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: Margin Notes in Word.
by Allen Wyatt
(last updated January 1, 2016)
While Word does have a powerful footnote and endnote capability, it does not have a native margin note capability. You can, however, use other features of Word to simulate margin notes. For instance, you can create a two-column table and use the left column for notes and the right column for text (or vice versa). There is a drawback to this if you are using Word 97: You cannot use tables within tables, and thus you could not use tables in a document with margin notes implemented using tables. (Tables within tables is not a problem in later versions of Word.)
You could also use text boxes, frames, or columns to simulate margin notes. Each of these is appropriate under differing circumstances, and you may want to try each to see if you get the desired effect. As an example, using columnar text may work great until you have a margin note that runs longer than the paragraph in which the note is referenced.
Another way to handle margin notes is to use a third-party Word add-on that provides the feature. These products will often use some variation of the text box or frame method of adding the notes.
WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (1720) 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: Margin Notes in Word.
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