The norm say: When there are punctuation marks (e.g. a comma, colon or period) at the point where the footnote indicator should be inserted, the indicator is placed after the punctuation in English but before the punctuation in French and Spanish.

But, consider the following code:





    The English norm: Hello,\textsuperscript{12} bye \newline

    The Spanish and French norm: Hello\textsuperscript{12}, bye \newline

    The \TeX\ power: Hello,\kern-\wd\commabox\textsuperscript{12} bye. %
    Hello\textsuperscript{12}\kern-\wd\superscriptbox,\kern\wd\superscriptbox bye



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The last line of the output, is more or less beautiful than the norm?

Edit: How can I modify the footnote command for implement the "overlapped" version (only for comma and dot), but automatically?

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    i suppose it depends on what one is used to. i find the spanish/french form disconcerting -- and wonder if even more space is added before the comma in french? i do like the "overlapped" version, but don't think it would work if the punctuation were a colon or semicolon, unless the index were raised. that leaves a question -- what to do if the punctuation is a question mark or exclamation point? in other words, this opens a can of worms. Oct 8, 2013 at 14:19
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    Please, where does this norm comes from? The only norm I know is that a footnote is placed behind an word, if the footnote explains the word and after . or ! or ? if it explains the complete sentence. Found in several typographic rules books ...
    – Mensch
    Oct 8, 2013 at 14:30
  • 5
  • 1
    The question »The last line of the output, is more or less beautiful than the norm?« is of course highly subjective and I doubt it can be answered in our Q&A form. As for »How can I modify the footnote command...«. this is already answered in the question I linked to.
    – cgnieder
    Oct 8, 2013 at 18:07
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    Related: meta.tex.stackexchange.com/a/3426/21891
    – jub0bs
    Oct 8, 2013 at 18:39

2 Answers 2


Just stick to the norm that applies.

It is irrelevant if one prefers one way more than the other. Provided that one knows the norm of the language in which the text is to be written, one must just follow it.


From what I've seen, and most of my time is spent reading papers, footnote indicators and quotation marks tend to be placed after commas, full stops, question/exclamation marks, etc. I find it rather pleasing; the white space between a word and punctuation in the Spanish/French norm is rather disconcerting.

I would say that the "English Norm" looks aesthetically better than the "Tex power."

  • What, exactly, is the "Tex power"?
    – cgnieder
    Oct 29, 2013 at 12:06
  • I took it to be TeX's way of typesetting superscript text with the code provided, which will result in something that looks very much like a footnote marker or an exponent (power), but is typeset differently, as can be seen in David's example. Nov 15, 2013 at 14:16
  • But isn't the “TeX power” to write packages and macros in order to obtain the output you want? TeX itself doesn't even have a \footnote command: it is build using the math superscripts.
    – cgnieder
    Nov 15, 2013 at 14:23
  • Not knowing what else it could refer to, I just used the term to refer to the example provided. My opinion was based only on aesthetics, and not at all on the underlying code or method. Nov 15, 2013 at 14:29
  • So by “TeX power” you refer to LaTeX's default footnote mark layout? (TeX power implies that you mean some intrinsic property of TeX that also would apply to plain TeX, conTeXt...)
    – cgnieder
    Nov 15, 2013 at 14:36

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