How to Use the Footnotes Block in WordPress

Just over six years ago today, someone posted an idea in the Gutenberg repository on Github. The idea was just five words: “Implement a block for footnotes“.

WordPress 6.3 arrived this week with a Footnotes block that is ready for you to use! This is going to be a very useful addition for many WordPress publishers.

When using the block editor to write a WordPress post, you can add the Footnotes block anywhere in your site. You don’t need to show the Footnotes at the bottom of every post.

Adding the WordPress Footnotes block

When the Footnotes block first appears in your post, it will simply show a message: “Footnotes found in blocks within this document will be displayed here.” You have to create Footnotes for the block to become active.

The WordPress Footnotes block

In order to create new footnotes, there’s a three step process:

  1. Select some text, or put your cursor in between words.
  2. Click the down arrow in the Gutenberg toolbar.
  3. Click the “Footnote” option.
How to add WordPress Footnotes

Once you’ve followed those three steps, your Footnotes block will show your new footnotes. You can start typing directly inside the Footnotes block:

Creating a WordPress Footnote

Rich Tabor from Automattic posted a short video showing the Footnotes block in action:

More Advanced Footnotes Options

The Footnotes block is simple and doesn’t have any configuration options yet. This screenshot shows the output you will get:

However, that will change soon as improvements are already being shipped with the Gutenberg plugin: “The Footnotes block now includes support for updating the block’s link color, background color, and text color, as well as controls for typography, dimensions, and borders.” Those changes will arrive officially with WordPress 6.4.

If you’re looking for other ways to add Footnotes, there is the Citations plugin from Hendrik Luehresen. This works in a similar way to the new Footnotes block, but does offer some styling options:

Citations block in WordPress

There’s also the older Academic Blogger’s Toolkit plugin which, as the name implies, is designed for academic users. You can add highly detailed references. There’s an example in the screenshot below.

Academic Blogger's Toolkit plugin

The older Academic Blogger’s Toolkit plugin also allows you to choose from hundreds of citation styles:

Academic Blogger's Toolkit plugin options

As a publisher, there are other excellent blocks available for you, including the Time to Read block.

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