Inspired by the question Footnote to a footnote (where it was asked if one could have a footnote reference in a footnote), I'm asking something a bit more complex. Before I ask though, let me prefence the question by stating that I'm not looking for the standard tyopgraphical practice, but rather asking if something is possible for my own sake. How can I put a footnote section within another footnote section, i.e.

This is the outer block of[1] text[2].

---- % Begin first footnote (scriptsize)
[1] Here we start the first[*] footnote to main.
[2] Here we start the second footnote to main.

 ---- % Begin second footnote (even smaller then scriptsize)
 [*] Here is the first[+] footnote[-] to the first footnote block.

   ---- % Begin third footnote (even smaller then the last one)
   [+] Here is the first[a] footnote to the second[b] footnote block.
   [-] Here is the second footnote to the second[c] footnote block.

etc ... I'm looking for footnotes all the way down, or at least as deep as I'd like to specify.

  • 8
    Epic title. Good thing you (foot)noted you're not after typographic practice... See what I did there? ;)
    – Werner
    Commented Nov 17, 2011 at 22:05
  • 3
    @Werner Typographic practice varies. For critical editions multilevel footnotes are a must. Imagine a modern edition of a Greek text translated by a medieval scholar. You have the notes of the original translator, and the notes of the modern editor, which may reference both the original text and the translator's notes. AFAIK, David Kastrup's package was developed for a critical edition of this kind.
    – Boris
    Commented Nov 17, 2011 at 22:28

1 Answer 1


The packages bigfoot and manyfoot have this functionality. See this example from the bigfoot documentation:

enter image description here

Unfortunately, the customization of footnotes in bigfoot is not well documented (David calls this "expert options" and suggests reading the code). Here is an example:


Text\footnoteA{Footnote\footnoteB{Another footnote}}.  More
text\footnoteA{This footnote goes to the first level}\footnoteB{And
  this to the second one}.  


enter image description here

  • I'm not sure this is what I'm looking for, in the Bigfoot example you gave there is only one visible footnote section that references itself, albeit with two internal footnote sections. What I'd like is a second footnote section that references the first footnote section with a smaller typeface then the last and another line separating the two, as if the first footnote section was an independent part of the text.
    – Hooked
    Commented Nov 17, 2011 at 22:06
  • Looking deeper, maybe it is possible, but it doesn't seem like there is a visual demarcation between the footnotes, maybe a MWE would help?
    – Hooked
    Commented Nov 17, 2011 at 22:11
  • You can add rules between the levels and change appearance of each footnote level. See the documentation of manyfoot (bigfoot inherits it). Look at the commands \SetFootnoteHook and \SelectFootnoteRule.
    – Boris
    Commented Nov 17, 2011 at 22:16
  • I looked into the documentaiton of bigfoot and understood that changing the font of footnotes, while possible, is not documented (the author suggests reading the code). I added an example showing how to do this - hope it helps.
    – Boris
    Commented Nov 18, 2011 at 19:34
  • I know this has been a few years, but how can I increase the font size of footnoteB ?
    – Karl L.
    Commented Feb 26, 2020 at 19:37

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