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Word Tips for Legal Writers

Word tips for law students and other legal writers.

Insert a Footnote

References > Insert Footnote

Keyboard Shortcut: ctrl-alt-f

References > Insert Footnote

or

command-option-f

Footnote Numbers

Word automatically numbers your footnotes. And if you move a paragraph that contains a footnote, it automatically gets renumbered to reflect its new home.

What's a little trickier is keeping track of cross-references. Suppose you have a bunch of footnotes that refer to something you cited early on:

See Ramasastry, supra note 4.

If you add or subtract material at the beginning of your paper, so that Ramasastry is first cited in note 2 or note 7, all of those cross-references will be wrong. Oh, no! What a nuisance!

Happily, you can avoid this problem by using the cross-reference feature.

Cross-References

When you get to the spot in your footnote where you want a cross reference, go to References > Cross-reference > Reference type = Footnote.

See, e.g., Sisk, Scholarly Impact 2015, supra note [I want a cross-reference here], at 116 (making the point that to be useful citation counts only need to correlate with quality, not precisely parallel it).

You'll see a list of footnotes. Choose the one you want to link to.

screen snip Word Footnote cross ref

See, e.g., Sisk, Scholarly Impact 2015, supra note 7, at 116 (making the point that to be useful citation counts only need to correlate with quality, not precisely parallel it).

Word inserts the number as a link. If the target footnote is renumbered, Word will update the cross-reference, but you have to do something to make Word know to do that:

  • Move your cursor to the footnotes. Ctrl-a (to select all the footnotes. F9 (to update the fields.
  • Print the document (even if you just print to PDF).

When you get to the spot in your footnote where you want a cross reference, go to Insert > Cross-reference > Reference type = Footnote.

See, e.g., Sisk, Scholarly Impact 2015, supra note [I want a cross-reference here], at 116 (making the point that to be useful citation counts only need to correlate with quality, not precisely parallel it).

You'll see a list of footnotes. Choose the one you want to link to.

See, e.g., Sisk, Scholarly Impact 2015, supra note 7, at 116 (making the point that to be useful citation counts only need to correlate with quality, not precisely parallel it).

Word inserts the number as a link. If the target footnote is renumbered, Word will update the cross-reference, but you have to tell it to. Select the whole document, press ctrl, then click Update Field.