How to Write Footnotes in APA Style

Written by s.c. palmer
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How to Write Footnotes in APA Style
APA footnotes differ from MLA or Turabian footnotes. (business report image by Darko Draskovic from

APA (American Psychological Association) style is used most often when writing papers within social sciences fields. APA format can be confusing for those who have been writing in a more common style such as MLA, but there are not too many difference between these formats. One difference between these styles is the use and formatting of footnotes. If you are writing a long paper or book, APA does not recommend the use of footnotes because they are expensive to print. For a school paper, however, there is a specific way to write footnotes in APA style.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Word processing program

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  1. 1

    Decide which type of footnote you will use. APA style has two categories of footnotes: content and copyright. Content footnotes give additional information to your readers. When citing a research source, you can use copyright footnotes.

  2. 2

    Put your cursor where you want to place your footnote. If you are placing it at the end of a sentence, place the cursor after the period. If the footnote will go after a sentence in parentheses, be sure the cursor sits within the parentheses.

  3. 3

    Insert the footnote. If using Microsoft Word, go to the "Insert" drop down menu and then select "Footnote". Other word processing programs should have a similar function. This adds a superscript number into your text and a footnote area at the bottom of the page.

  4. 4

    Type your footnote. Begin copyright footnotes with the word "Note." Keep content footnotes as concise as possible. If you find a content footnote is too long, consider adding the information into the body of your paper.

  5. 5

    Format your copyright footnotes correctly. The format you will use will depend on the source you are citing. Refer to the NYU Libraries bibliographic and footnote style guide listed in the Resources to find the proper way to format your source.

Tips and warnings

  • You only need to use copyright footnotes in APA style if you are directly quoting a source, are using a chart or graph from another source, or feel as though the information you are using is specific enough to one source that you should cite it. Other sources you have used for research can simply be listed in the bibliography.

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