Changing Note Number Format with "Find What Text"

In our last newsletter, I explained how to use the “Find What Text” code to change formatted text in Microsoft Word. You can read that newsletter here:

(If that address breaks, you may have to put it back together again in your browser’s address window.)

This week, I’ll show you how to use the “Find What Text” feature to change the format of note numbers. (I’m going to use footnotes as an example, but you can do the same thing with endnotes.)

When you create footnotes in Microsoft Word (Insert menu/Footnotes/Footnote), the footnote numbers are formatted in superscript, like this (I’m using carats [^] to indicate superscript formatting):

^1^ This is the text of note 1.

^2^ This is the text of note 2.

And so on. But sometimes you might want your footnote numbers to have regular formatting and be followed by a period, like this:

1. This is the text of note 1.

2. This is the text of note 2.

Microsoft Word has no numbering option that will do this. Nevertheless, there *is* a way to do it, using “Find What Text”:

1. Open a document containing footnotes (be sure to keep a backup copy of the document, just in case).

2. Make sure you’re viewing the document in Normal mode (View menu/Normal).

3. Open the footnote pane (View menu/Footnotes).

4. Make sure your cursor is at the top of the footnote pane.

5. Open the Find and Replace dialog (Edit menu/Replace).

6. In the “Find what” box, enter “^02” (don’t include the quotation marks). ^02 is the code that represents a footnote number.

7. In the “Replace with” box, enter “^&.” (don’t include the quotation marks). Be sure to include the period after the ampersand. Also, in earlier versions of Word, you may need to follow the period with a space. The ^& code itself represents any text that was found, or in other words, the “Find What Text.”

8. With your cursor in the “Replace with” box, click the “Format” button. (You may need to click the “More” button first.)

9. Click “Font.”

10. In the Find Font dialog, clear the “Superscript” checkbox so that the replacement text won’t be formatted in superscript.

11. Click the “OK” button to close the dialog.

12. In the Find and Replace dialog, click the “Replace All” button.

Your footnotes will now be formatted like this:

1. This is the text of note 1.

2. This is the text of note 2.

Pretty neat! Remember, however, that if you now add another footnote, its number will be formatted in the superscript default, and you’ll have to fix it by hand. To do so:

1. Select the number.

2. Press CTRL + SPACE to remove the superscript format.

3. Type a period after the number.

WARNING: Be careful not to delete a note number or type a note number by hand. Microsoft Word uses a special code to represent a note number, and if you fool around with this code, you risk corrupting your file. You can, however, delete or move a note *reference* number that appears in the *body* of your document, like this,^3^ and Microsoft Word will automatically renumber your notes, leaving their new formatting intact.

I ordinarily advise people not to mess around with automatic note numbers, because it’s fairly easy to corrupt a document by doing so. If you know what you’re doing, however, you can at least change the formatting of the note numbers if you really need to. Now you know how!

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