This page explains how to create the Footnotes section for Wikipedia articles. In this context, the word "Footnotes" refers to the Wikipedia-specific manner of documenting an article's sources and providing tangential information, and should not be confused with the general concept of footnotes. This how-to does not cover the formatting of citations within the Footnotes section, which is reviewed in Citing sources.

Footnotes are used most commonly to provide:

The use of Footnotes is only one of several options for providing source information in the article. Other systems of inline citation, including Shortened footnotes and Parenthetical referencing, may be used at the editor's discretion in accordance with the guideline on Variation in citation methods.

Only certain types of material on the English Wikipedia are required to have an inline citation. There is no requirement to provide a citation for every sentence, because multiple sentences may be supported by the same footnote. For advice on which material should be cited, see the guidelines on When you must use inline citations, the Good article criteria and When to cite. For advice on how to organize and format bibliographic citations, see the guideline on Citing sources and examples of Citation templates.

Footnotes are created using the Cite software extension. This extension adds the HTML-like elements <ref>...</ref>, <references /> and <references>...</references>. The elements are also used in a number of templates; for example, it is becoming more common to use {{reflist}} rather than <references /> as it can style the reference list.


The Footnotes system shows two elements on the page:

  • A Footnote marker is displayed in the article's content as a bracketed, superscripted number, letter, or word. Examples shown respectively are: [1][a][Note 1]. This footnote label is linked to the full footnote. Clicking on the footnote marker jumps the page down to the footnote and highlights the citation. If you are using the desktop site and have Javascript enabled, then hovering your cursor over a footnote marker (or touching it on touch devices) will show a pop-up box containing the footnote.
  • A Footnote displays the full citation for the source. Together the footnotes are displayed in an ordered list wherever the reference list markup {{reflist}} is placed. Each entry begins with the footnote label in plain text. The entire reference list is formatted in a slightly smaller font.
Each successive footnote label is automatically incremented. Thus the first footnote marker would be [1], the second would be [2] and so on. Custom labels are also incremented: [a][b][c], [Note 1] [Note 2] [Note 3].
For a single use footnote, the label is followed by a caret (^) that is a backlink to the matching footnote marker. For example:
1. ^ Citation
If a named footnote is used in the text multiple times, then the footnote has multiple backlinks shown as letters:
2. ^ a b c Citation
Clicking on the backlink or pressing backspace returns to the footnote marker.

Footnotes in action

The superscript numeral "1" in square brackets at the end of this sentence is an example of a footnote marker.[1]

  1. ^ This is a footnote that contains a citation or note.

Other Languages
беларуская: Вікіпедыя:Зноскі
भोजपुरी: मदद:फुटनोट
ગુજરાતી: મદદ:Footnotes
Bahasa Indonesia: Bantuan:Catatan kaki
italiano: Aiuto:Note
Bahasa Melayu: Wikipedia:Nota kaki
日本語: Help:脚注
ଓଡ଼ିଆ: ସହଯୋଗ:Footnotes
română: Ajutor:Note
slovenčina: Pomoc:Referencie
српски / srpski: Помоћ:Фусноте
українська: Довідка:Примітки
Tiếng Việt: Trợ giúp:Cước chú
中文: Help:脚注