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How can I make LaTeX use symbols (*, †, ‡, and so on) instead of numbers to mark footnotes? (The numbers are confusing because I use superscripted numbers for citations.)

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6 Answers 6

156

Use the footmisc package, with option symbol.

here is small example:

\usepackage[symbol]{footmisc}

\renewcommand{\thefootnote}{\fnsymbol{footnote}}
\footnote[num]{text}

instead of num you can put the number of the symbol you like:

1   asterisk        *   2   dagger      †   3   double dagger       ‡
4   section symbol  §   5   paragraph   ¶   6   parallel lines      ‖
7   two asterisks   **  8   two daggers ††  9   two double daggers  ‡‡
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  • 11
    The starred option symbol* might also be useful.
    – Stefan Kottwitz
    Aug 2, 2010 at 17:12
  • 14
    This answer would be better if you gave some code. Nov 17, 2014 at 18:14
  • 1
    @FlybyNight: Yes (feel free to edit!), but in the meantime you can read "texdoc footmisc" for documentation. Nov 17, 2014 at 19:32
  • 1
    \usepackage[symbol]{footmisc} will do it.
    – drgibbon
    Apr 12, 2016 at 2:48
  • 2
    The \renewcommand{\thefootnote}{\fnsymbol{footnote}} should go right before the footnote or in the preamble? Nov 22, 2017 at 22:04
177

This can be done by redefining the output of the footnote counter:

\renewcommand*{\thefootnote}{\fnsymbol{footnote}}

If you would like to switch back to Arabic numbering, you can do it by

\renewcommand*{\thefootnote}{\arabic{footnote}}

especially if limiting by grouping (curly braces) would cover a too wide scope.

It may be desirable to reset the counter after such a change, such as by

\setcounter{footnote}{0}
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  • 2
    I like this method, since you can easily turn off symbols again with another \renewcommand.
    – Noldorin
    Aug 5, 2010 at 13:48
  • 7
    I like this simply because it doesn't require a package (i.e. it can be used even on systems where you don't administrate installed packages). Aug 5, 2010 at 13:51
  • 6
    As an additional upside to this suggestion over the one selected as correct, I will point out that this will work just fine with Beamer. The selected answer did not when I tried it.
    – mako
    Feb 9, 2013 at 17:07
38

You may also want to reset the footnote counter for each page. People are not familiar with the symbols beyond the double dagger, and more than (at most) 16 footnotes in a single chapter will result in an error message. To reset the counter per page, either use the footmisc option perpage or the following code:

\usepackage{perpage}
\MakePerPage{footnote}
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  • 2
    Of course, this will not solve the problem that the original question asked about. That said, it is a very good idea to add this if you follow either Stefan Kottwitz's answer or the one selected as correct.
    – mako
    Feb 9, 2013 at 17:08
12

Here is some code I used a long time ago:

\@addtoreset{footnote}{page}
\renewcommand{\thefootnote}{\ifcase\value{footnote}\or(*)\or
(**)\or(***)\or(****)\or(\#)\or(\#\#)\or(\#\#\#)\or(\#\#\#\#)\or($\infty$)\fi}

The first line should be between \makeatletter and \makeatother.

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  • 1
    of course, "\@addtoreset{footnote}{page}" is pretty unreliable. if you really want perpage, you need a package to do it for you (the coding is tedious); see lockstep's response for packages to use, and how. Feb 11, 2012 at 0:39
  • This is what I was searching for. But I put ($*$) in place of (*) to have the stars vertically centered.
    – Kpym
    May 16, 2016 at 10:05
9

To get a huge number of footnote(-symbols) you could use the alphalph package.

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2

You can use fontawesome package and instead of numbers use icons it provides like this:

\renewcommand{\thefootnote}{\color{white}{\faGears}}

or like this for minipage, mdframed etc...

\renewcommand{\thempfootnote}{\color{white}{\faGears}}

In the code above \faGears is an icon name. You can find more icons in the CTAN documentation.

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  • \color{<color>} is a switch so the following pair of braces is useless. Maybe you are mistaking it for\textcolor{<color>}{<text>}. Besides that: doesn't use your code the same symbol for every footnote?
    – cgnieder
    Oct 20, 2016 at 10:40
  • Exscuse me if I'm intruding. If I want to write a book and want to make sure that footnotes are marked with a \diamond{footnote number} -command while citation notes of texts (bibliography) are marked with a \box{ footnote number} and, if you want to change your mind, by a \circle{footnote number}. Thank you
    – Puck
    Jul 2, 2021 at 0:38

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