Create footnotes in InDesign

The request to learn how to do InDesign book and manuscript tasks is on the increase in our workshops. The reason is, more and more scientific publications ask their authors to have copy-ready papers, and InDesign is so much more cooperative than Word when designing columns with graphics.

InDesign DOES have a footnote feature, and it’s easy to use. Here are the pros and cons:

The good: Footnotes and endnotes from your Microsoft Word documents can be imported into your InDesign documents.

The bad: InDesign completely disregards your own Footnote And Endnote numbering options. Instead, it reformats footnote and endnote reference numbering to regular text.

The ugly? Decide for yourself on this one: InDesign can’t convert your text to approved publication styles the way EndNote, a Word and WordPerfect plug-in does, so you’ll have to style them yourself.

As I said, it’s very easy to do. See this excellent tutorial by David Blatner of


  1. Christine Rose

    I am just converting to CS3 from Pagemaker 7. Everything I read (David Blatner’s manual, items on the web, etc.) say I should go to TYPE and click on “Insert Footnote.” However, I have CS3 InDesign and there IS NO INSERT FOOTNOTE under Type, and in fact, it is not under any of the items in the tool bar! I am at a loss.

  2. Carol Rhodes

    From: Christine4Rose
    Carol…regarding my posting on the footnote problem in CS3 – problem solved! I finally had to phone Adobe, and after a lot of discussion and trying things, we found that I had version 3.0 installed instead of 5.0. We still can’t quite figure out why or how, but after uninstalling and reinstalling I now have 5.0 and the missing features.

    I do thank you for your willingness to investigate.


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