Changing Footnotes into Endnotes in Microsoft Word

by Lesley-Anne Longo

Published at 2021-08-30

At TEC, we recently helped a client who had a request we hadn’t encountered before—he had written a paper that included many footnotes; however, he needed to change those footnotes over to endnotes. We thought that creating a practical blog with instructions for how to make this switch would be helpful for others who are looking to do the same thing!


Make Sure Your Prep the Document


It’s very important to note that these instructions will only work if the document has been broken into sections using section headers (one section per chapter). These sections provide the framework for how the footnotes will be numbered, depending on your preference.


I also found it helpful to map out the footnotes— how many are in each chapter (for example, chapter five has 20 notes, and the last note of the chapter is XXXXXXX). This gives you a guide in case you get confused with the numbering later on.


Making the Switch


Right-click on the first footnote and select “Note Options.” A pop-up box will appear. On the first section of the pop-up, select the option for Endnotes, and select “End of document” from the dropdown list of options, then click the button labelled “Convert.” This will convert all the footnotes to endnotes at the end of the document.


The endnotes will likely now appear beginning on the last page of running text in the document (the last page of the references, most likely), underneath a black line running partway across the page. That line is the note separator.


Getting Rid of the Footnote Separator


First, you’ll want to add the heading “Endnotes” directly before the black separator line.


To get rid of the separator, place the cursor anywhere on the first page of endnotes. Select the “View” tab from the ribbon at the top of the screen, then click on “Draft” view (instead of “Print layout”). The page will now likely look very different to what you’re used to, but that’s okay, we won’t keep it this way.


While in “Draft” view, click on the “References” tab from the ribbon. Then select the option to “Show notes” in the Footnotes section. This will allow you to specifically access and format those black lines separating the endnotes.


You should see a new section of the screen appear at the bottom of the page, showing only the notes. In this new screen section is a dropdown list of options. First, select “Endnote separator” from this list. Your cursor will automatically be placed to the left of the line, so press the > button on your keyboard to move the cursor so it is on the right of the line, then click Backspace to delete it.


Next, from the dropdown list, select “Endnote continuation separator” and then delete it the same way.


To return to the normal view of the document, select the “View” tab from the ribbon at the top again, then click on “Print layout.”


Breaking the Notes Up by Chapter


So, now all the endnotes are likely one long list, not split up by chapter. If this is what you want, then you can stop here! However, if you want the notes to be split up by chapter and renumber starting at 1 for each chapter, then there are a few more steps.


Start with the first section/chapter of the document. Below the “Endnotes” heading on the page and before the first endnote, type in “Chapter one” or “Introduction” or whatever the title of your first section is. Scroll down to locate the last endnote of the section/chapter (refer to your map of the endnotes if needed), and then below it, add some space and type in the next chapter heading (“Chapter one” or “Chapter two”). I find it’s easier to work section by section this way.


To get the renumbering right, we have to give Word some instructions on how to handle the notes.  Right-click on one of the endnotes in your first section. Select “Note options” and then on the pop-up that appears, look down to the section labelled “Format.” In this section, select the type of numbering you want (sometimes Word can change the numbering from numeral to i, ii, iii, etc., when you make the switch from footnotes to endnotes), and instead of “Continuous” click the dropdown and select “Restart each section.” You might not notice a difference in the numbering of chapter one/the first section of notes, but that’s okay.


Next, break up the rest of the endnotes list by adding in the chapter headings, like we did for the first section. It’s okay if the numbering is wonky still, right now we just want everything properly divided by chapter.


Assigning the Proper Numbering


Return to the “chapter two” (or whatever the second proper section of notes is; if you have an introduction, the second section could be labelled as chapter one as well) section of notes. Right-click on one of the endnotes in this section and repeat the steps above (right-click a note in the section, select “Note Options,” correct numbering if needed, select “Restart each section” instead of “Continuous” numbering). This should renumber the endnotes in this second section so that the first note of the section now starts at 1.


Now, simply repeat this step for each section/chapter of endnotes! For each section/chapter, tell Word to restart the numbering for each section, and each section of footnotes should now start at 1, both in the running text and in the endnotes section.


Final Steps


Make sure, if you refer to any former footnotes by number (for example, “see Chapter 3, note 76”) that those notes are corrected to reflect the new numbering, if necessary. This is one step Word won’t handle on its own; any text edits/cross references need to be made and checked by you, the author.


From there, simply format the notes and chapter headings however you like by changing font sizes, adding space before or after the notes (I prefer 6 pts of space between each note and the next), and changing indents/hanging settings.


We hope these instructions help you navigate this process of switching from footnotes to endnotes! It can seem somewhat intimidating at first, but just follow the steps and soon you’ll have a well-structured and organized list of endnotes.



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