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Posted 2 Oct 2008

Adding footnotes to a Word document programatically (MS Office 2007 Word)

, 2 Oct 2008
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This is an article about adding footnotes to a Word document (MS Office 2007) programmatically.


This is an article about adding footnotes to a Word document programmatically. I had this as one of my requirements while generating Word documents dynamically, and I really struggled to implement it, as well as to find some help online. So I thought I would share my experience with the community about this so that someone might find this helpful.

I assume the readers of this article should have knowledge of how to view a Word document (MS Office 2007) archive.


Let's assume some text in a Word document, say template.docx:

This is a sample text <FN1>

I assume that the Word document contains this text (already), and the tag <FN1>, should be replaced with superscript "1", and there should be a corresponding footnote in the footer section. The XML representation of this text in document.xml looks like this (should be in this form):

<w:p w:rsidR="00F54CB0" w:rsidRDefault="0016203E">
<w:t>Sample Text with footnote </w:t>

Note that the tag <FN1> should be in a separate <w:r>><w:t> node. I assume this as a prerequisite for this logic to work. (This can be done manually in document.xml, or it should be done programmatically.)

Other prerequisites

  1. footernotes.xml should be a part of the Word archive.
  2. endnotes.xml should be a part of the word archive.
  3. [Content_Types].xml should reflect the above two XML files.
  4. word\_rels\document.xml.rels should reflect the above two XML files.
  5. Styles.xml should contain the nodes corresponding to the foot note font styles.

These things can be done either manually, or by opening the Word document and adding the footer section to the document. Once this is done, all the above changes will be automatically done.

I have attached the sample code, along with a sample document (template.docx) in which there is only an <FN1> raw tag, and all the above prerequisites are met.

Adding footnotes

Adding footnotes programmatically to the document consists of two steps:

  1. Replacing the <FN1> tag with the footnote node in document.xml (which consists of a superscript 1, and its references to footernotes.xml).
  2. Adding the footnote text node in footernotes.xml.

Step 1 consists of creating a <w:r> <w:t> node which corresponds to the Word footnotes syntax.

This is done in the CreateFootNoteNode(..) method in the code:

  <w:rStyle w:val="FootnoteReference" />
 <w:footnoteReference w:customMarkFollows="1" w:id="3" />

Step 2 consists of creating the footnotes related references in Footernotes.xml. This step creates a <footnote> node which consists of the superscript number and the actual footnote. The generated node should look something like this:

<w:footnote w:id="3">
        <w:pStyle w:val="FootnoteText" />
          <w:rStyle w:val="FootnoteReference" />
        <w:t>This is a footnote</w:t>

Once these two nodes are created, the footnote is ready. document.xml and footernotes.xml should be saved.

I have put a sample document with raw tags <fn1> in the bin/debug folder of the solution. Once the program is executed once, the document will reflect the footnotes correctly.


This section briefly explains the prerequisites in the following files:

  1. [Content_Types].xml: The following section is added:
  2. <Override PartName="/word/endnotes.xml" 
    <Override PartName="/word/footnotes.xml" 
  3. word\_rels\document.xml.rels: The following section is added:
  4. <Relationship Id="rId6" 
    <Relationship Id="rId7" 

I have uploaded a sample application here, where the whole operation of dynamically creating footnotes in a Word document is done. It contains a file "sample template\template.docx". This file has to be put into the bin/debug folder of the application. Before executing, have a look at the document. It will contain the raw footnote placeholders. Once the program is executed, the placeholder is replaced by the footnote number, and the corresponding footnote can be seen in the footer section of the document.


This article, along with any associated source code and files, is licensed under The Code Project Open License (CPOL)


About the Author

Abey Thomas
Technical Lead Philips
India India
I am Abey Thomas Raju from Bangalore, India.

More than 7 years of solid experience in designing, developing and maintaining web applications using .NET technologies.
Good knowledge of ASP.NET aspects and related web technologies like Javascript, AJAX, CSS and jquery.

Proven experience in Object oriented analysis and design by developing and maintaining top class back-end framework for successful financial web applications.

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Comments and Discussions

Questionbenefit? Pin
alireza124631-Jul-13 8:23
professionalalireza124631-Jul-13 8:23 
AnswerRe: benefit? Pin
Abey Thomas31-Jul-13 19:29
memberAbey Thomas31-Jul-13 19:29 
AnswerRe: benefit? Pin
alireza12464-Aug-13 8:14
professionalalireza12464-Aug-13 8:14 

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