Featured - How to Insert Footnotes and Endnotes in Microsoft Word

If you’re in academics, it’s inevitable that at some point you’ll need to know how to insert a footnote or endnote in Word. Whether it’s for a non-fiction novel, paper, or article, footnotes and endnotes will help your writing be credible and understandable.

As well as allowing for the insertion of notes and sources, endnotes and footnotes in Word let you explain technical terms or concepts to non-technical readers. But what’s the difference between these two tools?

What is the difference between a footnote and an endnote?

Footnotes are located at the bottom of the page containing the sentence it’s referencing. Endnotes are instead collated into a list at the very end of the documents, typically before the bibliography.

Most professors prefer the use of footnotes over endnotes, as they allow them to check the provided information quickly. However, you should check your university or publication’s style guide before committing to one or the other.

With that explained, here’s how to add a footnote or endnote in Word:

How to Insert a Footnote or Endnote in Microsoft Word

As you’d expect for such a commonly used function, Microsoft has made adding a footnote or endnote in Word very easy. It only takes about ten seconds to add one to your document:

  1. Place your cursor where you want your footnote and open the footnotes dialog box in your ribbon 

    You can do so by opening the ribbon’s “References” tab and then clicking the arrow in a square in the bottom-right corner of the “Footnotes” section.

    Windows 11 - Word - Place the Cursor - References - Footnotes

  2. Choose “Footnotes” or “Endnotes”, select the location, and press “Insert”

    For a footnote, for example, you will have the option to insert a footnote in Word below at the bottom of the page or below the text.

    Windows 11 - Word - Place the Cursor - References - Footnotes - Select Preferences - Insert

  3. Write your note and double-click its number to return to your main text

    Windows 11 - Word - Write the Footnote - Return to the Text

  4. To quickly add more notes, place your cursor and click the “Insert Footnote” button in the “References” tab 

    Windows 11 - Word - Place the Cursor - Insert Footnote

  5. Write your second note and double-click its number to return to the main text

    There you have it. You now know how to use endnotes and footnotes in Word.

    Windows 11 - Word - Place the Cursor - Insert Footnote - Write the Note

Extra: How to Double Space in Word

With your footnotes and endnotes out of the way, you might want to get the rest of your paper up to standard. Many style guides ask you to double or 1.5 space your piece to allow for easier written comments. We have a guide on how to double space in Word right here.


Extra: How to do a Hanging Indent in Word

APA, Chicago, MLA, and other style guides additionally require the use of the hanging indent in references or bibliographies. You can follow our dedicated guide to find out how do it.