Is there a way to keep all footnotes on the page where they belong to? I have several (20-30) footnotes per page (some short, some stretch over multiple lines). Sometimes latex places the last one or two footnotes on the next page.

Is there a way to enforce a strict footnote placement?


3 Answers 3


20 to 30 footnotes per page is unusual, so it's not surprising that default latex classes don't handle it well. The footmisc package has a feature (option para) to avoid starting a new line for each short footnote, which may help a little.

\dimen\footins (default 8truein) gives the maximum amount of space that Latex will allow for footnotes on one page. You can try increasing this.

You should also set \raggedbottom and \addtolength{\topskip}{0pt plus 10pt} to help tex look for page breaks before it's too late. (See this FAQ answer for the reason behind the stretchy \topskip).

Critical editions typically have a large number of footnotes, so possibly ledmac or one of the other packages for that purpose will have some features that can help you (I haven't checked).

  • I'm working with reledmac and I can confirm that reledmac can't handle this. The developer also said that it depends mostly on LaTeX, if I remember correctly. Commented Jan 24, 2020 at 22:39

Latex attempts to do what you are looking for, but sometimes it thinks that the result would be better otherwise. For example: if you put a footnote on the last line of a certain page (or rather what was the last line before you added the footnote), where should the actual note be? there is no room to place it in the original page, so it must be in the next, but then the last line must also move to the next page, which creates badness (due to empty lines in the page).

Read here: https://texfaq.org/FAQ-splitfoot for a way to change the penalty of a "split foot" (ouch!) and thereby, perhaps, alleviating your problem.

The idea is to give the command \interfootnotelinepenalty=10000 at the beginning of the document (the default is 100). Note that you might want to give the command \raggedbottom (double ouch!) so that you will no get error due to the empty lines you will no doubt get.

  • 7
    This will prevent individual footnotes from being split across 2 pages, but it will not stop a whole footnote from floating to the page after it is referenced.
    – Lev Bishop
    Commented Sep 13, 2010 at 20:08
  • @David Carlisle Is there a way to automatically detect and prevent "last-line footnote markers", at least those that would force a split? A pagebreak would be forced, so that the line containing the marker would be moved to the next page. Commented Jan 29, 2023 at 3:43
  • @VincentKrebs better to ask new question with an exmple you could probably detect it and warn on the next run Commented Jan 29, 2023 at 8:11
  • @David I tried, but I can't debug, I can't make a MWE which reproduces the problem. I cannot reproduce the issue in a new file. I pasted about everything, all packages, commands, content... I didn't find the culprit, on my new file everything happens normally, i.e. a pagebreak is generated so that the last line moves to the next page. In the end I just removed \widowpenalty10000 but I shouldn't need to. Commented Jan 29, 2023 at 13:18

TeX does not usually detach footnotes. If they happen to be split off, this is usually due to some formatting problem like a manually specified pagebreak detaching the footnote.

There is one particular case where TeX will move a footnote to the next page: it tries splitting some footnote to get room on the current page. Whether it succeeds or not, the next footnote will float to the next page.

So the "missing footnotes" situation occurs mostly in situations that can't be salvaged using TeX's algorithms anyway, when you have multiple footnotes anchored on one line, and not even the next before last one will fit.

A manually placed linebreak before the floated footnote anchor might be inconspicuous if the paragraph before it is long enough.

The combination of in-paragraph footnotes and the less encumbered page breaking of the bigfoot package will usually defuse a lot of situations for critical editions. But if you have a lot of footnote anchors, picking a few manual linebreaks (or juggling with \looseness) might still be necessary on a handful of pages per thousand: TeX does not reconsider its linebreaks in the main text based on footnote layouts, and even bigfoot does not meddle in that area.

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