I need to write a translation to poetry into footnote. I failed to find any good way to markup this:


By default, footnote's first line have smaller indent that the second one. This doesn't look like a poem.

I also tried the verse environment, but it seems that in latex every environment should begin from new line.

There is some questions on stackexchange, which ask about footnotes markup, but answer is "set indents manually", which is not good way (IMHO).

So, how do I make the indent of the second text line in the footnote the same as the first line indent (plus footmark width, of course).

  • 1
    Two non-TeX solutions would be: Introduce the poem by a brief phrase or sentence, which then allows you to set the poem on the second line of the footnote; or, if it is short enough, it is quite common to mark line breaks with a '//', viz: 'Arma virumque cano, Troiae qui primus ab oris // Italiam fato profugus Laviniaque venit // litora'.
    – jon
    Jun 7, 2012 at 16:48
  • Unfortunately, both way are inapplicable in my case.
    – Georg
    Jun 7, 2012 at 17:19
  • Another possibility: if you 'hang' your footnotes (see, e.g., the hang option for footmisc), your problem would disappear.
    – jon
    Jun 7, 2012 at 17:25
  • Thanks! Your variant worked ok. By the way: is there any way to decrease indent of the footnoted text (space between footnotemark and footnotetext). Also, could you write an answer to this question so I can accept it?
    – Georg
    Jun 7, 2012 at 18:23

3 Answers 3


An expansion of my earlier comment:

\setlength{\footnotemargin}{1em}% probably need at least 1.5em if >100
                                % footnotes
% default 'hang' values:
% \renewcommand{\hangfootparskip}{0.5\baselineskip}%
% \renewcommand{\hangfootparindent}{0em}








You could use a verse environment inside a minipage environment in order to suppress the unwanted initial blank lines. The following MWE illustrates this method. Since it appears you may have a lot of these cases, you may want to create a new command called, say \vfootnote, that acts like a normal footnote except that it typesets its contents in a minipage that's not offset very much -- per your stated preferences -- to the right of the footnote number

     \list{}{\itemsep 0pt
     \itemindent   -1.5em%
     \rightmargin  \leftmargin
     \advance\leftmargin-1em}% adjust to taste

\ldots\ the opening lines of Vergil's Aeneid.\vfootnote{%
Arma virumque cano, Troiae qui primus ab oris\\
Italiam, fato profugus, Laviniaque venit\\
litora, multum ille et terris iactatus et alto\\
vi superum saevae memorem Iunonis ob iram;\\
multa quoque et bello passus, dum conderet urbem, \\
inferretque deos Latio, genus unde Latinum,\\
Albanique patres, atque altae moenia Romae.}
More text \ldots

The resulting footnote looks like this (note that I've kept the page marker in the image to provide a sense of the vertical separation between footnote material and the page number):

enter image description here

  • Hmm. There is still large indent at left side. Could this be fixed? By default there is no indent betweent footnote mark and footnote text (I have to add ~ to divide them one from other.
    – Georg
    Jun 7, 2012 at 18:09
  • @Georg: Do I understand you correctly that you want no horizontal separation at all between the footnote number and the footnote's text (the verses)? Please confirm. If you want a different amount, please be a bit more specific as to your preferred amount of horizontal separation.
    – Mico
    Jun 7, 2012 at 22:43
  • I want this: I specify no more than one indent, which corresponds (somehow) to indent of all lines of footnote (may be,for many foonotes). Jon added a comment which, as far as I understand, adds some automation to your variant (it also puts footnotes into minipages, and then specify minipage' indent).
    – Georg
    Jun 8, 2012 at 4:13
  • @Georg -- I've taken your suggestions and modified the MWE to set up a dedicated footnoting command called \vfootnote suitable for typesetting verse in a footnote, with a fairly narrow horizontal offset per your specifications.
    – Mico
    Jun 9, 2012 at 1:43

In article.cls you can find the definition of \@makefntext:

    \parindent 1em%
    \hb@[email protected]{\hss\@makefnmark}#1}

The following redefinition makes footnotes' lines aligned (basically we use hangindent for this:

    \hb@[email protected]{\hss\@makefnmark}#1}
In the Frost's
Whose woods these are I think I know.\\
His house is in the village though;}

enter image description here

  • This is hardcoded indent. I wrote about them in the question. I don't think this is a good decision. What if I change document class?
    – Georg
    Jun 7, 2012 at 18:11

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