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Word: Header and footer display in footnote

December 2, 2011

Here’s a very strange one that ultimately had a simple solution, but it had me baffled for a few minutes and had my author baffled for days.

Problem

Every time my author added a footnote to the document she was working on, the footnote went in as normal. But so did the header and footer for that section! My client’s template makes extensive use of headers and footers for document metadata, so this was something that was really obvious.

She asked me if I knew what was happening and how to fix it, but without the document I had no clue. So when she sent it to me for editing, she asked me to see if I could sort it out. If I couldn’t, then she’d remove the footnotes and try to deal with them in another way.

Solution

As I said, I was baffled for a few minutes. It was very strange behavior as I couldn’t select the header/footer in the footnote at all. I could select the footnote number and text, but not the rest. Off to the internet…

I didn’t find anything that directly related to this issue, but I did come across some mentions of deleting or changing the automatic line that gets inserted above the footnote. That was my ‘Aha!’ moment — I recall wanting to change the footnote line for another client some years ago, and finding out you could, but it was a feature that was well-hidden in the bowels of Microsoft’s Help.

Here’s how I got rid of that weird header/footer in the footnote (use the same method for getting to it if you want to delete or change the line above the footnote). These first instructions are for Word 2007 and later; the Word 2003 steps follow them.

Word 2007

  1. Switch the document view to Draft mode (click the far right icon at the bottom right of the document window).
  2. Go to the References tab > Footnotes group.
  3. Click Show Notes.
  4. Go to the bottom pane in the document window, and select Footnote Separator.
  5. You’re now in editing mode — modify or delete the line, and/or delete any weird stuff (like an errant header/footer!).
  6. Close the bottom pane, switch back to Page Layout mode and everything should be fine.

Word 2003

  1. Switch the document view to Draft mode (click the far right icon at the bottom left of the document window).
  2. From the View menu, select Footnote. This opens up the Footnote pane at the bottom of the document window.
  3. Select Footnote Separator.
  4. You’re now in editing mode — modify or delete the line, and/or delete any weird stuff (like an errant header/footer!).
  5. Close the bottom pane, switch back to Print Layout mode and everything should be fine.

8 comments

  1. THANK YOU. We were stumped as well! This was very helpful.


  2. OMG thank you so much!!! Even after your instructions it still took me a while, it wouldn’t show the footer, but I finally managed to delete it thank god!


  3. I had the same issue but in word 2013. Such a weight lifted with this solution, thank you!!!


  4. Just had this issue with Word 2013 – was completely mistified!! Thank you so much!


  5. Worked like a charm. Thanks!


  6. Thank you. This worked a treat!


  7. You made my week!! Thank you very much


  8. Thank you in so many ways.



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