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Have Footnotes changed in Word?

Has there been a change Microsoft Word’s Footnotes settings or has the ‘Numbering’ choices (Continuous, Restart each page or section) remained the same? How much of Microsoft Office is really new, despite appearances?

Office Watch reader “Joe L.” has done a big Microsoft Office leap from Office 2010 to the latest Microsoft 365 or 14 years of software development in go.

“ I started using Office 365 with the new version of Word and found a curious problem with footnote numbering. In my document I want footnote numbers to restart on each page. Word 2010 does this correctly but Word 365 numbers the footnotes continuously, with the same document. “

This isn’t a change in Word. Footnotes options and their defaults haven’t changed in a long time.

Joe’s Footnote choice was probably changed, long ago, on the Office 2010 computer and become the accustomed to setting.  On the new machine, it’s just the default Footnote setting again.

Just change the Footnote preference back to ‘Restart each page’ at References | Footnote and Endnote | Numbering.

Word Footnotes can appear with numbering:

  • Continuous
  • Restart each section. Using section breaks, usually at the start of a new chapter.
  • Restart each page. Which is what our Office Watch reader wants.

Your Microsoft Office ‘personal defaults’

We all make little changes made to many choices available in Office, Windows or other software.  Those choices become our ‘personal defaults’ and we forget that it’s a change from the normal for everyone else.

Microsoft only rarely changes default settings in Office because of the trouble it can cause to existing customers.

Word’s default for Footnotes has always been ‘Continuous’ as far as we can tell.  See below for examples in Office 95 and Office 2007 the Footnote default is continuous, as in Word 365.

The more things change …

“the more it changes, the more it’s the same thing” ( “plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose“) was first said in 1849 but very much applies to Microsoft Office.

For all of Microsoft hype and bluster about what’s new in Office, the majority of the features haven’t changed at all.  They might look different but only because the screen interface has changed, not the options themselves.

Here’s the Office 2007 Footnotes and Endnotes dialog. It looks a bit ‘old fashioned’ now but look closer and you’ll see the choices are all the same as in the Word 365 version above, with only one exception.

Word 365 has a ‘Footnote Layout’ choice and even that’s been in Word for over a decade.

Go back even further to Word 95 (almost 30 years ago) and there’s much the same Footnote options except split across two dialog boxes. The Footnote Numbering options (that started this article) are there, just as visible choices, not a pull-down list.

Tricks to formatting Word’s Footnotes and Endnotes
Copying/Moving Footnotes or Endnotes in Word
Hide any footnotes and endnotes in a Word doc
Practical options for Footnotes to Word tables

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