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Footnotes and Endnotes: Introduction

The purpose of this guide is to highlight the difference between footnotes and endnotes, and explain best practices on how to use both when writing research papers.

What is a Footnote


Cite references or adding comments on a specific part of the paper or a sentence. They are usually placed at the bottom of the page. Footnotes are interesting comments as well as referring to other relevant and useful sources. They point out where the material is coming from, and where to look for extra sources on that topic.


An Endnote is a reference, comment, or explanation usually located at the end of the article, research paper and chapter.

Endnotes main purpose is to direct users to the original source of a quotation, paraphrase, or summary. They provide extra information and explanatory comments to the main text.

Users of academic and scholarly publications prefer footnotes to endnotes 

Where do you add a footnote mark?

The most preferred and the most common practice is to put the footnote at the end of the sentence after (any) punctuation mark.

To begin typing a new sentence or paragraph skip two spaces.

If the sentence has more than one footnote, add the footnote in the middle of the sentence right after the word you want to clarify, but this practice is not recommended, the best practice is:

  • To be added at the end of the sentence or the end of the phrase.
  • Should be added after a punctuation mark.
  • If the footnote is not at the end of the sentence when you start a new paragraph or line skip only one space.

Adding Footnotes in Word 2013

Footnotes and endnotes often appear in the same discussion, and there is some confusion between the two terms. Let us clear up that confusion. Footnotes and endnotes are used in printed documents to explain, comment on, or provide references for a text in a report. Many people use footnotes for detailed comments and endnotes for citation of sources.

Footnotes typically appear at the end of each page, whereas endnotes appear at the end of the document. Footnotes and endnotes consist of two linked parts – the note reference mark and the corresponding note text.

Footnotes and Endnotes in Word 2013

Insert A Footnote Or An Endnote

The numbering of footnotes and endnotes is done automatically by Microsoft Word. You can use a single numbering scheme throughout a document, or you can use different numbering schemes within each section in a paper. To insert a footnote or an endnote, place the cursor where you want the marker, then go to the References tab and click Insert Endnote or Insert Footnote (in the Footnotes group).

References Tab

Word inserts the note reference mark (usually a sequential number) and places the insertion point in the text area of the new footnote or endnote.  You can format the footnote text like any other text (e.g. make it bold, italic, change the font etc.).

Once you’ve finished typing the endnote or footnote you can place the cursor back in the main body of your document to carry on amending it. To return to the reference mark in the paper, double-click the footnote or endnote reference mark. In fact, this works the other way around too: double click on the reference mark in the document to jump to the footnote or endnote.

Double Click Reference Mark

When you add, delete, or move notes that have been automatically numbered, Word renumbers the footnote and endnote reference marks.

When you hover over a reference mark in your document, a tooltip will display that contains the text in the corresponding footnote/endnote.

Footnote Tooltip

Word keeps a record of each footnote and endnote you create, and you can see them all by clicking References > Captions > Cross-reference, We can use the list presented here to reuse footnotes and insert them elsewhere. However, cross-references have a limitation – if you add another footnote above the original one, the footnote number will update but the cross-reference number will not. To do this, you need to update all fields in the document. There are various ways to do this, but the easiest is to open “Print Preview”. This will update all cross-references to the correct numbers.

Note: If your footnotes were incorrectly numbered, your document might contain tracked changes. Accept the tracked changes, and then Word will correctly number the footnotes and endnotes.


A plethora of tutorials to get you up to speed with Microsoft Word 2013


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