How to have single-column footnotes in a multi-column document
A limitation of columns is that they don’t play well with footnotes. Footnotes in a multicolumn document will be wrapped to the column width. Moreover, if the footnote occurs in a multicolumn section in a single-column document, that section will insist on being on a page by itself even though you have used Continuous section breaks before and after it.
The workaround for this is so clumsy that you may well decide it is not worth it, but if you must combine footnotes with columns and insist on full-width footnotes (and especially if the multicolumn section is part of a primarily single-column document), here’s how to solve the problem:
The drawback to this workaround is that you will not be able to double-click on the visible footnote reference mark to get to the footnote, but if the document is to be printed, the appearance will be as desired.
Improvements in Word 2013 and above
If you have Word 2013 or above, you will not have to use the workaround above because those versions allow you to choose how you want your footnotes aligned. In the Footnote and Endnote dialog (shown below), there is a new dropdown for Footnote layout: Columns that allows you to choose between matching the section layout (that is, using the same number of columns as the section) or having a specific number of columns. That can be convenient even in single-column sections when you have many short footnotes and want several of them to appear on the same line to save space.
The strait and narrow – using columns
Why do my footnotes sometimes end up on a different page from their references in the text?
I want the numbers in my footnotes not to be superscripted, and I want the numbers to be followed by a dot and a tab
This article copyright © 2000, 2017 by Suzanne S. Barnhill.