How to Add Footnotes in Google Docs

Google Docs logo on a white background

Whether you are writing an essay, article, or legal document, you may have additional details that you want to include. Instead of distracting from the main content, you can easily add footnotes to your Google Docs.

Footnotes are appended to the text in your document at the bottom of the page with the footnote indicator (a number). This indicator is superscript formatted and much less invasive than a string with associated text.

Add a footnote to Google Docs on the web

Visit Google Docs, sign in and open your document. Then place your cursor to the right of the word or select a word for the footnote you want to add.

Choose Insert menu > Footnote.

Footnote on the Insert menu on the web

You will immediately see the footnote display where you placed your cursor. You’ll also see the footnote at the bottom of the page that now contains your cursor. So you can enter the footnote text right away.

Footnote and mark added

Enter your note, details or reference in the footnote area. You can then select a spot in your document to continue writing.

Added footnote text on the web

As you add more footnotes to your document, each one is numbered sequentially in relation to the page you are on.

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For example, we added our first footnote to the first page, our next to the second page, and another footnote again to the first page. Google Docs will automatically update the numbering so that those on the first page are numbered 1 and 2 instead of 1 and 3.

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Two footnotes in Google Docs on the web

Also, Google Docs automatically adjusts the spacing at the end of the document for any footnotes you add.

Remove a footnote in Google Docs

If you want to remove an added footnote, simply delete the footnote flag in your text.

You can place your cursor to the right of the number and press Backspace on Windows and Chromebook, or Delete on Mac. Alternatively, you can select the number and click Delete.

Footnote number selected in the text

Removing the footnote display also removes the footnote and adjusts the numbering for the remaining footnotes throughout the document accordingly.

Add a footnote in the Google Docs mobile app

If you’re using the Google Docs mobile app, you can add footnotes there as well. The steps are the same for Android and iPhone.

Open the Google Docs app for your document. Place the cursor to the right of the word or select the word. Then tap the paste icon (plus sign) at the top.

When the insertion options appear below, choose Footnote.

Footnote in the insert menu of the mobile app

Just like on the web, you will see the number indicator in the text and your cursor will move to the footnote so you can enter your text.

Added footnote and indicator to mobile app

When you’re done, tap anywhere in your document to exit the footnotes panel and continue creating your document.

Just like the Google Docs website, each footnote you add is numbered according to the page you’re on, and the footnotes pane automatically expands to accommodate any notes.

Two footnotes in the Google Docs mobile app

Remove a footnote in the mobile app

To remove a footnote you’ve added, delete the number identifier in your text. You can do this by placing your finger to the right of the number that moves your cursor to it. Then press the backspace key on the keyboard.

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Cursor placement to remove a footnote display

This will delete the footnote and adjust all other footnotes in your document accordingly.

Removed footnote in mobile app

If you want to add related details to your text but don’t want to make it the main content, footnotes in Google Docs are perfect.

For more info, see Using Headers and Footers in Google Docs too!

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