APA Footnotes – Formatting, Copyright & Examples

24.12.22 APA citation & referencing Time to read: 4min

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One of the most common citation style guide manual for research papers or academic papers is the APA style. A significant part of this citation style guide are in-text citations and references in author-date style. However, sources can also be formatted as footnotes based on APA 7th edition. APA footnotes allow researchers to add supplementary information to their work without interrupting the flow of the text. This article delves into the format and proper use of APA footnotes.

APA footnotes — In a Nutshell

  • APA footnotes are not mandatory. However, you can use them to provide additional information and copyright attribution.
  • APA footnotes have different formatting rules, depending on where you place them.
  • You can place them at the end of a specific page or on a separate page after the reference page at the end of your paper.

Definition: APA footnotes

APA Footnotes are notes placed at the bottom of a page in a research paper that includes sources that have to be referenced properly. They also serve as comments on a designated part or section of the text on the page. Typically, the APA style is a citation formatting style in research that mostly demands in-text citations in author-date style. APA footnotes use superscript numbers that typically appear in consecutive order and should follow any punctuation except a dash.

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Formatting APA footnotes

You can format footnotes in APA style by using superscript numbers and placing them in consecutive order. Also, the footnote numbers should appear at the end of the sentences or clauses on which they are intended to provide more content. They come after the period or other punctuation (except the dashes).If the text ends with a dash, the footnote should come before the dash.

Note: if the footnote relates to the content in the brackets, the footnote must be placed enclosed by the brackets.


  • Footnote at the end of the sentence: The data from the samples is consistent with the information in the litreature review.2
  • Footnote within brackets: (Whose daily exercise schedule does not relate to each other3)
  • Footnote before a dash: While the productivity levels were significantly low – the data was measured using several methods3 – like.

APA footnotes should not be repeated. Therefore, if you need to refer to a source that is already cited as a footnote, you should write “see footnote 10” or something similar in the text or brackets.

Footnotes can appear at the bottom of the relevant page or at the end of the paper on a separate page designated for footnotes:


Footnotes at the end of the essays

This is where you place the footnotes on a designated page at the end of your paper. When doing so, the APA footnotes page should appear after the reference page. Other mandatory formatting requirements are:

  • The title of the footnotes page should be centred and bold.
  • The first line of each footnote should be indented.
  • A single space should appear between the superscript number and the footnote.
  • Footnotes at the end of the text should be double-spaced.
  • The footnotes should be reported in the order of their figures in the text.

Footnotes at the end of the page

Your word processor can help you automatically insert footnotes at the page’s bottom. This technique helps you ensure that all the superscript numbers correspond to the right footnote. Additionally, it helps you separate the footnotes from the primary text.

Footnotes at the end of essays should ALWAYS be single-spaced. Also, there should be a single space between the superscript number of the APA footnote.

If you use copyright resources that go beyond the fair use guidelines in your project, you may require copyright footnotes. The role of copyright footnotes is to acknowledge that you have permission to include the copyrighted material in your research.

For instance, you can reproduce an image or infographic with the received permission and include the copyright note in the relevant caption instead of the footnote.


9From Man and his Vision: A Comprehensive Analysis (p.62), by Jamal H. Anu and John K. Manuel, 2005, Routledge. Copyright 2005 by Marc & Joburg. Reprinted with permission.

APA footnotes: Content footnotes

Content footnotes in APA help you provide additional data about your content to readers.

For instance, you can use them to clarify a point or direct readers to the sources containing more information on a specific topic or detail in your text.


2 See Miranda (2015), Chapter 16, for a detailed report on this study.


APA footnotes are not mandatory for certain papers in APA. However, adding them to your paper would not hurt.

You can use footnotes in APA to provide additional information or copyright attribution.

You can write APA footnotes at the bottom of relevant pages in your paper. However, you can also group them and place them on a separate page at the end of your research paper.

Footnotes are a way for authors to provide additional content to their papers without diverting readers from the text.

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