Let’s look at what makes for “friendly formatted footnotes.”
The focus isn’t on whether to footnote. Style preferences vary among Michigan Supreme Court justices, for example. One justice’s 32-page opinion may include 87 footnotes. Yet another’s 27-page opinion has none.
But if you do footnote, here are some friendly formatting steps to make them easier to read. A page from a law review article can be a helpful (and neutral) legal-writing example:Page-5-example-1
 Left-text justification is better than full (especially when there are hyperlinks).
Notice how some lines in footnotes 17 and 18 are painfully stretched?Page-5-example-2
This is because Word does not have good, subtle word-spacing and letter-spacing algorithms to make justified text look good.
“Left-aligning is more reliable,” Matthew Butterick explains because “word-processor justification can often look clunky and coarse.”
Here is a quick video tutorial from Microsoft on how to change the text justification.
 Added space between footnotes makes them more readable.
The Michigan Supreme Court’s opinions include white space between footnotes. It’s a helpful approach to mirror.
Adding white space creates “visual chunking” and makes a document more readable. Writing expert Roy Peter Clark explains: White space “ventilates the page and releases the pressure of concentration, leading to a more inviting response from the user.”
This is easy to do by adjusting the paragraph-spacing options.
 Shorten and improve hyperlink reliability by using perma.cc when linking to online written sources.
If you click footnote 18’s hyperlink, you’ll land on a 404 error page.
Ick. Link rot strikes again.Page-5-example-3
Perma.cc, an online linking tool, reliably avoids the “link rot” perils that often frustrate future citation readers who “click” to non-operable or modified webpages. The tool also creates shorter links.
The Michigan Supreme Court has been using perma.cc when including hyperlinks in its opinions since 2014. You should too.
 Select a consistent appearance style for all hyperlinks.
Looking at the example, notice how some hyperlinks display in underlined blue font and others are plain text?Page-5-example-4
Whatever your preference is, be consistent throughout. (Just like you are either one space or two, curly quotes or straight. Pick one. Be consistent.)
The easiest way to ensure consistency is to check your “Hyperlink” and “FollowedHyperlink” font style settings in Word. Here is a helpful and quick tutorial on how to do that.
Footnotes serve a purpose for your readers.
Help your readers and improve your writing’s appearance by budgeting time into your writing and editing process to format your footnotes in a user-friendly way.