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: Creating a Bibliography from Footnotes.

Creating a Bibliography from Footnotes

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated July 24, 2017)


Renata is typing a dissertation with over 450 footnotes. She's inserted them in the regular manner for creating footnotes, and wonders if there is a way to easily generate a bibliography, in the proper order, from the footnote information.

Unfortunately, there is no way to do this within Word. It is possible that a macro could be created that would do the compilation for you, but it would be quite involved and very specific to the way in which you are creating your footnotes. (Different style guides call for different specifications for both footnotes and bibliographies.)

Another option is to look for third-party software that may fit the bill, but a quick search turned up nothing that sounded promising in this area.

This means that you are left with approaching the task manually. To make the job a bit easier, try these general steps:

  1. Make a copy of your dissertation. (You don't want to work on the original to do these steps.)
  2. Open the copy and convert all the footnotes to endnotes.
  3. Position the insertion pointer just before the first endnote. (The actual endnote text, not the reference in the main body of the document.)
  4. Scroll to the end of the endnotes, so you can see the last one on the screen.
  5. Hold down the Shift key as you click at the end of the last endnote. All the endnotes in the document should now be selected.
  6. Press Ctrl+C to copy the endnotes to the Clipboard.
  7. Open a new, blank document and paste (Ctrl+V) the endnotes to the new document. You now have a document that just has all the endnotes in it, and nothing else.
  8. Sort the paragraphs in the document alphabetically.
  9. Work your way through all the endnotes, deleting all the text and references you don't need in the bibliography.
  10. Structure and format as desired.

That's it; you now have your bibliography, manually created. It may not be easy, but it is easier than cutting and pasting the text from each of your footnotes individually. It is also less prone to errors in missing something during the compilation.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (514) 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: Creating a Bibliography from Footnotes.

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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What is five less than 8?

2018-02-16 02:57:54

Ken Endacott

Removing the number at the start of each entry is straight forward with Find & Replace.

Switching first and last names is a little more difficult and requires multiple passes. The command strings depend on the format of names and is easier if there one or two initials rather than a full first name. Thus if the names are in the form A Smith or AB Smith then three passes are required to convert to Smith AB or Smith A. “Use Wildcards” in the extended menu must be turned on. The commands strings are:
Pass 1:
<([A-Z])([A-Z])([A-Z]) ([A-Z])([a-z^45]@),([^32^13])
\4\5 \1\2\3,\6

Pass 2:
<([A-Z])([A-Z]) ([A-Z])([a-z^45]@),([^32^13])
\3\4 \1\2,\5

Pass 3:
<([A-Z]) ([A-Z])([a-z^45]@),([^32^13])
\2\3 \1,\4

It is best to copy/paste these command strings into Find & Replace as getting one character wrong will produce incorrect results. Make sure that there are no space characters before or after the strings.

2018-02-15 02:43:28

Eli Rezaei

Thanks, but still two things need to be explained:
First, when you copy/paste the notes into a new document, all of the notes are started with '1' at the beginning! how to get rid of those '1' ?
Second, how to reverse first and last names?

2017-03-06 17:44:02


Live saver, you are my hero! Thank you VERY VERY much :-)

2016-12-11 23:14:35

Jayakumar R, Singapore

Well written and it works!


I have already subscribed to your WORD and EXCEL tips. Only I need more time
to master your tips.

Have a good day!

2016-06-30 20:26:46


Thank you a lot! I just saved 30 minutes from my life!

2016-05-06 13:22:05


You omit directions on how to reverse first and last names. THAT is the tough part.

2016-01-27 11:06:08


The instructions were very helpful. Thanks

2015-05-05 11:16:20


Thank you very much!

2012-11-05 00:08:36


That's an idea, but things can be simpler. Just click anywhere inside a footnote text and hit Ctrl+A. That will select all footnotes, then you can proceed to copy-paste the text in a new document.

2012-07-26 13:23:35

Andrew Szabo

Good answer. I've often wondered if this could be done. The right tool for me would prompt at the footnote stage for all the American Language Association data needed (author, title, publisher, city, date, page, etc.) and then produce footnotes and (dynamically) a bibliography in that format. There would have to be variants for other fields, such as law.

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