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: Formatting Footnote and Endnote References.

Formatting Footnote and Endnote References

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated October 29, 2014)

David writes for journals, and those journals require that footnote or endnote references be placed within parentheses and separate multiple sequential references by commas, as in (1,3,4,5,9). He wondered if there was a way to modify how Word inserts these references so that they automatically meet the criteria of the journals for which he writes.

The answer, David, is yes and no. Yes, you can modify some of the default characteristics of the footnote or endnote reference. For instance, you can make it so that they are not superscripted, or you can modify them so they are bold or a different typeface. All you have to do is modify the style that Word uses to define how footnote and endnote references appear. In the case of footnote references, you would modify the built-in style called "Footnote Reference." Likewise, for the endnote references, you would modify the "Endnote Reference" style.

Now for the bad news: You cannot modify anything about how Word inserts references other than what you can modify in the above-mentioned styles. This means that you cannot instruct Word to automatically place parentheses around the references, nor to separate them by commas. You can, however, create a macro to insert the first reference with its attendant parentheses. The following macro inserts parentheses at the insertion point, and then inserts a footnote between them:

Sub FootNt()
    Selection.TypeText Text:="()"
    Selection.MoveLeft Unit:=wdCharacter, _
      Count:=1
    ActiveDocument.Footnotes.Add _
      Range:=Selection.Range, Reference:=""
End Sub

Between the style changes and the macro, most of the work of correctly formatting your references is completed. The only thing you need to do is manually insert a comma and the next references if you have multiple sequential references.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (1636) 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: Formatting Footnote and Endnote References.

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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