How to insert footnotes and Endnotes in MS Word Document

Many books and academic papers require citing of references, giving explanations, and making comments. These usually appear at the bottom of a page (footnotes) or at the end of the document (endnotes), with a reference number linking them to a specific location in the main text.

Microsoft Word allows adding footnotes and endnotes easily. An additional advantage in adding them using Word is the note automatically gets a reference number.

Therefore, even if you make changes to your document, Word will automatically move the footnote or the endnote so that it displays in the correct page and position.

You can use two methods to insert a footnote or endnote in a Microsoft Word document:

  • Using keyboard shortcuts
  • Using menus

We will explain the above processes in three parts:

  • Inserting Footnotes
  • Inserting Endnotes
  • Modifying Footnotes/Endnotes

Simply follow the steps in sequence.


Inserting Footnotes

Method #1: Using Keyboard Shortcuts

Step #1: Open a Word Document

Open a Word document containing text in which you want to add a footnote. Place the cursor at the position where you would like the footnote mark to appear, but do not type anything.

Step #2: Insert Footnote

On your keyboard, press Ctrl+Alt+F for inserting a footnote. Word will place a subscript reference number at the earlier position of the cursor and move the cursor to the bottom of the page.

The same symbol or number will appear at the place where Word expects you to type the contents of the footnote.

Step #3: Type Footnote Content

Type the footnote and format it the way you want it to appear (Refer Modifying Footnotes/Endnotes).

Step #4: Return to Document

Double-click on the symbol or number at the beginning of the footnote. Word will return your cursor to the location from where you started adding the footnote. If you decide to remove a specific footnote, simply delete its reference number in the main document.

For the next footnote, place the cursor where you want the footnote mark to appear, and repeat the above steps #2 and #3.


Method #2: Using Menus

Step #1: Open a Word Document

Open a Word document containing text in which you want to add a footnote. Place the cursor at the position where you would like the footnote mark to appear, but do not type anything.

Step #2: Insert Footnote

Click on the Reference tab on the top menu bar to change the ribbon menu.

Next, click on Insert Footnote.

Word will place a subscript reference number at the earlier position of the cursor, and move the cursor to the bottom of the page.

The same symbol or number will appear at the place where Word expects you to type the contents of the footnote.

Step #3: Type Footnote Content

Type the footnote and format it the way you want it to appear (Refer Modifying Footnotes/Endnotes).

Step #4: Return to Document

Double-click on the symbol or number at the beginning of the footnote. Word will return your cursor to the location from where you started adding the footnote.

If you decide to remove the footnote, simply delete its reference number in the main document.

For the next footnote, place the cursor where you want the footnote mark to appear, click on Next Footnote in the ribbon and follow the steps #3 and #4.


Inserting Endnotes

Method #1: Using Keyboard Shortcuts

Step #1: Open a Word Document

Open a Word document containing text in which you want to add an endnote. Place the cursor at the position where you would like the endnote mark to appear, but do not type anything.

Step #2: Insert Endnote

On your keyboard, press Ctrl+Alt+D for inserting an endnote. Word will place a subscript number at the earlier position of the cursor, and move the cursor to the end of the document. A symbol or number will appear at the place where Word expects you to type the contents of the endnote.

Step #3: Type Endnote Content

Type the endnote and format it the way you want it to appear (Refer Modifying Footnotes/Endnotes).

Step #4: Return to Document

Double-click on the symbol or number at the beginning of the endnote. Word will return your cursor to the location from where you started adding the endnote. If you decide to remove a specific endnote, simply delete its reference number in the main document.

For the next endnote, place the cursor where you want the endnote to appear, and repeat the above steps #2-#4.


Method #2: Using Menus

Step #1: Open a Word Document

Open a Word document containing text in which you want to add an endnote. Place the cursor at the position where you would like the endnote mark to appear, but do not type anything.

Step #2: Insert Endnote

Click on the Reference tab on the top menu bar to change the ribbon menu. Next, click on Insert Endnote. Word will place a subscript reference number or symbol at the earlier position of the cursor, and move the cursor to the end of the document. The same symbol or number will appear at the place where Word expects you to type the contents of the endnote.

Step #3: Type Endnote Content

Type the endnote and format it the way you want it to appear (Refer Modifying Footnotes/Endnotes).

Step #4: Return to Document

Double-click on the symbol or number at the beginning of the endnote. Word will return your cursor to the location from where you started adding the endnote. If you decide to remove an endnote, simply delete its reference number in the main document.

For the next endnote, place the cursor where you want the endnote mark to appear, click on the small triangle on the right side of Next Footnote tab in the ribbon. From the menu that drops, click on Next Endnote, and follow the steps #3 and #4.


Part #3: Modifying Footnotes/Endnotes

Step #1: Format the Footnote/Endnote or its reference number

Select the footnote/endnote or its reference number you want to format. Right-click on the selection to bring up the formatting choices for font type, size, bold, and italics.

Make changes to your liking, and click on an empty space to exit the choices. Double-click on the symbol or number at the beginning of the footnote/endnote. Word will return your cursor to the location from where you started formating the footnote/endnote.

Step #2: Modify the Footnote/Endnote

Select the footnote/endnote you want to modify. Click on the small arrow at the bottom of the Footnotes section in the References ribbon. This will open the Footnotes and Endnotes dialog box.

Under Location, click on the radio button [1] next to Footnotes and select [2] where you want the footnote to appear—at the bottom of the page or just below the text. Click on the radio button [3] next to Endnotes and select [4] where you want the endnote to appear—at the end of the document or at the end of the section. Use the Convert tab [5] to convert all your footnotes to endnotes, all endnotes to footnotes, or simply swap footnotes and endnotes.

The text in your document may be in sections or in columns, and you can adjust the footnote layout—to match the section layout, or appear below a certain column [6].

Under Format, you can modify the reference Number format [7] to appear as various numbers or characters, or as a Custom mark [8] or symbol [9].

You can allow the numbering to start from the beginning or middle of the series [10] and let the numbering run continuously, restart at each section, or restart on each page [11]. Finally, you may choose to Apply changes to a specific section or to the entire document [12].

Step #3: Apply the Changes

Once you have made your choice as above, click on Apply [13] to let the changes appear in your document.


Conclusion

Footnotes and Endnotes improve the clarity of a document with their references, comments, and explanations.

You can add them in any sequence, as Word takes care of automatically updating them, always displaying them properly in the document.

We have written a follow up post which explains how to remove footnotes from a word document.

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