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How to Add Footnotes to WordPress Posts and Pages

updated on Sep 01, 2016
How to Add Footnotes to WordPress Posts and Pages Footnotes are a helpful part of professional writing. They allow you to offer explanations to the difficult terms in your content without affecting your users' reading experience, and to provide references when quoting or mentioning others' works.

To add the footnote capability to a WordPress site, the skilled users may code it to the theme, but this is not a popular solution among the normal users. The better method to add and manage footnotes in WordPress, then, is to use a plugin.

In this tutorial, we will introduce two good plugins that you can use to add simple yet elegant footnotes to WordPress posts and pages. Both of the plugins are easy to set up.

Add Footnotes in WordPress by Using Simple Footnotes

Simple Footnotes is a lightweight plugin that only comes with a shortcode which enables you to add footnotes to your content. As the plugin doesn't include many settings for you to deal with, you can create footnotes immediately after installing the plugin.

When editing a post or page, you only need to put the content of your footnotes in the [ref] shortcode, just like what we do in the following screenshot.

Add Footnotes to WordPress Posts

If you need to add multiple footnotes, you don't have to worry about the numbering because the plugin handles this issue automatically. You can rest assured that all footnotes are numbered properly.

New Footnotes in WordPress Posts

There is one thing you should note when using the plugin. If you add footnotes to posts or pages that are split into different pages, you can configure where the footnotes are displayed.

In Settings > Reading, you will see a section of "Footnotes placement" where you can choose displaying footnotes after all the content or just below each page link. In our opinion, the latter choice should be better if you have multiple pages, because it delivers the better reading experience. Your readers can get the additional information as soon as possible.

Change Footnotes Placement

Add Footnotes to WordPress Posts by Using footnotes Plugin

The footnotes plugin is more complicated than Simple Footnotes as it comes with more features. For example, it allows you to configure the references container, select the symbol of your footnotes, and customize the shortcode used for adding footnotes.

After installing the plugin, you can find its settings in ManFisher > footnotes. On the settings page, you have various options to deal with.

First of all, you are able to customize the label and the placement of your footnotes. You can use any word as the label, and in terms of the placement, we'd suggest the place at the end of your posts.

Configure References Container

Then, you need to customize the styling of your footnotes. Here, you can make a selection from the pre-defined shortcodes, or define a custom one. Besides, there are 5 counter styles you can choose from.

Customize Footnote Styling

Under the "Customize" tab, you are able to enable or disable the mouse-over box, and customize the styling of the box.

Configure Mouse-Over Box

After saving the changes, you can edit a post or page and add footnotes to it by using the shortcode you have defined. The usage of the shortcode is the same as that of the Simple Footnotes plugin, since you only need to include the footnote content in the shortcode.

Add Footnotes in WordPress

If you edit the post in WordPress visual editor, you can also select the content of a footnote, and then click on the "footnotes" button. Doing so will add the shortcode to the selected content automatically.

Add Footnotes with Button