Word 2010: Footnotes and Mendeley

In which I discuss getting footnotes and Mendeley references to look nice in Word...

I may not have mentioned it before on this blog but I am a Mendeley advisor and a strong advocate of this free reference manager. In fact I cover the pros and cons of it in this video:

Referencing Styles in Mendeley

Mendeley gives you a large choice of built-in citation styles and has the option to create your own too. Currently I haven't needed to use anything outside of the built-in Nature style.* This style uses numbers for in text referencing like so:

 Fig 1: A Reference

Fig 1: A Reference

I personally think this is nice and clean and Mendeley will also separate multiple references with commas or hyphens where appropriate:

Fig 2: Multiple references separated by commas using Mendeley.
Fig 2: Multiple references separated by commas using Mendeley.

*This will probably change as it uses et al. in the list of authors for a small number of authors.

Numbered Footnotes

Word automatically inserts numbered footnotes like so:

Fig 3: Word's numbered footnotes.
Fig 3: Word's numbered footnotes.

When both are used this can cause the following problem when a reference and footnote are used on the same sentence:

Fig 4: A reference and footnote displays as one number.
Fig 4: A reference and footnote displays as one number.

This would be confusing to a reader as they would expect there to be a reference that doesn't exist and miss out on the footnote.

Solving the Problem

There are two main ways to solve the problem:

  1. Use a different citation style. Since this formatting is already agreed as part of my Thesis I can't use this option.
  2. Change the footnote style.

In word you can change the footnote style for the entire document by going to the ribbon>References>Footnotes and clicking on the little expansion square:

Fig 5: The ribbon showing the footnotes section.
Fig 5: The ribbon showing the footnotes section.

Then you will get the footnote and endnote menu:

Fig 6: The footnotes and endnotes menu in Word 2010.
Fig 6: The footnotes and endnotes menu in Word 2010.

Where you can change the format to symbols:

Fig 7: The endote format option changed to symbols.
Fig 7: The endote format option changed to symbols.

I think the final result is an OK compromise:

Fig 8: A symbol footnote and a normal reference.
Fig 8: A symbol footnote and a normal reference.

If you want you can also add a comma between the two to improve the distinction. Be aware that you'll have to do this manually by typing in a comma and then making it into a superscript:

Fig 9: The final footnote and reference which avoids confusion.
Fig 9: The final footnote and reference which avoids confusion.

Thesis Update

Currently my Thesis is 78 pages long with 16,148 words!

Tom Out!