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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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:
- Click on the point in the text where the footnote should appear
- Select the “References” tab at the top and then click on “Insert Footnote”
- Type the text you want into the footnote that appears at the bottom of the page
Cite this Scribbr article
If you want to cite this source, you can copy and paste the citation or click the “Cite this Scribbr article” button to automatically add the citation to our free Citation Generator.