnote in your Word document. Luckily, you can change the number formatting if you add a footnote using the Footnote and Endnote dialog box. You can also manually insert footnote numbering using the Custom mark. Unfortunately, Word does not automatically correct these custom footnote numbering. You can check for more options to change a footnote number in the Footnote and Endnote dialog box in Word.

How to number footnotes in Word correctly

Follow the steps below to open the Footnote and Endnote dialog box:

  • Go to the text with the incorrect footnote numbering
  • Click on the References tab
  • Click on the arrow in the corner of the Footnotes group
Open Footnote dialog box

Check the default settings in the Footnote and Endnote dialog box:

  • Select Footnotes > Bottom of page
  • Check under Format
    • Number format > choose 1, 2, 3
    • Custom mark > Leave empty
    • Start at > 1
    • Numbering > Continuous
  • Apply changes to > Whole document
  • Click Insert

You can change the footnote number manually or remove the custom mark, if there is a custom mark.

Footnote and Endnote format dialog box

Solution for incorrect order footnotes by removing section breaks

Your Word document may have different sections which are invisible. Each section break has another formatting, including page or footnote numbering. You can remove a section break from Word if this is the case.

The easiest way to view section breaks is to display all paragraph marks in the ribbon.

  • In the Home tab
  • Click the icon
Show paragraph marks

Or use the keyboard shortcut to view paragraphs marks:

  • Click on Ctrl + (

You can see if the footnote was in a section break (continuous).

Footnote numbering incorrect in section of Word document

The solution is the remove all section breaks at once. Look at the below picture to understand the steps.

Remove all section breaks:

  1. Click on Replace in the Home tab
  2. In the Find and Replace dialog box > Go to the Replace tab
  3. In the box next to Find what:
    • Type the symbols ^b
  4. In the box next to Replace with:
    • Leave it empty
  5. Then click Replace All
  6. Lastly, a dialog box opens > click OK

You can see that Word will number the footnotes correctly. We highlighted the footnotes numbering, which is in sequence after we deleted all the section breaks.

Remove all section breaks in footnotes Word. how to change a footnote number in word

Footnote numbering incorrect in Footnote and Endnote dialog box

Check if the footnote you deleted was in a section break by opening the Footnote and Endnote dialog box. Again, it is essential to number your footnotes correctly in Word. So if you want to keep the section breaks in your Word document, follow the steps below.

First we need to open the Footnote and Endnote dialog box:

  • Select the wrong numbered footnote
  • Click on the References tab
  • Go to the Footnotes group > Click on the arrow in the corner
    • It will open the Footnote and Endnote dialog box

The next step is to make changes in the Footnote and Endnote dialog box. Check if the number format is the same as the one you use in your Word document.

  • In our example, the number format differs (a, b, c).
    • Since the footnote numbering differs from the one you used, your Word document has section breaks.
  • Change the settings to (1, 2, 3) in the Footnote and Endnote dialog box and click Apply.
  • Remember to apply changes to the whole document.

In our example, we changed the footnote format in the Word document. This way, you can keep the section breaks and have the footnotes numbering in order in your Word document.

How to number footnotes in Word document correctly

Footnotes not numbered properly in Word

You could try another method if your footnotes are still not in order. We want the footnotes to start at 1 in your Word document. Then the following footnote should automatically number correctly afterward.

Solution footnote numbering in Find and Replace dialog box

If the above solutions do not work, you could try the following approach. We want Word to inspect the numbers you use in the document to avoid any disorder.

Steps to open the Find and Replace dialog box:

  • Click somewhere in your document
  • Go to the Home tab in the ribbon
  • In the Editing group > Click on the Replace button
  • Or use the keyboard shortcut
    • Ctrl + H
How to number footnotes in Word

Follow the steps below in the Replace tab in the Find and Replace dialog box:

  • In the box next to Find what:
    • Type these symbols ^f
  • In the Replace with:
    • Type these symbols ^&

Now we want to select a format style for the replacement box.

  1. Place your mouse cursor in the box next to > Replace with:
  2. Click on More >>
    • If it is visible, like the below picture
how to number footnotes in word

As you can see, the dialog box opens up more. Maybe it already looked like this, so you didn’t need to click on the More>> button.

The next step is to change the format to the left below button.

  • Click on Format
  • Select Style
how to add a footnote number in word

Make changes in the Replace Style dialog box:

  • Scroll down or type F a few times
    • Select > Footnote Reference
    • Click OK
how to add a footnote number in word

The format under Replace with is added. Style: Footnote Reference

  • Lastly, click Replace All

Now Word will make replacements, and a dialog box comes up. Click OK and see that Word has renumbered the footnotes correctly.

How to change the footnote number in Find and replace dialog box

Conclusion

Now you know how to change the footnote number correctly in Word. When you delete a footnote and do not automatically update and renumber the footnotes, you may have a problem with the format or sections in Word. Always turn the Track Changes feature off because it could cause incorrect footnote numbering in Word. You learned to number footnotes correctly in Word.

This Post Has 0 Comments

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.