InDesign is usually pretty well-behaved about applying the specified paragraph style to footnotes in a document.

By “well-behaved,” I mean that InDesign seems to respect the setting in the Footnote Options dialog that specifies the paragraph style to use for footnotes.

But sometimes I have noticed, when importing text from Word, that this setting is not respected. There are other times, too, when some footnotes seem not to have the correct paragraph style applied to them. I’m not sure I’ve spotted a consistent pattern as to when this happens.

But clearly, when it happens, and some footnotes do not have the required “footnote” paragraph style applied to them, this needs to be fixed.

The thing is, because it is not possible to select all footnotes in InDesign, it is surprisingly difficult to do anything to all footnotes in bulk, including apply a paragraph style to them.

The following one-line script solves the particular problem of applying a style to all footnotes in the document. (It’s a long line! So make sure to copy everything and save as a .jsx in your Script panel folder.)

document.stories.everyItem().footnotes.everyItem().texts.everyItem().applyParagraphStyle(app.selection[0].appliedParagraphStyle, true);

To use, do the following:

  1. Apply the desired paragraph style to a footnote in the document.
  2. Make sure your text cursor is placed somewhere in that footnote.
  3. Run the script.

The script checks what paragraph style is applied to the paragraph under the cursor, and applies this paragraph style to all footnotes in the document.

Important note: The script removes all local text overrides in the footnotes. So if you need to preserve things like bold or italics, make sure to first apply a character style to them to make them non-local. There are many ways to do this, not least of which is our very own Auto Character Styles!

Hope you find this little one-liner useful!