Microsoft Word 2003 - Footnote Separator Line

Today was one of those days I wanted to punch Microsoft Word in the face. Don't get me wrong, most of the time I think it does a pretty good job. The one thing that seems to constantly crop up for me though is issues with outlined numbering. Sometimes it works, sometimes I'm left scratching my head why it either continues the numbering when it shouldn't, or restart numbering, or incorrectly indent, etc.

The issue that came up today was when I inserted a footnote in my first content page:

For some reason, no matter what I did, Word seemed set on placing a big fat 1 at the start of the divider line between the page content and footnote. Seems like it was treating the divider as a Heading 1, although it wasn't continuing the numbering from previous headings. I tried selecting the whole page above and below and clearing all formatting but the 1 remained. I tried clicking, double-clicking, triple-clicking, dragging, cursing, swearing, threatening but nothing worked.

The solution was to click View->Normal, then View->Footnotes, then Footnotes->Footnote Separator. This gives you access to manually format the divider line as in the picture below:

Deleting the 1 and closing fixed the problem. Intuitive? You decide.

UPDATE: Arghhhh!!!!! Screw you Office! Now whenever I try to make a normal text numbered list in the middle of a paragraph, it magically decides this list should be a heading 1 type, and it should automatically renumber all my other sections. I've tried clearing formatting, manually changing the style type, etc, but Word absolutely insists this list should be a heading! All this within the first day of starting to write my thesis. No WAY am I gonna put up with this for the next few months or longer.

Downloaded OpenOffice 3.1.1. Hopefully this will play nicely. Otherwise I'm going back to LaTeX.


  1. Did you ever find a solution to this? I'm typing a research paper and Word will randomly insert several extra lines in all of my footnote separators, causing a few pages to be added to the document. When I delete them and close the menu, Word will then insert the extra lines into my Header and Footer, which adds several pages to the document. It's driving me nuts.

  2. I'm going to have to keep my eye on this:

    Troubleshooting Note Separators
    All of the note separators are in the Normal style, so any modifications you have applied to Normal style will also apply to the separators. The most common problems are indented separators (because a first-line indent has been added to Normal) or unwanted extra spacing (because Normal has been formatted as double-spaced, or Spacing Above/Below has been added). Sometimes, in the course of editing a separator, a user may have pressed Enter and added an empty paragraph below the separator.

  3. Sadly, in 2012, I am dealing with the same problem. But you've given me the solution and it worked. THANK YOU SO MUCH!!!!!


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