How to Add Footnotes in Powerpoint: A Step-by-Step Guide

Adding footnotes in PowerPoint isn’t as straightforward as in a word processor, but it can be done with a few clicks. Simply put, you’ll insert a text box at the bottom of the slide, type in your footnote, and then add a reference to it on the slide. After this, your viewers will see a footnote citation on the slide and the actual footnote at the bottom.

After completing the action, your PowerPoint slides will have footnotes that provide additional information, clarification, or references without cluttering the main content. This maintains the visual appeal of your slides while offering viewers more depth on certain points.


Footnotes in PowerPoint are crucial for anyone who wants to provide additional information or cite sources directly on their slides. Whether you’re a student presenting a research project, a lecturer delivering academic content, or a professional sharing detailed data, footnotes can enhance the credibility and depth of your presentation. However, unlike in Microsoft Word, PowerPoint doesn’t have a built-in feature for adding footnotes. This might leave you scratching your head, wondering how to go about it. But fret not, the process is simpler than you might think!

Why are footnotes important in presentations? Well, for starters, they allow you to acknowledge sources right on the slide. This is especially handy when presenting statistics, quotes, or any material that isn’t common knowledge. By adding a footnote, you’re showing your audience that you’ve done your homework and are not just pulling facts out of thin air. It’s also a sign of professionalism and academic honesty. Plus, for anyone in your audience who might be a stickler for details, footnotes provide a path for further exploration without visually overwhelming the slide.

Step by Step Tutorial: Adding Footnotes in PowerPoint

Before diving into the steps, let’s clarify what we’re about to do. We will create a space at the bottom of our PowerPoint slide where we can add a small, unobtrusive text box. This will serve as the area for our footnote. Then, we’ll reference this footnote elsewhere on the slide so that there’s a clear connection between them.

Step 1: Insert a Text Box

Click the “Insert” tab on the ribbon and then select “Text Box.”

Once you’ve clicked on the “Text Box” option, your cursor will change to a downward-pointing arrow. Click at the bottom of the slide where you want the footnote to appear and draw the text box to the desired size.

Step 2: Type the Footnote

Type your footnote content into the text box you just created.

Make sure the font size is smaller than the main content of your slide, typically around 8-10 points. This ensures that it’s readable but doesn’t compete for attention with the main points of your slide.

Step 3: Add a Reference Marker on the Slide

Place a reference marker, such as a superscript number or symbol, next to the content the footnote refers to.

You can format your text to be superscript by highlighting it, right-clicking, and then selecting “Font.” In the Font dialog box, check the “Superscript” option and click “OK.”


ClarityFootnotes in PowerPoint help maintain the clarity of your slides by preventing the main content from getting overcrowded with details or citations.
CredibilityAdding footnotes increases the credibility of your presentation by providing sources for your information right on the slide.
DepthFootnotes offer additional information for audience members who might be interested in learning more about a particular point without interrupting the flow of your presentation.


Manual ProcessUnlike in word processors, PowerPoint requires you to manually insert and format footnotes, which can be time-consuming.
Space ConsumptionFootnotes take up valuable space at the bottom of your slides, which might otherwise be used for content or design elements.
Potential OveruseOverusing footnotes can lead to cluttered slides and distract from the main message of the presentation.

Additional Information

While PowerPoint doesn’t have a dedicated footnote feature, it does allow you to get creative. For instance, you could use the “Slide Master” feature to create a consistent footnote area across all your slides. You can access this by going to the “View” tab and selecting “Slide Master.” This makes it easier to maintain a uniform look throughout your presentation, especially if you have multiple footnotes.

Remember, the key to effective footnotes in PowerPoint is subtlety. They should be discreet enough not to distract from the main content but visible enough for those who want to take a closer look. Also, try to keep them concise—you’re not writing an essay in the footnote, just providing a reference or a bit of extra information.

When it comes to the content of your footnotes, make sure it’s relevant and adds value. Whether it’s a source citation or additional data, ask yourself if it’s necessary for the viewer to have that information on the slide, or if it can be included in a handout or discussed verbally.


  1. Insert a Text Box at the bottom of your PowerPoint slide.
  2. Type your footnote content into the text box.
  3. Add a corresponding reference marker on the slide.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I automatically number my footnotes in PowerPoint?

No, PowerPoint doesn’t have an automatic numbering system for footnotes. You’ll need to manually insert and number them.

How many footnotes can I add to a single slide?

There’s no limit to the number of footnotes you can add, but it’s best to keep them to a minimum to avoid overcrowding your slides.

Is there a specific font style or size I should use for footnotes?

Footnotes should be in a smaller font size than your main content, usually around 8-10 points, and should be in a simple, readable font.

Can I add a footnote to a picture or chart?

Yes, you can add footnotes to any content on your slide, including pictures and charts. Just place the reference marker in a spot where it’s clearly connected to the image.

Should I add footnotes in the presenter notes instead?

That’s an option, especially for content that’s more of a side note. However, if the information is crucial and you want your audience to have access to it during the presentation, footnotes on the slide are preferable.


Adding footnotes in PowerPoint might not be as straightforward as in other software, but it’s certainly doable and adds a layer of professionalism to your slides. Remember, the goal is to enhance your content without distracting from it, so use footnotes judiciously. Keep them concise, relevant, and appropriately formatted.

With a bit of practice, adding footnotes in PowerPoint will become second nature, and your presentations will be all the better for it. Now go forth and footnote with confidence!