Manuscript Preparation, Copyediting, and Proofreading

Q. In a book printed with two columns per page, how should footnotes be handled? In two columns? Running across the entire page? If the former, should the notes in each column start at the same height on the page, or is it okay for them to be at different heights?

A. Putting the notes in two columns is ideal, but you must make sure that each note falls at the foot of the column it is called out in. Because the number and length of the notes for each column might vary dramatically, it’s not practical to always begin the notes at the same height. If this is an important project, consider hiring a graphic designer who specializes in scholarly books to make these decisions based on page size, column width, words per page, length of the notes, type sizes, etc. Otherwise, just use your best aesthetic sense and aim for readability and balance.