How to Include Footnotes in Word Count in Google Docs: A Step-by-Step Guide

Including footnotes in your word count in Google Docs can be a bit tricky. Google Docs doesn’t automatically include footnotes in the word count, so you’ll need to follow a few steps to make sure everything gets counted. Essentially, you’ll be copying the footnotes and pasting them back into the main document before using the word count tool. This guide will walk you through the process step-by-step.

Step-by-Step Guide to Include Footnotes in Word Count in Google Docs

In this section, we’re going to guide you through the steps to include footnotes in the word count in Google Docs. By the end of this, you should be able to count every single word in your document, including those in the footnotes.

Step 1: Open your Google Docs document

First things first, you need to open the Google Docs document that contains the footnotes you want to count.

Once your document is open, ensure that it’s fully loaded and that all the footnotes are visible at the bottom of the pages.

Step 2: Highlight the footnotes

Select all the text in the footnotes section by clicking and dragging your mouse over the text.

Make sure to highlight every word in the footnotes. This ensures that no additional words are missed during the counting process.

Step 3: Copy the footnotes

Right-click on the highlighted text and select "Copy," or use the keyboard shortcut Ctrl+C (Cmd+C on Mac).

This step is crucial because it saves all the footnotes to your clipboard, ready to be pasted into the main document.

Step 4: Paste the footnotes into the main document

Place your cursor at the end of your main document text and paste the copied footnotes by right-clicking and selecting "Paste," or using Ctrl+V (Cmd+V on Mac).

You’ll see the footnotes appear at the bottom of your main text. This step is essential as it allows the footnotes to be included in the overall word count.

Step 5: Use the word count tool

Go to "Tools" in the Google Docs menu and select "Word count," or use the keyboard shortcut Ctrl+Shift+C (Cmd+Shift+C on Mac).

After selecting the word count tool, a box will pop up showing the total word count, now including the footnotes you pasted into the main document.

After completing these steps, you’ll have an accurate word count that includes your footnotes. If you need to keep your document tidy, you can always remove the pasted footnotes afterward.

Tips for Including Footnotes in Word Count in Google Docs

  1. Combine and Paste: If you have multiple footnotes, it might be easier to combine them into a single block of text before copying and pasting.
  2. Use Keyboard Shortcuts: Using keyboard shortcuts (Ctrl+C, Ctrl+V, etc.) can speed up the process significantly.
  3. Save Before Editing: Always save a copy of your document before making changes, just in case you need to revert.
  4. Check Formatting: After pasting the footnotes, check the formatting to ensure they don’t disrupt the document’s layout.
  5. Recheck Word Count: Sometimes it’s helpful to recheck the word count after removing pasted footnotes to ensure accuracy.

Frequently Asked Questions About Including Footnotes in Word Count in Google Docs

How can I ensure I copied all my footnotes correctly?

Make sure to double-check that all text in the footnotes is highlighted before copying. This will ensure that no words are missed.

What if I have a large document with many footnotes?

For larger documents, consider copying and pasting footnotes in smaller sections to avoid missing any content.

Can I use this method in other word processing software?

Yes, the concept is similar. However, the steps might vary depending on the software features.

Is there a risk of formatting issues when pasting footnotes?

Yes, there may be formatting issues. Always review the document layout after pasting.

Can I automate this process?

Currently, there’s no built-in feature in Google Docs to automate this, but third-party scripts or add-ons might help.

Summary of Steps to Include Footnotes in Word Count in Google Docs

  1. Open your Google Docs document.
  2. Highlight the footnotes.
  3. Copy the footnotes.
  4. Paste the footnotes into the main document.
  5. Use the word count tool.


Including footnotes in your word count in Google Docs might seem a bit cumbersome, but it’s definitely manageable with the right steps. By following this guide, you can ensure that every word, whether in the body text or footnotes, is accounted for. This can be particularly useful for academic papers, reports, or any document where word count is crucial.

No one likes surprises, especially when it comes to word count limits. So, taking the time to include footnotes can save you from potential headaches down the line.

If you’re keen on learning more tips and tricks about Google Docs, there are plenty of resources available online. Remember, practice makes perfect, and the more you familiarize yourself with these processes, the smoother they will become. Happy writing!