03/12/2021

IOS KingMan

IOS KingMan

How to insert a footnote or endnote in Microsoft Word to add supplemental information to a document

  • You can insert a footnote or endnote in Word from the References tab of the ribbon.
  • Footnotes and endnotes are supplemental information you can add to a document and reference using superscripts in the main text. 
  • You can add multiple references to the same footnote using the cross-reference tool in the References tab of the ribbon. 
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While footnotes aren’t necessarily a commonly used formatting feature in Microsoft Word, you’ll appreciate having access to this ability if you need to create an academic or professional document that requires them. 

Footnotes allow you to place supplemental information at the bottom of the page — in other words, the footer — which you reference with a superscript number or symbol in the main body. 

Footnotes are different from endnotes; footnotes appear on the page they’re referenced, while endnotes appear at the end of the document. Which one should you use? Whichever you prefer — or more likely, whichever one is called for in the writing or publication standards you’re using.

A typical set of footnotes in a Word document.
Dave Johnson/Insider

How to customize a footnote or endnote in Word

Those simple steps should be all you need to create footnotes and endnotes for documents, most of the time. You can customize them, though, if you need them to look or work differently.

To get to the options for footnotes and endnotes, click the “References” tab in the ribbon and click the small arrow in the bottom-right corner of the Footnotes section. The Footnote and Endnote dialog box should appear. 

The Footnote and Endnote options dialog box.
Dave Johnson/Insider

There are several options on this small dialog box. Here’s what you can do:

  • Control where the notes appear. In the Location section, you can choose “Bottom of page” or “Below text” to set where footnotes appear. If you choose “Below text,” the notes appear immediately under the last text on the page rather than all the way at the bottom. 
  • Change the footnote or endnote layout. Click the dropdown menu next to “Columns” to arrange footnotes into columns instead of following the format of the main text. 
  • Change the formatting of the footnotes and endnotes. You can specify the kind of numbering, lettering or other symbols that get used when you add footnotes. This is more than just an aesthetic choice; if you have both footnotes and endnotes in the same document, you’ll want to make sure they’re different to eliminate confusion. In addition, your writing or publishing guidelines might specify what numbering system to use for footnotes.