This tutorial shows how to insert footnotes and endnotes in Microsoft Word using the tools in the ribbon.
Manually inserting individual footnotes and endnotes in Word is relatively straightforward: type a superscript number in the main text and then scroll to the bottom of the page, section, or document to type your note.
But manually inserting notes can get tricky if your document is more than a couple of pages long or has a lot of notes because you also have to manually update number sequencing and text placement as notes are added or deleted.
That’s when Word’s footnote and endnote tools really come in handy. These tools automatically maintain sequential note numbers, create space for endnotes at the end of the document or section, and make sure that your footnotes stay with their associated text—even if that text moves to a different page. Best of all, the tools are easy to use.
The images below are from Word for Microsoft 365. The steps also apply to Word 2021, Word 2019, Word 2016, Word 2013, and Word 2010. However, your interface may look slightly different in those older versions.
This tutorial is available as a YouTube video showing all the steps in real time.
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Don’t miss the three benefits of using Word’s footnote and endnote tools explained at the end of this tutorial.
How to Insert Footnotes and Endnotes in Word
1. Place your cursor where the superscript number for the first note should appear.
2. Select the References tab in the ribbon.
3. Select the dialog box launcher in the Footnotes group.
4. Select Footnotes or Endnotes in the Footnote and Endnote dialog box.
5. Select the note’s location from the drop-down menu.
You can also choose additional options in the Footnote and Endnote dialog box such as number formatting and whether the numbering applies to the whole document or to a specific section.
6. Select the Insert button to create the first note.
After Word creates the superscript number, your cursor will automatically move to the note location selected in the Footnote and Endnote dialog box.
7. Write your note.
8. Double-click on the number before the note to return to the location of the corresponding superscript number in the main text.
9. Place your cursor where the superscript number for the next note should appear in the text and then select Insert Footnote or Insert Endnote in the Footnotes group in the ribbon to insert the next note.
The options you selected in the Footnote and Endnote dialog box during step 5 will be maintained.
10. Save your document to save your new footnotes or endnotes.
Three Benefits of the Footnote and Endnote Tools in Word
Here are three benefits to keep in mind when working with footnotes and endnotes in Word:
1. You can use footnotes and endnotes in the same document. If you choose to use both, the first type inserted will be assigned superscript numbers and the second type inserted will be assigned superscript letters. However, these options can be changed in the Footnote and Endnote dialog box (see figures 4 and 5).
2. If you move the text connected to footnotes or endnotes, the sequencing of the superscript numbers (or letters) and the notes themselves will be automatically updated. Additionally, if you add or delete footnotes or endnotes between existing notes, the sequencing of the superscript numbers (or letters) and the notes themselves will be automatically updated.
3. You can modify the style of all the footnotes or all the endnotes, plus the reference numbers and the separator lines that appear above the notes.
Updated March 15, 2022