APA Footnotes | Format & Examples

To cite sources in APA Style, you must use APA in-text citations, not notes.

However, you can use footnotes in APA to:

  • Give additional information
  • Provide copyright attribution

Footnotes can appear at the bottom of relevant pages, or they can be grouped together and placed on a separate page at the end of the text.

Formatting footnotes in APA

Footnotes use superscript numbers and should appear in consecutive order. Footnote numbers typically appear at the end of a sentence or clause, after the period or other punctuation.

Example: Footnote in APA
The findings of the study are consistent with other research.1

However, there are exceptions:

  • If a footnote relates to text in parentheses, the footnote number should also appear inside the parentheses.
  • If the footnote relates to material offset by a dash, the footnote number should come before the dash, rather than after.
Example: Footnote placement
Although reduced caffeine intake had noticeable short-term effects on the subjects’ moods and energy levels—this was measured using multiple methods­2—their energy levels did not fluctuate as frequently as those in the control group (whose daily caffeine intake was not reduced3).

Don’t repeat footnotes. If you need to refer to an earlier note again, write “see Footnote 3” or similar in the text or in parentheses.

Footnotes can appear either at the bottom of the relevant page, or at the end of the paper on a separate footnotes page. You can choose which approach to use.

Footnotes at the bottom of the page

You can use your word processor to automatically insert footnotes at the bottom of the page. This will ensure that each superscript number in the text corresponds to the correct footnote. It will also separate them from the main text.

Footnotes at the bottom of a page should be single-spaced.

There should be a single space between the superscript number and the footnote text.

Footnotes at the bottom of the page

Footnotes page at the end of the paper

When placing footnotes at the end of a text in APA, place them on a separate footnotes page, after the reference page.

Footnotes page at the end of the paper

The title of the page, “Footnotes,” should be centered and bold.

Indent the first line of each footnote and place a single space between the superscript number and the footnote text. Like most text in an APA format paper, footnotes at the end of the text should be double-spaced.

Footnotes should be presented in the order their numbers appear in the text.

Note: Although notes at the end of a paper are typically called endnotes, they’re referred to as footnotes in APA.

Content footnotes

You can use content footnotes in APA to provide additional information to readers. For example, you might clarify a specific point or direct the reader to sources that contain more detail on a related topic.

As APA doesn’t encourage the use of footnotes, you should keep these notes as brief as possible. They should not exceed one paragraph. You can consider including longer material in an APA appendix instead.

Example: Content footnote
1 See Atwell (2005), chapter 1, for a more detailed analysis of this approach.

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If you include copyright material that exceeds fair use guidelines (like an extended passage from a book, or test or scale items), you may need to obtain permission from the copyright holder. You can use footnotes in APA to acknowledge this permission.

If you receive permission to reproduce an image or infographic, include this copyright note in the relevant caption, not in a footnote.

Example: Copyright footnote
1 From Theories of Human Development: A Comparative Approach (p. 155), by Michael G. Green and John A. Piel, 2010, Routledge. Copyright 2010 by Taylor & Francis. Reprinted with permission.

Frequently asked questions about APA footnotes

Should I use footnotes in APA Style?

APA Style requires you to use APA in-text citations, not footnotes, to cite sources.

However, you can use APA footnotes sparingly for two purposes:

  • Giving additional information
  • Providing copyright attribution
How do I format a footnote in APA Style?

APA footnotes use superscript numbers and should appear in numerical order. You can place footnotes at the bottom of the relevant pages, or on a separate footnotes page at the end:

  • For footnotes at the bottom of the page, you can use your word processor to automatically insert footnotes.
  • For footnotes at the end of the text in APA, place them on a separate page entitled “Footnotes,” after the reference page. Indent the first line of each footnote, and double-space them.

For both approaches, place a space between the superscript number and the footnote text.

How do I insert a footnote in Word?

To insert a footnote automatically in a Word document:

  1. Click on the point in the text where the footnote should appear
  2. Select the “References” tab at the top and then click on “Insert Footnote”
  3. Type the text you want into the footnote that appears at the bottom of the page
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Eoghan Ryan

Eoghan has a lot of experience with theses and dissertations at bachelor's, MA, and PhD level. He has taught university English courses, helping students to improve their research and writing.

1 comment

Eoghan Ryan
Eoghan Ryan (Scribbr Team)
June 7, 2022 at 3:12 PM

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