Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Word versions: 97, 2000, 2002, and 2003. If you are using a later version (Word 2007 or later), this tip may not work for you. For a version of this tip written specifically for later versions of Word, click here: Reference to a Range of Endnotes.

Reference to a Range of Endnotes

Written by Allen Wyatt (last updated May 7, 2022)
This tip applies to Word 97, 2000, 2002, and 2003


Michael Smith is working with a client's document that uses endnotes extensively. At times there may be multiple endnote references at a given point in the document. These are shown in Word as, for example, (3,4,5,6). Michael's client would prefer that the reference show as (3-6), showing the range of endnotes rather than an individual enumeration of each endnote.

It is not very common to have multiple endnote references at the same point in a document, therefore it is not surprising that Word does not have an option to list endnote references by range. In fact, style guides take pains to point out that multiple note references at the same location should be "rigorously avoided" (Chicago Manual of Style, Fifteenth Edition, 16.34 and 16.37).

If the client still insists on having multiple endnote references at a single location, one solution is to select the intermediate references in the range, format them as hidden text, and then add a dash. For instance, you could select ",4,5," from the references "3,4,5,6", format the selection as hidden text, and then add a dash to provide the result of "3-6". If you have quite a few such operations to perform in your text, you can automate it slightly by using the following macro:

Sub RefListToRange()
    Selection.Font.Hidden = True
    Selection.Collapse (wdCollapseEnd)
    Selection.TypeText Text:="—"
End Sub

Select the portion you want to hide (such as ",4,5,") and the macro does the hiding and adds the dash.

Note:

If you would like to know how to use the macros described on this page (or on any other page on the WordTips sites), I've prepared a special page that includes helpful information. Click here to open that special page in a new browser tab.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (211) applies to Microsoft Word 97, 2000, 2002, and 2003. You can find a version of this tip for the ribbon interface of Word (Word 2007 and later) here: Reference to a Range of Endnotes.

Author Bio

Allen Wyatt

With more than 50 non-fiction books and numerous magazine articles to his credit, Allen Wyatt is an internationally recognized author. He is president of Sharon Parq Associates, a computer and publishing services company. ...

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