Footnotes Immediately Below Text Instead of Bottom of Page

In Turabian, footnotes are supposed to start on the next line after the last line of text. See Turabian Tutor (the bottom of page 7). How can I do this in LibreOffice? According to the above referenced Turabian Tutor, Word has an option for footnotes that you can choose between “bottom of page” and “below text” and WordPerfect has an option for footnotes where you can select “immediately below text.” In LibreOffice I can go to Tools > Footnotes and Endnotes… and the options for Position are only “End of page” and “End of document.”

My OS is Linux. The only two word processors for Linux that I’ve been able to find that seem to support this option are OnlyOffice and WPS Writer.

There are some similar questions about LibreOffice and footnotes, but most of them came down to orphan and widow control. This is not an issue with orphan and widow configuration. For example, if the last page of a paper only has a paragraph or two, the footnotes should start directly after the last paragraph, not at the end of the page.

I’m almost finished with my degree, and most of the courses in my degree program require the Turabian format. The only thing I’ve had to change about how LibreOffice handles footnotes is to modify the Footnote paragraph style to indent the first line of footnotes. No other professor has ever complained about the footnotes being at the bottom of the page. The professor of my current course insists on it. After I turned in my first essay for the course, he commented that I needed the footnotes to begin after the text rather than at the bottom of the page. I guess I could open the paper in OnlyOffice or WPS after finishing it in LibreOffice to change the footnotes and save, but I’d rather be able to do everything within LibreOffice.

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Unless I don’t understand the reference you gave, Writer behaviour is the one exhibited in the example pages. These pages are “full”, meaning maximum of text has been flown leaving just enough space for the notes.

Your complaint seems to be related to “incomplete” pages, i.e. pages where a lot of white space is still available. Your reference doesn’t show examples of this kind. This can happen only on last page of chapters (when chapters are assumed to start on a new page).

Could you clarify? And ideally provide an example in traditional typography to demonstrate it is not a whim from your professor. The purpose of notes is to set apart some information which is not needed to understand the argumentation and can be skipped on reading but is useful for someone trying to grasp the proofs or develop a counter argument. So segregating this documentation information far from the reading line is usually considered a good thing.

Your professor is correct. Footnotes are traditionally aligned under the last line of a page, instead of the bottom. Eg., the mystery religions and Christianity by S. Agnus is formatted this way.

LibreOffice can’t do that, sorry. If you find that your document doesn’t open correctly in your alternatives, try using a manual page style with an increased bottom margin in each and every page where the spacing is too big.

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The feature would be possible in file format, but it is not implemented in LibreOffice, see the bug report 90921 – Implement ODF footnotes-position 'text' (19.804) -- to place footnotes at the bottom of the text and its duplicates.


I wonder if this is a consequence of the then-available technology. Pages were composed with individual lead lines set one after the other in a frame. It was then easier to add the footnotes lines immediately after text. Though, it would be equally easy to stack the note lines at bottom of the frames until main text and notes met, thus not requiring computation of still available space.

Could an old-timer lead typographer give some insight?

In addition to the workaround suggested by Stokpan, the bug report linked by Regina also offered a workaround: “Incidentally, the only work-around I have found so far is to manually enter hard returns after the last footnote on each page in order to move the footnotes up below the text. However, again, this is not a good solution since an edit in the early pages of the document frequently requires you to manually re-position all footnotes in the document.”

This seems a little easier than manually adjusting page margins. It’s still less than ideal, but it keeps me from having to try transferring the document to another word processor. As long as I save it for after my final editing pass, I won’t have to worry about edits throwing the line and page breaks all out of whack.

Hopefully the feature eventually gets added to LO though judging by the age of the bug report, maybe there are some architectural issues that make this difficult for some reason. The UX seems trivial: Just adding a third radio button option to Position in Tools > Footnotes and Endnotes… for “Below text.” It sounds like the feature would be useful because it seems like this is a hard requirement for many academic assignments. Plus, it would be nice to have just for feature parity with other word processors.

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Your workaround is definitely better than mine.

Another workaround:
Add an empty paragraph below the footnote, and modify the spacing of the footnote (not of the empty paragraph).
This also will need some adjustments if the text before is changed.

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