How to Remove Footnotes in Google Docs

234855 How to Remove Footnotes in Google Docs

Footnotes are a useful feature in Google Docs that allow you to add references or explanatory notes without interrupting the flow of the main text. However, you may sometimes want to remove footnotes if they are no longer needed or relevant.

Removing footnotes in Google Docs is easy, whether you want to delete a single footnote or all footnotes in your document. Here is a step-by-step guide:

Locate the Footnote Reference

To delete a footnote, you first need to locate the footnote reference mark in the main text of your document. This appears as a superscripted number or symbol next to the text the footnote is referring to.


  • This is some text with a footnote.[^1]
  • Here is another text with a footnote symbol*.

[^1]: This is the footnote text.

* This is the footnote text.

When you hover over the footnote reference mark, it will display the corresponding footnote text.

Delete the Footnote Reference

Once you have located the footnote reference mark you want to delete:

  • On web: Position your cursor to the right of the superscripted footnote reference number/symbol and press the backspace key on your keyboard.
  • On mobile: Tap to select the superscripted footnote reference number/symbol, then tap the trash icon to delete it.

Deleting the reference mark will automatically remove the footnote text as well.

Deleting All Footnotes

Unfortunately, Google Docs does not have an option to delete all footnotes at once. To remove all footnotes:

  • Manually locate and delete each footnote reference mark in the document text as explained above.

This will remove both the reference marks and all footnote text.

Best Practices When Using Footnotes

When working with footnotes in Google Docs, keep these best practices in mind:

  • Be consistent with footnote numbering and style. Follow an established referencing style guide if appropriate.
  • Keep footnotes brief – use them only to supplement essential points or cite sources. Avoid lengthy explanatory notes.
  • Place footnote references at the end of the relevant sentence or clause.
  • Proofread carefully when adding or deleting footnotes to avoid incorrectly numbered or missing references.
  • Update citations if you edit or move text containing footnote references.

Following these tips will help keep your footnotes organized so they are easy to manage.

Troubleshooting Issues with Footnotes

Sometimes footnote numbering can get out of sequence or footnote reference marks fail to delete properly. Here is how to troubleshoot common footnote issues in Google Docs:

Footnote numbers get out of sequence

If footnote references show the wrong numbers, it is likely because text with footnote references has been moved, edited, or deleted incorrectly. To fix:

  1. Delete all footnote reference marks as explained earlier.
  2. Re-insert footnotes and renumber all references sequentially starting from 1.

Footnote reference mark won’t delete

If a footnote reference superscript fails to delete properly and just leaves behind the number, try these steps:

  1. Click Show footnotes from the Insert menu to show all footnote text.
  2. Highlight and delete the orphaned footnote text.
  3. Click Hide footnotes to return to the main document view.
  4. Delete the remaining orphaned footnote reference mark.

This will remove both the mark and orphaned text.

Properly formatting and managing footnotes from the start can prevent many issues. But if problems do occur, these troubleshooting tips should help get your footnotes back in order.

Frequently Asked Questions About Footnotes in Google Docs

Here are answers to some common questions about working with footnotes in Google Docs:

How do I customize the footnote style?

Unfortunately, Google Docs does not allow customizing the footnote text style or formatting. Footnotes always appear using the default font and text size applied document-wide.

Can I convert footnotes to endnotes?

No, there is no option to convert footnotes to endnotes – they must be inserted separately. You can copy and paste footnote text to the end of the document as makeshift endnotes.

Is there a shortcut to insert footnotes?

Yes! On web, use the keyboard shortcuts:

  • Ctrl + Alt + F (Windows)
  • ⌘ + ⌥ + F (Mac)

This will instantly insert a footnote marker and text.

Can I add footnotes in Google Docs comments?

No, footnotes only work in the main document text. But you can achieve a similar effect by adding explanatory comments using Google Docs built-in comment feature.


Footnotes are handy for providing supplemental information without cluttering up the main text, but they can easily get unruly. Thankfully, Google Docs makes it simple to remove footnotes when needed – just locate and delete the footnote reference mark.

With the best practices and troubleshooting tips provided in this guide, you should now feel confident managing footnotes in your Docs documents. Just be careful when moving or editing text with footnotes to avoid numbering issues.

And if you have any other questions, the FAQs cover some common footnote dilemmas in Google Docs. So take control of your footnotes and make them work for your documents rather than against them!