Adding Tabs in Footnotes: MS Word

Dennis Faas's picture

Sometimes you may want MS Word to place a tab character in your footnotes -- for example: between the actual footnote reference number and the text of the footnote.

Unfortunately, Word doesn't allow you to do this automatically. In fact, Word doesn't even allow you to specify what character should appear between the footnote reference number and the footnote text, as you can with numbered lists. Instead, Word places a space between the footnote reference and you text.

There are a number of ways you can go about making sure that the footnote includes a tab separator. Please note though that with all the methods it is assumed that you have the Footnote Text style set up to handle the tab properly.

Whenever you insert a footnote, Word formats the footnote itself so that it uses the built-in Footnote Text style. You can control how the footnote appears by simply making changes to this built-in style.

For instance, if you want a tab character between the footnote reference number and the beginning of the footnote text, then you should set a tab stop in the Footnote Text style so that Word knows what to do with the tab character once you get it in the footnote.

One solution to adding the tabs is to use Word's Find and Replace feature. You can make sure that all footnotes have the requisite tab character by following these steps:

  1. Press Ctrl+H or choose Replace from the Edit menu. Word displays the Replace tab of the Find and Replace dialog box.
  2. If available, click the More button.
  3. Make sure that the Use Wildcards checkbox is selected.
  4. In the Find What box, type (^2). Note that there is a space after the last parenthesis.
  5. With the cursor still in the Find box, click on the Format button, then choose Style. Word displays the Find Style dialog box.
  6. In the list of styles presented, choose the Footnote Text style and click on OK.
  7. In the Replace With box, type \1^t.
  8. Press Replace All, then close the Find and Replace dialog box.

When finished, all the footnotes will have the requisite tab between the footnote reference number and the beginning of the footnote text.

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