This plugin hasn’t been tested with the latest 3 major releases of WordPress. It may no longer be maintained or supported and may have compatibility issues when used with more recent versions of WordPress.

Civil Footnotes


Civil Footnotes is a WordPress plugin for adding footnotes on your blog. Civil Footnotes parses your posts for notes wrapped in ((double parenthesis)), then extracts that parenthesized text into a footnote list at the end of the post.

There are many solutions for managing footnotes within your WordPress website, but Civil Footnotes distinguishes itself from the rest with a simple, readable plain text syntax that works whether you’re using the WordPress block editor, a Markdown editor, or the classic editor plugin.

The majority of Civil Footnotes’ formatting is taken from the blog Daring Fireball, which first debuted this style of footnotes in 2005. The key difference is the addition of a title attribute to the footnote reference in the text which permits sighted mouse users to efficiently read the note by hovering their cursor over the reference number.


Civil Footnotes was originally created by Austin Sweeney and is currently maintained by K. Adam White.

License & Attribution

This plugin is licensed under the terms of the GNU General Public License (or “GPL”). It is free software; you can redistribute it and/or modify it under the terms of the GNU General Public License as published by the Free Software Foundation; either version 2 of the License, or (at your option) any later version.


The easiest way to install Civil Footnotes is through the Admin section of your WordPress install. Otherwise:

  1. Download and unzip

  2. Upload the civil-footnotes folder to the /wp-content/plugins/ directory of your WordPress install

  3. Activate the plugin through the ‘Plugins’ menu in WordPress


How do I use this plugin?

To create a footnote in a post, wrap the note in double parenthesis. For example, if I wrapped ((this in double parenthesis)), Civil Footnotes would interpret that as a footnote and convert it appropriately. This is a vast improvement over previous solutions which required you to manually keep a numbered reference in the text in sync with a note appended to the end.

Footnotes can be added to any post or page in WordPress. If you are using a plugin which provides Markdown support for your site, you may also include Markdown formatted text and links within your footnotes.

NOTE: You must include a space before the first parenthesis of your footnote; otherwise they will not display. This space will not be included in the final markup.

Why aren’t there any settings?

Civil Footnotes adheres to the WordPress project’s philosophy of “Decisions, not Options”. As a result there is no user-facing options configuration screen, and Civil Footnotes is designed to work as one might expect right out of the box.

If you do wish to change the behavior of the plugin, there are two ways in which a specific theme can alter how the footnotes render in code:

  1. Your theme may provide custom CSS to style the footnote output. To style the reference numbers, style the <sup> tag in CSS. The footnotes at the bottom of a page use two css classes, .footnotes and .backlink, which may be used to apply additional CSS styling to those elements.

  2. Your theme may specify the format of footnote marker. The available footnote markers are ‘decimal’, ‘lower-roman’, ‘upper-roman’, ‘lower-alpha’, ‘upper-alpha’, ‘lower-greek’, ‘upper-greek’, and ‘symbol’. To specify which marker is used on your site, you can add a filter function to the footnotes_style hook:

    // functions.php
    function mytheme_use_roman_numeral_footnotes( $style, $formats ) {
    return $formats[‘lower-roman’];
    apply_filter( ‘footnotes_style’, ‘mytheme_use_roman_numeral_footnotes’, 10, 2 );

All available formats are specified in the keys of this filter’s $formats array.

I found a bug, how can I report it?

The best way to report a bug is to open an issue on the plugin’s GitHub repository explaining your problem. You can also start a discussion on the WordPress support forum.

May I suggest a new feature?

Absolutely! We cannot guarantee all feature proposals will be accepted; Civil Footnotes is deliberately lightweight and aims to remain so. If you have a suggestion, however, the best way to request a new feature is to open an issue on the project repository as described above in “I found a bug.”

Where can I download archived releases of Civil Footnotes?

From the Releases page of the plugin’s GitHub repository.


January 31, 2020
I’ve tried half a dozen different footnote plugins, and this is the one that does what I want – it’s simple and straightforward.
October 2, 2019
I love this plugin. It has been causing no conflicts with other plugins or my theme so far. I like the size of letters produced as footnotes because it is just right for me to read. Thank you so much!
February 8, 2017
When it works, it REALLY works! I love how Civil Footnotes LOOKS to visitors of my 4.0.1 forums site, where it works for pages (not bbPress topics). I’m one of “two people” who voted that it it works with this ver: I’m the “one person” who voted that it works with my WP 4.1 site, a related eCommerce venue. And it did at first–I was thrilled because it’s exactly what I need! For the first time, I needed an image slider. After trying several, I decided on Slider WD: I was SO disappointed to discover that when Civil Footnotes was active, the slider couldn’t load images and citation-numbered “jibberish” code was displayed at the bottom of the page (which cites no footnotes). So sadly, I must deactivate it. Is it possible to fix this glitch? If not, can you recommend a slider plug-in compatible with Civil Footnotes? Many thanks for your advice, Anna
Read all 8 reviews

Contributors & Developers

“Civil Footnotes” is open source software. The following people have contributed to this plugin.


Translate “Civil Footnotes” into your language.

Interested in development?

Browse the code, check out the SVN repository, or subscribe to the development log by RSS.



  • Fixed a bug in v2.0 that prevented HTML from rendering within footnote content.


  • Upgraded plugin for compatibility with PHP versions 7 and up
  • Introduced footnotes_style filter to select roman numerals, symbols, or other non-numeric footnote styles
  • Modernized & reorganized code for a more efficient footnote rendering experience
  • Temporarily removed support for de-duplicating identical footnotes.
  • Temporarily removed support for <!--startnum=5--> footnote number overrides.


  • Added a ‘footnote’ rel class to the footnote links


  • Fixed two PHP errors (thanks to Greg Sullivan)
  • From now on, identical footnotes will be created as two separate footnotes (as they should be)


  • Added support for starting footnotes with a different number (e.g. 5)
  • Add <!--startnum=5--> or similar anywhere in the post or page to do so
  • This is handy for paginated posts


  • Changed the backlink’s hover text, now more fun and more aligned with DF-style
  • Added annotations to the plugin file to make it easier to modify output HTML
  • Revised structure of output creation to make it easier to modify output HTML
  • Fixed a bug that caused a </p> tag to not appear in the notes

This update is recommended for all users running Civil Footnotes 1.0


  • First release