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The IBM Style Guide: References

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This chapter shows you how to use footnotes, cross-references, and links to point readers to useful, related information.
This chapter is from the book

Footnotes

Avoid using footnotes; often, you can use a short parenthetical phrase or sentence instead of a footnote. Use a footnote only when including information inline disrupts continuity.

Footnotes in printed information

In printed information, use a superscript numeral to denote a footnote, and number footnotes sequentially throughout the information. If the information is divided into sections or chapters, restart the numbering in each section or chapter. If a superscript numeral might be mistaken for a mathematical symbol, use a dagger (†) if it is available, rather than a numeral or an asterisk.

Place a footnote number at the end of the sentence, clause, word, abbreviation, or other item to which the footnote applies. Place the footnote text at the bottom of the same page where the footnote number or dagger is displayed.

Example

The DJXDSCF1 member contains the server configuration parameters.

Footnotes in online information

In online information, use hover help or similar mechanisms for information that would be a footnote in printed information. If you do not have hover help or another suitable mechanism for including additional information inline, follow the footnote guidelines for printed information. Provide a link from the footnote back to the main text.

Footnotes in tables

If your authoring tool supports footnotes in a table, include the footnote text in the last row of the table.

Example

Table 1 Device specifications

Model

Height

Depth

Width

Tower

440 mm (17.3 in.)

747 mm (29.4 in.)

218 mm (8.6 in.)

5U1 rack

218 mm (8.6 in.)

696 mm (27.4 in.)

424 mm (16.7 in.)

If your authoring tool does not support footnotes in tables, include a phrase such as See note 1, and use an ordered list with a heading of Note or Notes in the last row of the table.

Example

Table 2 Device specifications

Model

Height

Depth

Width

Tower

440 mm (17.3 in.)

747 mm (29.4 in.)

218 mm (8.6 in.)

5U rack (See note 1)

218 mm (8.6 in.)

696 mm (27.4 in.)

424 mm (16.7 in.)

Note:

  • 1. A unit (U) is 4.45 cm (1.75 in.).
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