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# Using footnote in tables

Have you ever tried to add a footnote to a table inside the tabular environment? Even though the index is printed, the search for the actual footnote will be in vain.

One way to overcome this issue is by using longtable. The package handles footnotes really well. But it may be an overkill if your table is small.
Also, I read the tabularx package also handles footnotes correctly, I haven’t tested it though.

Another, more appropriate solution would be using the minipage environment. Here is an example:

\begin{minipage}{6cm}
\begin{tabular}{|l|c|c|}
\hline
A & 1 & 2 \footnote{This is a footnote.} \\
\hline
B & 2 & 1 \\
\hline
C & 3 & 3 \\
\hline
\end{tabular}
\end{minipage}


Minipage table footnote example.

Obviously, the footnote is placed right below the table, which may or may not be what you want. In addition, since minipage is not a floating environment, adding a caption inside the minipage environment gives the following error message: “LaTeX Error: \caption outside float”. If you want to send the footnote to the bottom of the page and replace the index with a number rather than a alphabetic character, you may use the minipage*-environment of the footnote package:

\documentclass[12pt]{article}
\usepackage{footnote}
\begin{document}
\begin{minipage*}{6cm}
\begin{tabular}{|l|c|c|}
\hline
A & 1 & 2 \footnote{This is a footnote.} \\
\hline
B & 2 & 1 \\
\hline
C & 3 & 3 \\
\hline
\end{tabular}
\end{minipage*}


The code above places the footnote where and how we want it, but the issue with the caption remains.

What finally saved my day was having a look at the documentation of the footnote package. It provides the savenotes environment, which collects all footnotes inside the tabular where they get stuck and “releases” them at the end. Here is an example:

\documentclass[12pt]{article}
\usepackage{footnote}
\begin{document}
\begin{savenotes}
\begin{table}[ht]
\centering
\begin{tabular}{|l|c|c|}
\hline
A & 1 & 2 \footnote{This is the first footnote.} \\
\hline
B & 2 & 1 \\
\hline
C & 3\footnote{This is the second footnote.} & 3 \\
\hline
\end{tabular}
\caption{A table caption.}
\end{table}%
\end{savenotes}
\end{document}


Footnote in a table.

Update: conflict with xcolor package

There is a conflict between the xcolor and the footnote packages. You can fix it by first loading the xcolor package.

The error you will see is either:

Missing } inserted.

or

Extra }, or forgotten \endgroup
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#### 38 Responses to “Using footnote in tables”

• arielsonique

Thanks for this post. Could you also perhaps summarize the ways you can insert footnotes in the longtable environment? I have been trying to get the footnotes to display directly below where the table ends in the longtable environment but have not been very successful. They end up in the “footnote area”. Also footnotes in various parts of the long table, pre-table text, header text, table cell contents all seem to have different formats. It would be awesome if you could post a bit about it.

• tom

Hello! Sorry for the late response. After searching for quite some time, I found a package that allows placing footnotes in a longtable right below the table rather than at the bottom of the page. The package is called threeparttablex and is an extension of the threeparttable package. I changed the example from the documentation to make it a fully functional minimal example. Furthermore, I extended the code for automatic enumeration of the footnotes using a counter which is easily changed to roman, alphabetic, or numeric. Also, the counter is automatically reset when creating a new table.

By moving the command \insertTableNotes you have the flexibility to place footnotes anywhere you want.

\documentclass{article}
\usepackage[referable]{threeparttablex}
\usepackage{booktabs, longtable}
\newcounter{tablenote}[table]
\newcommand{\itemx}[1]{
\stepcounter{tablenote}
\item[\thetablenote]\label{#1}
}
\begin{document}
\begin{ThreePartTable}
\begin{TableNotes}
\itemx{tn:a} test test test
\itemx{tn:b} Referencing: see note \ref{tn:a}.
\source Made up by daleif
\end{TableNotes}
\begin{longtable}{l l l}
\caption{A long table}\\
\toprule
Coloum 1 & & Column 2\\
\midrule
\endhead
\cmidrule{3-3}
\multicolumn{3}{r}{\textit{continued}}
\endfoot
\bottomrule
\insertTableNotes\\
\endlastfoot
AAAA\tnotex{tn:a} & & BBBB\\
%  \newpage
CC & & DD\tnotex{tn:b}\\
\end{longtable}
\end{ThreePartTable}
\end{document}

Best, Tom.

• suvayu

Thanks mate! I spent countless hours trying to get this working before giving up while I was writing my thesis. Next time around, I know where to look.

• docnomore

I like the minipage environment leaving the footnotes below the figure. However, how is it possible to make this a float?

• tom

Hey there,

Either you pack everything into a floating environment like table which is not very nice. Or you may want to give the threeparttable package a try. Here is an example.

\documentclass[11pt]{article}
\usepackage{threeparttable}
\begin{document}
\begin{table}
\begin{threeparttable}[b]
\caption{Table caption.}
\begin{tabular}{|l|c|c|c|}
\hline
First & 42.5\tnote{1}&4.76&2.34\\
Second & 43.4&5.3&1.43\\
\hline
\end{tabular}
\begin{tablenotes}
\item [1] A table note ...
\end{tablenotes}
\end{threeparttable}
\end{table}
\end{document}

The ctable package offers similar functionality.

Best, Tom.

• Muhammad Naeem

Good post… I normally use \footnotemark and \footnotetext to add footnotes in table…

• tom

Thanks for your comment, Muhammad. I tried, but couldn’t make it work while writing the post. It was only when you wrote your comment, I search a bit more and figured that one has to place the \footnotetext outside the table environment. Here is an example for those who are interested:

\begin{table}[ht]
\begin{center}
\begin{tabular}{|c|c|c|}
\hline
Title 1 & Title 2 & Title 3\\
\hline
1.234 & 5.687 & 2.234\footnotemark[1]\\
1.234 & 5.687\footnotemark[2] & 2.234\\
1.234 & 5.687 & 2.234\\
\hline
\end{tabular}
\end{center}
\end{table}
\footnotetext[1]{First footnote at the bottom of the page.}
\footnotetext[2]{Second footnote at the bottom of the page.}

Thanks, Tom.

• John Stowers

I wonder if the footnotes package fixes the other common limitation – no footnotes in figure (or any) captions

• tom

Hey John,

Thanks for your question. The footnote package allows placing footnotes in captions. However, in you will need to protect them. Otherwise, LaTeX will produce an error message.

\caption{Figure caption\protect\footnote{Figure caption note.}}

Cheers, Tom.

• John Stowers

Ive been testing this morning, and it seems to break when using hyperref – specifically if using colorlinks=true.

The following does not work

\usepackage{footnote}
\usepackage{hyperref}
\hypersetup{
colorlinks=true % false: boxed links; true: colored links
}

• tom

Hi John,

You are right, there is no simple solution for adding hyperlinks to footnote marks within floats. I found a similar question on Stack Exchange. The rather “creative” solution seems to work well, even with colorlinks=true.

Btw, you can load the hyperref package with options, e.g.:

\usepackage[colorlinks=true]{hyperref}

Best, Tom.

• JoJo

you make my day.
Thank you

• Linda

Hi Tom!
Could you give an example on how to write a line type in a figure caption? for example

\caption{"dashed" refer to bla..bla..and  "dotdash" refer to bla..bla..}

where the ” ” are examples of the line type

Many thank in advance

• tom

Hey Linda,

Easiest would be to just use the math-environement and write out the line, e.g.:

\caption{$---$ refer to bla..bla..and $\cdot-\cdot-\cdot$ refer to bla..bla..}

If you are looking for a more consistent way in terms of line length, try the dashrule package:

\usepackage{dashrule}
...
\caption{\hdashrule[0.5ex]{2cm}{1pt}{3mm} blabla; \hdashrule[0.5ex]{2cm}{1pt}{3mm 3pt 1pt 3pt} blabla}

Best, Tom

• Pawel Müller

Hi there,

many thx for this article. I’m writing my master theses and would like to have a footnote in my table.
None of the above works though, and I really don’t know why. It is something with the other packages I asume, as your reduced example works great. Even with my own table.
Before I try to fix that, maybe someone of you had the same experience and can help. I get a lot of the following errors:

Latex Error: ./chapters/materials.tex:97 Extra }, or forgotten \endgroup.
Latex Error: ./chapters/materials.tex:97 Missing } inserted.

All in the same line. This is the line where my footnote statement is.
Any ideas?

best
Pawel

• Pawel Müller

Hi,
sorry. My fault. I read about hyperref making it all go down the river, but forgot, that I also use that package… Have to look for something else.

BTW: I used threeparttable package. It worked fine, but all footnotes which cause a line break in the footnote of the table cause a very strange behavior: The hole table ends up in the footnote area. Any ideas?

• Pawel Müller

Hi,

everything is fine now. I installed the tablefootnote package. It works, although sometimes a footnote is on the wrong page. But I will deal with that in the end.

best
Pawel

• Laura

I found it was better to keep in the table environment for consistency. With threeparttable, my caption would not align as other tables in my document. For simplicity, I used the \vline (in this instance to include borders) and \multicolumn macros to make it happen.

\begin{table}[htbp]
\caption{\label{tab:tab1}caption}
\begin{tabular}{@{}ll|lll|l|}
\hline
\vline & heading& \multicolumn{3}{|c|}{heading, $unit$} & reference \\
\cline{3-5}
\vline & & low & mid & high & \\
\hline
\vline & entry$^a$  & l & m & h & citation \\
\vline & entry$^b$ & l & m & h & citation \\
\hline
\multicolumn{6}{l}{$^a$ footnote} \\
\multicolumn{6}{l}{$^b$ another footnote} \\
\end{tabular}
\end{table}

• Laura

Left out \footnotesize at the relevant text

• stefanct

i had (apparently) a very, very special case to solve. i wanted to fit a quite wide table in a landscape environment, about centered vertically and horizontally, use footnotes inside the table and xcolor, booktabs and slashbox (now diagbox) for formatting. i tried about every suggestion i could dig up, nothing worked perfectly. the biggest problem most of the time was positioning the table. it seems that most footnote-enhancing packages do some weird stuff related to the page space definitions… or so. other problems include longtable breaking z-order of xcolor/diagbox elements, caption going wild and probably half a dozen other things that i happily obliterated already

my current solution is to use a minipage as was suggested here, thanks! (of course i have a with a much wider table, so this looks slightly insane as it is, because it is actually enlarged by the resizebox instead of made smaller, but you get the general idea
maybe it helps someone… my almost minimal but fully working example:

\documentclass[a4paper,11pt]{article}

\usepackage{booktabs} % \toprule \midrule \bottomrule etc
\usepackage[table]{xcolor}
\definecolor{lightgray}{gray}{0.9}
\usepackage{multirow}
\usepackage{multicol}
\usepackage{pdflscape}
\usepackage{diagbox}

\usepackage[pagebackref]{hyperref}
\hypersetup{
citebordercolor=0 0 0,
filebordercolor=0 0 0,
linkbordercolor=0 0 0,
menubordercolor=0 0 0,
urlbordercolor=0 0 0,
pdfborderstyle={/S/U /W 0.2}, % stroke, underline, width 0.2
}
\usepackage[all]{hypcap} % fix caption anchors

\renewcommand\footnoterule{} % remove line above footnotes

\begin{document}

\begin{landscape}
\begin{table}
\begin{minipage}{\linewidth}
\hypersetup{pdfborderstyle={/W 0.2}} % disable borders temporarily because they would be drawn sideways, i.e. left of the text!
\rowcolors{3}{lightgray}{}
\resizebox{\linewidth}{!}{%
\begin{tabular}{l cc}
\toprule
\multirow{2}{*}{\textbf{\diagbox{Device}{Bus}}} & \multicolumn{2}{|c}{\textbf{digital}} \\
& \multicolumn{1}{|c}{{nom}} & max \\
Battery~\footnote{oh yeah. a footnote.}		&	& 1\\
% fun stuff to make alternatively colored rows not look too stupid with booktabs:
\arrayrulecolor{lightgray}\specialrule{\aboverulesep}{0pt}{0pt}
\arrayrulecolor{black}\specialrule{\lightrulewidth}{0pt}{\aboverulesep} % to center the vertical rules between this and the \bottomrule
$\Sigma$	&\multicolumn{1}{|c}{0}	&1	 \\
\bottomrule
\end{tabular}
}
\caption[sigh]{works too, yay}
\label{tbl}
\end{minipage}
\end{table}
\end{landscape}

\end{document}
• me

note regarding when to load the package footnote:
it seems as if xcolor is not the only package that interferes with footnote since i don’t use this package but got the error about missing braces “{“.
loading footnnote last solved the problem

• Lucas

Thanks for posting. it s a nice post full of information.
You may find the ctable package makes everything easier (-> http://www.ctan.org/tex-archive/macros/latex/contrib/ctable)

• Matthias

Excellent post! Made my day.
Matthias

• Adam

Nice post!
However, your preferred method didn’t work perfectly for me. The footnotes end up on the page where the table environment is called in the latex-code, not where the table is placed in the final document.

I need my table to be within a table environment. So I went for something similar to stefanct, using the same example as in the original post it should be something like this:

\begin{table}[htbp]
\caption{A table caption}
\label{tab:stuff}
\begin{minipage}{\textwidth}
\vspace{3mm}
\centering
\begin{tabular}{|l|c|c|}
\hline
A & 1 & 2 \footnote{This is the first footnote.} \\
\hline
B & 2 & 1 \\
\hline
C & 3\footnote{This is the second footnote.} & 3 \\
\hline
\end{tabular}
\end{minipage}
\end{table}


If I could, I would have wrapped everything in the table env in a minipage but I got errors for this even though the minipage was inside the table env.

I usually place the caption above the table since this is more common in scientific papers. The \vspace is required since the default table environment in LaTeX is not designed for this layout and leaves no space here by default.

A nice thing with this approach is that the footnote labels change to letters within the minipage so they are intuitively separated from the footnotes in the rest of the document.

• tom

Cool, thanks for the nicely formatted code. The only problem I see is the footnotes are aligned left whereas the tabular is centred. One could limit the width of the minipage environment, but that’s not a very elegant fix. Any idea?

• Adam

I’ve been thinking a bit about this now and can’t come up with a nice way to put footnotes under the table if the table does not span most of the page. I’d say that if there is enough horizontal space over, add an extra comment column rather than using footnotes or put several tables together. It’s not any fancier than manually setting the width of the minipage, just some other options to try out.

• tom

Hey Adam,
Thanks for your thoughts on this!

• Nikolaj

Thanks. This helped me!

• sughosh

Thank you very much, This was very helpful.