Useful Tips

How to add footnotes in InDesign


Another element of the layout of large publications that is difficult to do manually is notes. The sub-page notes, which are located at the bottom of each page, are especially difficult to layout. Manually, you have to create such notes with additional text frames, and when you turn the book over, you have to track the position of the notes on the pages, transfer the notes from page to page and adjust their numbering.

Adobe InDesign is able to create automatic sub-page notes, which will be drawn up according to the laws we have defined, and when the text is turned over, they will automatically switch from page to page and also automatically change the numbering. To create a new note, just place the cursor in the selected place of the text and use the command Type ? Insert footnote (Text? Insert note), then you can enter the text of the note.


Notes can also be imported from text prepared in a text editor. When importing DOC text, notes created in Microsoft Word can be converted to Adobe InDesign notes.

Note settings are made for the entire document using the menu command. Type ? Document Footnote Options (Text? Document annotation settings). Dialog window Footnote options (Note Settings) contains two tabs dedicated to formatting and formatting notes.

Tab Numbering and formatting (Numbering and formatting) (Fig. 18.11) in the field Numbering (Numbering) The settings for numbering notes and their notes in the text are located.

Fig. 11/18. Footnote Options Dialog Box, Numbering and Formatting Tab

Drop-down list Style (Style) allows you to select one of the options for numbering notes. In addition to the usual Arabic numerals, Roman (capital and lowercase) and Latin letters (capital and lowercase), the list also contains two options that are unique to notes: numbering by the number of asterisk (stars) and numbering with special typographic characters.

Numbering with asterisks (asterisks) involves setting up one asterisk for the first note, two asterisks for the second, etc. Along with marking notes with numbers (in case of a large number of notes on the page), this is one of the two main ways of numbering notes in Russian typography.

English typography for the designation of notes involves the use of special characters. The first note is marked with an asterisk (asterisk), the second with a dagger (†), the third with a double dagger (‡), the fourth with a paragraph (§) and the fifth with a paragraph (¶). When the sixth and subsequent notes appear on the page, the symbols begin to be used again, but in two each (two asterisk, two “daggers”, etc.).

Field Start at (Start with) is used to continue the numbering and allows you to specify the beginning of the numbering any number. For example, if in the previous section of the book there were twenty-six notes, then we can start the new section from the twenty-seventh in order to get end-to-end numbering in the publication — this is often required for typesetting scientific and technical publications.

Drop-down list Restart Numbering Every (Start numbering again), which becomes available when the checkbox of the same name is checked, allows you to select the values Page (Page) to start numbering again on each page, Spread (U-turn) and Section (Section). When unchecked Restart Numbering Every (Start numbering again) Numbering will be continuous throughout the document.

Check Box and Dropdown Show Prefix / Suffix in (Show prefix / suffix c) allows you to display or hide additional characters before and after the number (sign) of the note. You can set characters in the fields Prefix (Prefix) and Suffix (Suffix).

Drop down list Show Prefix / Suffix in (Show prefix / suffix in) you can select values Footnote reference (In the text), Footnote text (In note) and Both Reference and Text (In the text and in the note).

In the settings group Formatting (Format) sets the options for displaying the characters of the note and the text of the note itself.

Region Footnote Reference Number in Text (Comment mark in text) contains drop-down lists Position (Regulation) and Character style (Character style), thanks to which we can choose the position (superscript, subscript or regular) for the note mark and assign a special character style for its design.

Region Footnote formatting (Note design) contains a drop-down list Paragraph style (Paragraph style) and field Separator (Separator), which allows you to select the paragraph style for the design of the note and a special character that separates the text of the note and the footnote.

Tab Layout (Layout) (Fig. 18.12) we can determine how the sub-page note in the layout will look.

Fig. 12/18. Footnote Options Dialog Box, Layout Tab

Area Settings Spacing options (Indent settings) define indents between different notes and between notes and text on a page. Paragraph indents assigned in the style used to make the note are used only if the note contains several paragraphs, therefore these settings are the main ones for setting the indentation of notes.

In field Minimum Space Before First Footnote (Minimum indent before the first note) sets the minimum indent from the text on the page to the first note. The indentation can be large - depending on how many lines on the page and how much space they take. This line should contain a line that delimits notes from the text on the page.

In field Space Between Footnotes (Indent between notes) Indent between notes on the same page. If we use line delimiting notes, they should fit in this indent.

Area Settings First baseline (First baseline) including a list Offset (Offset) and field Min (Minimum), determine the position of the first line relative to an imaginary frame with notes (although in fact a separate frame does not exist). These settings completely coincide with the settings for the position of the first line in a regular frame.

In the region of Placement options (Position settings) sets additional settings for the location of notes on the page.

By checking the box Place End of Story Footnotes at Bottom of Text (Place notes on the last page under the text), we will instruct the program not to place notes at the very bottom of the last page of text, but to place them immediately after the text ends.

Check box Allow split footnotes (Allow breaking notes) allows you to break a note and transfer the remainder to the next page, if for some reason it does not fit on the current page. If the box is unchecked, the note along with the corresponding text fragment will be transferred to the next page.

Thanks to the drop down list Rule above (Line above) you can switch between the settings of the line that borders the notes from the page text (value First footnote in column), and the settings of the line that delimits several notes on one page (value Continued Footnotes) Check box Rule on (Enable Line) allows you to use or not use any of these lines.

The settings for these lines are identical to the outline settings.

Footnote numbering and formatting options

The following options are available in the Numbering and Formatting section of the Footnote Options dialog box.

Set the numbering style for the reference numbers for the footnotes.

Indicate the number used for the first footnote in the material. Footnotes for all materials in a document begin with the number specified by the Start with option. If a book with end-to-end pagination contains several documents, the numbering of footnotes in each chapter should begin with the number following the last number of the footnote in the previous chapter.

Using the Start with option is especially useful for documents in a book. It is not possible to perform uniform numbering of footnotes for all documents in a book.

New numbering for.

If you want to start numbering the document again, select “Page”, “Spread” or “Section” for this parameter to determine from which point the numbering of footnotes will resume. For some numbering styles, such as using asterisks (*), it is recommended that you start numbering first on each page.

Select this option to display prefixes or suffixes in the footnote link and / or in the footnote text. The prefix is ​​displayed before the number (for example, “[1”), and the suffix after it (for example, “1]”). This option is especially useful for enclosing the footnote number in a character (for example, “”). Enter a character or characters, or select Prefix, Suffix, or both. To select a special character, open the menu by clicking the icon next to the Prefix or Suffix field.

If the gap separating the footnote number in the text from the previous text is too small, it is recommended to add one of the space characters as a prefix to improve the appearance. You can also apply a character style to the reference number.


This parameter determines the type of the reference number of the footnote, which is presented as a superscript by default. If you want to format the reference number of the footnote using one of the character styles (for example, the OpenType superscript), select Normal and set the style.

Select a character style to format the footnote number in the text. For example, instead of superscript characters, you can choose a style that provides for the usual position of characters with a raised baseline. The menu displays the character styles available in the Character Styles panel.

Select a paragraph style to format the text of all footnotes in the document. The menu displays paragraph styles available in the Paragraph Styles panel. The default style is “[Main Paragraph]”. The “[Main Paragraph]” style may differ in appearance from the style determined by the font settings for the default document.

Defines the size of the space between the footnote number and the beginning of its text. To change the separator, first select or delete the existing separator, and then select a new one. You can include multiple characters. To insert spaces, use the appropriate metacharacter (for example, “^ m” to display round spacing).

Footnote Layout Options

The Layout section of the Footnote Options dialog box contains the following options.

Add footnotes under multiple columns.

This option allows you to display all the footnotes in the document immediately below several columns (in a text frame with several columns).

Minimum beat before the first footnote.

This parameter defines the minimum space between the bottom of the column and the first line of the footnote. A negative value is not allowed. The parameter “Beat before paragraph” in the paragraphs of the footnote is ignored.

Beats between footnotes.

Defines the distance between the last paragraph of the previous footnote and the first paragraph of the next. A negative value is not allowed. The “Punch before / Punch after” parameters in the footnote paragraphs apply only if the footnote contains several paragraphs.

This parameter defines the distance between the beginning of the footnote area (in which the footnote separator is displayed by default) and the first line of footnote text.

For information on the baseline settings for the first line, see Change the properties of text frames.

Footnotes from end of material to end of column.

If this option is selected, then the footnotes in the last column appear directly below the text in the last frame of the material. Otherwise, all footnotes in the last frame of the material are displayed at the bottom of the column.

Allow breaking footnotes.

Select this option if you want the footnotes to break with the transfer from one column to another, provided that the footnote area exceeds the space allocated to it in the current column. If footnotes are not broken down, the line containing the reference number of the footnote is moved to the next column or its text is superseded.

Even with the “Allow split footnotes” mode enabled, you can prevent individual footnotes from breaking up by placing the insertion point in the footnote text. From the Paragraph panel menu, select Hold Options, then choose Hold Line and All Paragraph Lines. If the footnote consists of several paragraphs, apply the “Hold next X lines” option in the first paragraph of the footnote text. Footnote breakdown is controlled through the menu Text> Insert Transition Symbol> End Column.

Indicates the location and appearance of the footnote dividing line that appears above the footnote text. A dividing line is also displayed above the footnote text, which continues in the next frame. The settings you apply apply to either “First Footnote in a Column” or “Each Footnote”, depending on what is selected in the menu. These options are similar to those displayed when paragraph lines are specified. To remove the footer dividing line, clear the Show Ruler check box.

Work with footnote text

When editing the text of the footnote, the following recommendations should be considered.

  • If the entry point is in the text of the footnote, when you select the menu item Edit> Select all, the entire text of this footnote is selected, other footnotes and text outside the footnote are not selected.
  • The transition from one footnote to another is done using the arrow keys.
  • It is not possible to perform uniform numbering of footnotes for all documents in a book. If you do not want to start numbering first in each document of the book, after final editing, manually change the value of the "Start with" parameter in each document.
  • The material editor allows you to expand and collapse the footnote. You can expand or collapse all footnotes by choosing View> Material Editor> Expand all footnotes or Collapse all footnotes.
  • In the Galley and Material viewing modes, you can click the footnote icon to expand or collapse it. To expand or collapse all footnotes, you can right-click the footnote (Windows) or press and hold the Ctrl key (Mac OS) and select Expand All Footnotes or Collapse All Footnotes.

You can select footnote text and apply character or paragraph formatting to it. In the same way, you can change the appearance of the reference number of the footnote, however, for this it is recommended to use the dialog box “Document footnote parameters”.

When cutting or copying text with the reference number of the footnote, its text also gets to the clipboard. When copying text to another document, the footnotes will use the numbering options and layout appearance specified for this document.

The accidentally deleted footnote number at the beginning of its text can be restored. Place the insertion point at the beginning of the footnote text, right-click (Windows) or hold down the Control key (Mac OS), and select Insert Special Character> Markers> Footnote Number.

After clearing the changes and character styles in the paragraph that contains the footnote mark marker, the footnote reference numbers lose the attributes that were applied in the Document Footnote Settings dialog box.