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A Comprehensive Guide to Using EndNote for Managing References

In the academic and research world, references are an integral part of any scholarly work. Whether you are writing a thesis, dissertation, or research paper, organizing and managing your references can be a daunting task. This is where EndNote comes to the rescue. EndNote is a powerful reference management software that allows you to collect, organize, and cite references with ease. In this comprehensive guide, we will delve into the various features and functionalities of EndNote and provide you with tips on how to effectively use it for managing your references.

Introduction to EndNote

EndNote is a reference management software developed by Clarivate Analytics. It is widely used by researchers, academics, and students to streamline the process of organizing and citing references in their scholarly work. With EndNote, you can create a personal library of references from various sources such as online databases, library catalogs, and PDFs.

Once you have imported your references into EndNote, you can easily organize them into groups or folders based on different projects or topics. The software also allows you to add notes and annotations to your references for better comprehension and analysis. Additionally, EndNote offers seamless integration with popular word processing software like Microsoft Word and Google Docs, enabling you to insert citations and generate bibliographies in multiple citation styles effortlessly.

Getting Started with EndNote

To begin using EndNote for managing your references, the first step is to download and install the software on your computer. Once installed, you can create a new library within EndNote where all your references will be stored.

EndNote provides several options for importing references into your library. You can manually enter the details of each reference or import them from online databases using search tools provided by EndNote. The software also allows direct importation from PDFs or text files.

Once your references are imported into the library, it’s crucial to organize them effectively. EndNote provides various features to help you create groups, assign keywords, and add custom fields to your references. These organizational tools will make it easier for you to locate specific references when needed.

Citing and Writing with EndNote

One of the most significant advantages of using EndNote is its ability to seamlessly integrate with word processing software. With the help of EndNote plugins or add-ons, you can cite references and generate bibliographies directly within your document.

To cite a reference using EndNote, simply place your cursor at the desired location in your document, click on the “Insert Citation” button in the toolbar, and search for the reference you want to cite. Once selected, EndNote will automatically insert an in-text citation and add it to your bibliography.

EndNote allows you to choose from a wide range of citation styles such as APA, MLA, Chicago, and more. You can easily switch between different citation styles without having to manually format your citations every time.

Collaboration and Sharing

EndNote offers several features that facilitate collaboration and sharing among researchers. You can share your entire library or specific groups with colleagues or team members working on the same project. This enables seamless collaboration on research papers or collaborative writing projects.

EndNote also allows you to create shared libraries where multiple users can access and edit references simultaneously. This feature is particularly useful for research teams or academic departments working on joint projects.

In addition to collaboration features, EndNote provides options for syncing your library across multiple devices. By syncing your library through EndNote’s cloud storage service or third-party cloud providers like Dropbox, you can access your references from anywhere at any time.

EndNote is a powerful tool that simplifies the process of managing references in academic and research work. With its robust features for organizing references, seamless integration with word processing software, collaboration capabilities, and cloud syncing options, EndNote is an indispensable companion for any researcher or student. By mastering the functionalities of EndNote outlined in this comprehensive guide, you can save time and effort when it comes to organizing and citing references, allowing you to focus on the core aspects of your scholarly work.

This text was generated using a large language model, and select text has been reviewed and moderated for purposes such as readability.


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What Are Endnotes? | Guide with Examples

Published on March 29, 2022 by Jack Caulfield . Revised on June 7, 2022.

Endnotes are notes that appear at the end of your text in a piece of academic writing. They’re indicated in the text with numbers (or occasionally other symbols). Endnotes are used:

  • For citations in certain styles
  • To add extra information that doesn’t fit smoothly into the main text

What Are Endnotes

Table of contents

Endnotes vs. footnotes, how to use endnotes, endnotes in chicago style, endnotes in apa style, endnotes in mla style, how to insert endnotes in word, frequently asked questions about footnotes and endnotes.

Endnotes are sometimes confused with footnotes . Footnotes are also used to provide citations and/or supplementary information, but they appear at the bottom of the relevant page instead of all together at the end.

  • Clutter your writing less than footnotes, since they’re all grouped together instead of spread throughout the text
  • Are less convenient, since the reader has to flip to the back to read the notes
  • Are convenient, since the reader finds the additional information on the same page as the relevant part of the text
  • Can make your text appear messy, especially if there are a lot of them

You should usually choose either footnotes or endnotes and use them consistently. Your instructor may tell you which style of note to use.

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Endnote numbers appear at the end of the clause or sentence the endnote relates to. The number appears after any punctuation, unless the clause ends with an em dash, in which case it appears before it. There’s no space added after the number.

The general consensus now—though there are dissenting voices 1 —is that this experiment was simply too methodologically flawed to produce valid results. 2

Endnotes are numbered consecutively in the order they appear in your text. Each note has a unique number; don’t repeat the same number even if you cite the same source more than once.

In Chicago notes and bibliography style , you use endnotes (or footnotes) for citations. Either kind of note can also be used to add extra information: further examples, commentary on the sources you cite, or more detailed discussion of ideas you mention in the text.

Place your Chicago endnotes at the end of the relevant clause or sentence. A citation endnote provides full information about a source the first time you cite it, and shortened information for any further citations of that source.

                    1. Hanna Pickard, “What Is Personality Disorder?” Philosophy, Psychiatry, & Psychology 18, no. 3 (September 2011): 182. https://doi.org/10.1353/ppp.2011.0040.

          2. Pickard, “What Is Personality Disorder?” 182.

You should still include a full list of your sources in a bibliography after the endnotes, unless you’re writing a very short paper and have been told you don’t need to.

The endnotes page appears just before the bibliography and starts with the title “Notes” written in bold and centered. The notes themselves are formatted as follows:

  • Leave a blank line between endnotes, and single-space the notes themselves.
  • Indent the start of each endnote.
  • Write the note numbers in normal text, not superscript, followed by a period and then a space.

Either endnotes or footnotes may be used in APA Style to provide additional information. They’re not used for citation; for that you’ll use APA in-text citations instead.

APA endnotes are used to provide copyright attributions where necessary. They can also be used, for example, to elaborate on ideas in the text or provide further examples. Do this sparingly, however; APA cautions against adding unnecessary details.

1 Copyright 2022 by Scribbr. Reprinted with permission.

        2 Admittedly, the issue is not as straightforward as this brief summary suggests. See Prakash (2019) for a more in-depth consideration of …

Endnotes appear on a separate page after the reference list , with the heading “Footnotes” (confusingly, APA doesn’t use the term “endnotes”) in bold and centered at the top.

The notes are written as double-spaced indented paragraphs. Start each note with its number, in superscript and followed by a space.

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MLA in-text citations appear in parentheses in the text, but you can use endnotes to avoid cluttering the text if you need a lot of citations in one place.

MLA endnotes may also be used to provide additional information—any necessary clarifications, further examples, or expansions of ideas covered briefly in the text.

      1 See James 35; Lanning 15–25; and Johnson 77.

       2 Other nations, including Italy and France, were undergoing similar political convulsions during the same period.

List your endnotes on a separate page before the Works Cited list, and title them either “Notes” or “Endnotes.” Indent the first line of each endnote, and start the note with the number in superscript followed by a space. Endnotes should be double-spaced.

It’s straightforward to insert endnotes automatically in many word processors, including Microsoft Word. Just follow these steps:

  • Click on the point in the text where you want the endnote number to appear.
  • Open the “References” tab at the top, and click on “Insert Endnote.”
  • Type something in the endnote that appears at the end of your document.

But if you’re following one of the styles covered above, do adjust the formatting to match their requirements and add a heading for the endnotes page.

Footnotes appear at the bottom of the page they refer to. This is convenient for the reader but may cause your text to look cluttered if there are a lot of footnotes.

Endnotes appear all together at the end of the whole text. This may be less convenient for the reader but reduces clutter.

Both footnotes and endnotes are used in the same way: to cite sources or add extra information. You should usually choose one or the other to use in your text, not both.

To insert endnotes in Microsoft Word, follow the steps below:

  • Click on the spot in the text where you want the endnote to show up.
  • In the “References” tab at the top, select “Insert Endnote.”
  • Type whatever text you want into the endnote.

If you need to change the type of notes used in a Word document from footnotes to endnotes , or the other way around, follow these steps:

  • Open the “References” tab, and click the arrow in the bottom-right corner of the “Footnotes” section.
  • In the pop-up window, click on “Convert…”
  • Choose the option you need, and click “OK.”

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example of endnotes in research paper

What Are Endnotes, Why Are They Needed, and How Are They Used?

Experts Give Good Examples for More Effective Writing

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  • Ph.D., Rhetoric and English, University of Georgia
  • M.A., Modern English and American Literature, University of Leicester
  • B.A., English, State University of New York

An "endnote" is a reference, explanation, or comment placed at the end of an article, research paper, chapter, or book. Like footnotes  (which are used in this article), endnotes serve two main purposes in a research paper: (1) They acknowledge the source of a quotation, paraphrase, or summary; and (2) They provide explanatory comments that would interrupt the flow of the main  text .

Endnotes vs. Footnotes

"Your department may specify whether you should use footnotes or endnotes, especially for a thesis or dissertation.

If not, you should generally choose footnotes, which are easier to read. Endnotes force readers to flip to the back to check every citation. On the other hand, choose endnotes when your footnotes are so long or numerous that they take up too much space on the page, making your report unattractive and difficult to read. Also, endnotes better accommodate tables, quoted poetry, and other matter that requires special typography."

(Turabian, Kate L.  A Manual for Writers of Research Papers, Theses, and Dissertations , 7th ed., University of Chicago Press, 2007.)

"Readers of academic and scholarly books usually prefer footnotes to endnotes because the former allows them to skim the notes without losing their place in the text. Popular wisdom, however, says that nonscholarly readers are either reluctant or unwilling to purchase a nonfiction trade book whose feet are hemmed with ribbons of tiny type; thus most trade books place (the shop term is 'bury') the notes containing sources and references at the back of the book ."

(Einsohn, Amy. The Copyeditor's Handbook,  University of California Press, 2006.)

Endnote Conventions

"An author or title mentioned in the text need not be repeated in the footnote  citation , though it is often helpful to do so. In an endnote, however, the author (or at least the author's last name) and title should be repeated, since at least some readers may have forgotten whether the note number was 93 or 94 by the time they find it at the back of a work.

Such frustration can be prevented by the devices illustrated in the examples below."

34. This and the preceding four quotations are all from  Hamlet , act 1, sc. 4. 87. Barbara Wallraff,  Word Court  (New York: Harcourt, 2000), 34. Further citations to this work are given in the text.​

(​ The Chicago Manual of Style,  University of Chicago Press, 2003.)

Endnote Numbering

"Endnotes are numbered consecutively throughout a chapter or article, with each new chapter or section starting over with endnote 1. The notes section at the back is then broken down by chapter or section, with the corresponding endnote numbers listed underneath.

Place endnote numbers within the text in superscript type (small typeset above the line). In the notes section, use the same number to identify the endnote with the number in the text."

(Robbins, Lara M.  Grammar, and Style at Your Fingertips,  Alpha, 2007.)

Sample Endnotes From Pennebaker's 'The Secret Life of Pronouns '

"Chapter 2: Ignoring the Content, Celebrating the Style 19. The drawing is from the Thematic Apperception Test by Henry A. Murray, Card 12F, Cambridge, MA, Harvard University Press. 20. Throughout this book, I include quotations from people who have been in my studies or classes, from text on the Internet, or even from conversations or e-mails from friends or family members. In all cases, all identifying information has been removed or altered. 22. In this book, the terms style, function , and stealth words are used interchangeably. They have many other names as well —  junk words, particles , and closed-class words . Linguists tend to disagree about the precise definitions of each of these overlapping terms."

(Pennebaker, James W.  The Secret Life of Pronouns: What Our Words Say About Us,  Bloomsbury Press, 2011.)

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How to use and write Footnotes and Endnotes in academic papers

Research papers and reports often include adjuncts such as charts and graphs, tables , diagrams, a hierarchy of headings, citations and references etc. Notes – whether footnotes or endnotes – are an important adjunct. They primarily serve the role of supplying additional information , which, if weaved into the main text, may reduce its ease of readability .

Footnotes vs. endnotes

  • Location : By definition, footnotes appear at the foot of a page on which appears the text they support. Endnotes are placed at the end of a paper, a chapter or a book.
  • Space : Footnotes, being located at the bottom of each individual page, are constrained by the amount of space available, whereas endnotes, located right at the end of the text, are afforded much more ample room.
  • Amount of information (and flow) : The above point (space) is a useful distinction that tells readers what to expect. Footnotes offer small bits of information that you can choose to take in without breaking stride. You could take a quick look and return to the main text on the same page. On the other hand, endnotes may sometimes contain sizeable amounts of information, but you do not have to interrupt your reading of the main text. You can choose to read them once you have reached the end of the document.

Footnotes: Examples

As discussed, footnotes comprise small bits of information short enough to take in at a glance. Here are a couple of examples to illustrate the function of footnotes.

  • A text may mention the name of an organisation and use a footnote to explain that the organisation had a different name in the past.
  • A text may mention a certain sum of money in Korean Won, and the corresponding footnotes will indicate the equivalent sum in US dollars. 

Endnotes: Examples

As discussed too, endnotes can comprise much longer parcels of information. Here too are a couple of examples to illustrate the use of endnotes.

  • While you may describe a certain method in your main text, you might use an endnote to outline in more detail some other tangential studies , perhaps from a slightly different field, which used that same method , the results they produced and why this may be of interest.
  • You might cite an important quotation within the main body of your text and then include in a related endnote the full paragraph or section from which that quotation was taken, thus enabling interested readers to explore the wider context and additional insights if they wish. 

Usage in academic papers and digital documents

As an author of an academic paper, you can choose between footnotes and endnotes depending on how much additional information you want to give. Be aware, however, that footnotes and endnotes, especially endnotes, are virtually never used in research papers in the physical and biological sciences . They may sometimes be used in the social sciences and are more commonly seen in the humanities .

In digital documents, the distinction between footnotes and endnotes and their placement is less important, because the additional information can be connected to the main text with hyperlinks .

Writing footnotes and endnotes

  • Superscripts and symbols : Within the main text, both footnotes and endnotes are typically signalled, or announced, using superscript numbers, although, for footnotes, other symbols such as a star or an asterisk (*), a dagger or obelisk (†), a double dagger or diesis (‡), a section mark (§), a pilcrow or blind p (¶), and so on are also employed, usually in that order. Do note that these symbols are never used with endnotes .
  • Numbers : With numbered footnotes, the sequence either begins afresh on each page or can be continued throughout within a paper, a chapter (e.g. if the book has chapters by different contributors) or a book. Endnotes are always numbered and the sequence is always continuous .
  • Heading for endnotes : Note that the heading for endnotes, when all of them are gathered at the end, is simply ‘Notes’ and not ‘Endnotes’.
  • Footnotes for tables : Table titles, column or row headings, or specific cells within a table can all carry footnotes. Those footnotes are explained at the foot of the table in question and not at the foot of a page on which the table appears.

As a scholar, try to familiarise yourself with the idea of notes and their related mechanics as early on in your writing process as possible. These details can seem numerous at first, but once you master them, you will be able to spontaneously incorporate them into your writing.

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Endnotes – Guide to How to Use Them Correctly

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Citing sources properly is required to give acknowledgement to the writers whose work influenced your own, to direct readers to the sources you used, and to demonstrate the scope of your research. Although endnotes are used less frequently in student or academic papers than in-text citations or footnotes, they are extremely prevalent in books, where they contribute to a cleaner page. This article provides a thorough guide to using endnotes correctly with examples.


  • 1 Endnotes – In a Nutshell
  • 2 Definition: Endnotes
  • 3 Endnotes vs. footnotes
  • 4 How to use endnotes
  • 5 How to insert endnotes in Word

Endnotes – In a Nutshell

  • They may be used instead of a list of cited sources, depending on the writing style.
  • Even with the advent of word-processing software, these notes are considerably simpler to include in a document.
  • Unlike footnotes, they don’t take up much space on the page.

Definition: Endnotes

Endnotes are the notes that come at the end of the text in an academic paper. They are denoted in the text by numbers or, occasionally, other symbols.

They are employed:

  • for citations in particular styles
  • to add supplementary material that does not flow with the primary text


Endnotes vs. footnotes

Endnotes and footnotes are commonly mistaken. Footnotes are similarly used to offer citations or additional information; however, they appear at the bottom of each page rather than at the conclusion .

Footnotes or endnotes should typically be used consistently. Your instructor may advise you on the appropriate note format.

How to use endnotes

Endnote numbers are placed after the clause or sentence to which they pertain. Unless an em dash concludes the sentence, the number comes before the punctuation , after which it is displayed. There is no space following the number.

The general agreement now—though there are dissenting voices 1 —is that this experiment was too methodologically faulty to provide valid results. 2

Notes are consecutively numbered in the order that they occur in the text. Each endnote is assigned a unique number; do not reuse a number, even when citing the same source multiple times.

Endnotes in Chicago style

Using footnotes or endnotes for citations is standard practice in Chicago style bibliographies and notes. Either type of note may also provide additional information, such as more examples, commentary on the sources you quote, or a more in-depth analysis of concepts mentioned in the text.

Place Chicago endnotes after the clause or sentence to which they pertain. A citation note provides complete information on a source the first time it is cited, and simplified information for subsequent citations.


You should still provide a complete list of your sources in a bibliography following the notes unless you are writing a brief paper and have been instructed otherwise.

The notes page follows the bibliography and begins with the word “Notes” printed in bold and centered. The basic format of the notes is as follows:

  • A blank line should separate the notes, and the notes should be single-spaced.
  • Start each note with an indentation.
  • Place a period and a space after the note numbers, which should be written in regular text rather than a superscript.

Endnotes in APA style

Additional information can be included in endnotes or footnotes when writing in APA style . They are not used for citations; instead, use APA in-text citations .

When applicable, copyright attributions are included using APA endnotes. In addition, they can be used to build on the text’s themes or provide further instances. However, do so sparingly, as the APA advises against including redundant information.


The notes are placed on a separate page following the reference list, with the heading “Footnotes” (APA does not use the phrase “endnotes”) bold and centered at the top.

The notes are formatted as indented, double-spaced paragraphs. Each note should begin with its number in superscript, followed by a space.

Endnotes in MLA style

Endnotes can be used instead of MLA in-text citations if you must include many references in a single paragraph.

MLA notes may also convey more information, including clarifications, further illustrations, or elaboration of concepts briefly discussed in the text.


They should appear on a separate page before the Works Cited list and be titled “Notes” or “Endnotes.” Each endnote’s first line should be indented, and the number should be superscripted, followed by a space. They must use double spacing.

How to insert endnotes in Word

Many word processors, such as Microsoft Word, make it simple to insert notes automatically. Follow the steps below:

  • Click the point within the text where the note number should appear.
  • Click “Insert Endnote” after opening the “References” tab at the top.
  • Input text in the note that appears at the end of your manuscript.

However, if you use one of the above styles, you must alter the formatting to meet their criteria and include a heading for the notes page.


What should I write in an endnote?

Footnotes and endnotes perform the same function. These are brief clarifications, additions, or copyright information. You can improve the reader’s experience by adding an endnote example outside the text.

How do I make the endnote numbers?

Don’t enter the numbers manually! The “Insert Citation” or “Insert Reference” function in your word processing software (such as MS Word) will add the note numbers and make room for the note automatically. This function’s name differs slightly between programs.

How is an endnote supposed to look?

A five-space indentation marks the first line of each endnote, and subsequent lines are flush to the left margin. Each endnote number should be preceded by a period and space, with the right note following the space.

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Footnotes and Endnotes

How to create footnotes or endnotes in chicago style.

  • How do I create a footnote or endnote?
  • How is a footnote different from an endnote?
  • What do I include in the footnote or endnote?

How do I Create a Footnote or Endnote?

Using footnotes or endnotes involves placing a superscript number at the end of a sentence with information (paraphrase, quotation or data) that you wish to cite. The superscript numbers should generally be placed at the end of the sentence to which they refer. They should be placed after any punctuation marks except for the dash.

Footnotes/endnotes begin with 1 and are numbered consecutively throughout the entire essay. You can use MS Word or other software to create footnotes and endnotes.

How is a Footnote different from an Endnote?

 A superscript number refers to a footnote or endnote which contains all of the publishing information and the page number for the information referenced.

  • Footnotes appear on the bottom of the page that contains the sentence to which it refers.
  • Endnotes are listed at the end of the paper on separate pages. On the top of the first page, the title “Notes” is centered one inch from the top of the page. Endnote pages are placed before the bibliography.

Many professors prefer footnotes to endnotes. Check with your professors to see which style they prefer.

What do I Include in the Footnote or Endnote?

The format for a footnote or endnote varies depending on whether it refers to a book, article, or online source. There are some key characteristics common to all footnotes and endnotes:

  • The footnote/endnote begins with the same superscript number as the one that appears in the paper and is followed by a period.
  • Footnotes/endnotes always include a specific page number or numbers where the cited information can be found.
  • The first footnote/endnote to a source provides the full publishing information.

For example:

1. Carolyn Kay,  Art and the German Bourgeoisie:  Alfred Lichtwark and Modern Painting in Hamburg, 1886-1914  (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2002), 100.

Subsequent footnote/endnotes for the same source are shortened to provide only the author’s last name, short title, and page number. For example:

2. Kay,  Art and the German Bourgeoisie , 51.

3. Kay, Art and the German Bourgeoisie, 87.

Note that The Chicago Manual of Style (17th ed.) no longer recommends the use of "ibid." for footnote/endnotes that cite the same source as the note immediately preceding it. The shortened citation shown above (author surname, shortened title, page number) is preferred.

Citing different types of sources

The information you include in a footnote varies based on the type of source you cite; navigate to the following pages to learn more:

  • Periodicals
  • Sections of Books
  • Digital Media
  • Other Sources
  • Primary Sources
  • Citing a source (that you have not read) that is Cited in Another Source

Key Elements to Notice

  • In footnotes, information is separated by commas, while in the bibliography, it is separated by periods.
  • In footnotes, the author's first name is listed first, while in the bibliography, the author's last name is listed first.
  • The titles of books and journals are put in italics.
  • The titles of articles are put in quotation marks.
  • All key words in titles are capitalized.

A Helpful Guide to Writing Endnotes

Matt Ellis

Endnotes are small notations at the end of a chapter, academic paper, article, or book that provide additional information or cite the source of a passage from a text. An endnote is typically marked by a superscript number ( 1 ) that corresponds to the matching endnote in the “Notes” section or page at the end of a piece of writing. 

However, endnotes do more than just cite sources. They’re great for providing supplemental commentary that doesn’t fit with the text, especially longer passages that are too big for footnotes. Below, we explain how to use endnotes in Chicago style and MLA format, but first let’s answer the question “What is an endnote?”

What are endnotes?

Endnotes work like footnotes : A superscript number appears in the text and corresponds to a matching note elsewhere. In the case of endnotes, the actual notes appear on a separate page, usually titled “Notes,” at the end of a chapter, academic paper, article, or book. This “Notes” page does not replace the bibliography or works cited page but rather supports it. 

The appeal of using endnotes (and footnotes) over in-text citations is that you can include more information. In-text citations tell only the bare minimum about the source, such as the author’s last name or year of publication. On the other hand, endnotes and footnotes can be longer, with more details, because they are situated outside of the main text. 

When used for citing sources they’re a requirement, especially if your writing is having trouble passing a plagiarism checker . The major style guides all have their own rules for formatting such notes—with the exception of the APA format , which calls exclusively for footnotes. 

How to create endnotes online

If you’re unfamiliar with how to use endnotes, sometimes it can be quicker to just use a citation generator rather than writing citations yourself. 

Our citation generator lets you input all the details of a source and then creates your citation automatically, depending on which style guide you choose. All you have to do is click the copy button and paste the ready-made citation into your paper. 

If your source is a website, you can also use our auto-citations feature. Using Grammarly for Windows or Mac, visit one of the thousands of compatible websites, such as Wikipedia, Frontiers, PLOS One, ScienceDirect, SAGE Journals, PubMed, Elsevier, DOAJ, arXiv, and Springer, and click the “Get citation” button in the bottom-left corner of the screen. You’ll receive both full and in-text citations of the page for whatever style guide you’re using. 

Endnotes vs. footnotes: What’s the difference?

Endnotes and footnotes are often mixed up because they’re so closely related. Both use superscript numbers within the text that correspond to notes elsewhere. Both typically cover the same subject matter, like source citations or commentary. Generally, the main difference is where the notes are located: 

  • Endnotes are placed in a separate section or page after the work, typically at the end of a chapter, academic paper, article, or book. 
  • Footnotes are placed at the bottom of the page containing the passage they refer to.

In most cases, endnotes and footnotes are interchangeable, and they can occasionally be used together. If you have to choose between endnotes and footnotes, consider endnotes if you plan on writing lengthy notes . Endnotes accommodate longer notes well because they’re written on a separate page at the end of a work. Lengthy footnotes can be cumbersome because they take up too much room on a page. 

Learn to use endnotes: Chicago style

The Chicago style is known for using both endnotes and footnotes. It offers two different options for citations: the notes-bibliography system, which uses either endnotes or footnotes, and the author-date system, which uses in-text citations. 

If you’re using the notes-bibliography system, you can choose whether to use endnotes or footnotes. See the previous section if you’re having trouble deciding. 

Endnotes are placed on their own page or section titled “Notes” after a piece of academic writing , whether a chapter, paper, or book. This “Notes” page comes after any appendixes but before the bibliography. 

Endnote citations follow the same format as all Chicago citations. If the source is a book, the format should look like this: 

#. Author’s first name and last name. Full Title of Work (City of publication: Publisher name, year of publication), page numbers. 

The “#” refers to the number of the endnote. Keep in mind that, in endnotes, the number is written in normal type followed by a period. It is not in superscript like it is within the text. 

Because endnotes are separated from the passage they relate to, it’s best to incorporate all the details so the readers don’t have to go back and forth. This means that, even if your notes are written as full sentences, you still need to include every detail in the endnote’s full citation. 

On the “Notes” page, simply list each endnote in the order they appear. If your text is divided into chapters, then list the notes by chapter, using the chapter number, title, or both as a subheading. 

In the text, it’s best to place the number marker at the end of a sentence, after the period. Otherwise, you can place them at the end of a statement or phrase within a sentence, but again it comes after punctuation like a comma or semicolon. The only exception is the dash: The endnote number should come before a dash. 

Even with footnotes or endnotes, the Chicago style still requires a separate bibliography with full citations for all the sources used. The title “Bibliography” is preferred, but “Works Cited” or “Literature Cited” is still acceptable. 

Chicago endnote examples

“Frankl recalls the physical trials of his imprisonment with the objective sterility of an academic. 1 It was this torment that led him to his conclusion: ‘suffering ceases to be suffering at the moment it finds a meaning.’” 2

On “Notes” page:

  • Specifically, Frankl mentions having to work in torn shoes and not being adequately protected from the weather, even in extreme cold or storms. 
  • Viktor Frankl, Man’s Search for Meaning (Boston: Beacon Press, 2006), 73. 

Learn to use endnotes: MLA style

The MLA format is a little more relaxed about the rules for endnotes compared to the Chicago style. Although the MLA prefers in-text citations for sources, endnotes can still be used for: 

  • multiple sources in the same passage, which would be too distracting in-text
  • identifying which edition or translation is used if there are multiple versions of a work
  • content notes for supplemental information that didn’t fit into the page text 

Endnotes are given a separate section at the end of a chapter, paper, or book, titled either “Notes” or “Endnotes.” Unlike the Chicago style, MLA uses superscript numbers at the beginning of each endnote. If the endnote is written in sentence style, place any relevant page numbers in parentheses as you would for an in-text citation. 

MLA endnote examples

“Free from desire, you realize the mystery.” 1

“Caught in desire, you see only the manifestations.” 2

1 This passage is alternatively translated as “the secret waits for the insight of eyes unclouded by longing.” 

2 Citations of Tao Te Ching use Stephen Mitchell’s translation unless otherwise noted. 

Endnote FAQs

Endnotes are small notations at the end of a chapter, academic paper, article, or book that provide additional information or cite the source of a passage from a text. Endnotes are written on a separate page at the end of a work, unlike footnotes, which come at the bottom of a page. 

What is included in endnotes?

Endnotes can serve a variety of purposes: citing sources, adding extra information, directing readers to other areas, etc. Each style guide has its own formatting requirements, but typically they follow the regular citation guidelines of the style guide. 

What’s the difference between endnotes and footnotes?

Endnotes and footnotes are very similar in that they both provide supplemental information, including citations, outside of the main text. The difference is where they appear: Endnotes are placed at the end of a work on a separate page, while footnotes are placed at the bottom of the page containing the passage they refer to.

example of endnotes in research paper

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Endnote Note citing a particular source or making a brief explanatory comment placed at the end of a research paper and arranged sequentially in relation to where the reference appears in the paper.

Footnote Note citing a particular source or making a brief explanatory comment placed at the bottom of a page corresponding to the item cited in the corresponding text above.

Fiske, Robert Hartwell. To the Point: A Dictionary of Concise Writing . New York: W.W. Norton and Company, 2014.

Structure and Writing Style

Advantages of Using Endnotes

  • Endnotes are less distracting to the reader and allows the narrative to flow better.
  • Endnotes don't clutter up the page.
  • As a separate section of a research paper, endnotes allow the reader to read and contemplate all the notes at once.

Disadvantages of Using Endnotes

  • If you want to look at the text of a particular endnote, you have to flip to the end of the research paper to find the information.
  • Depending on how they are created [i.e., continuous numbering or numbers that start over for each chapter], you may have to remember the chapter number as well as the endnote number in order to find the correct one.
  • Endnotes may carry a negative connotation much like the proverbial "fine print" or hidden disclaimers in advertising. A reader may believe you are trying to hide something by burying it in a hard-to-find endnote.

Advantages of Using Footnotes

  • Readers interested in identifying the source or note can quickly glance down the page to find what they are looking for.
  • It allows the reader to immediately link the footnote to the subject of the text without having to take the time to find the note at the back of the paper.
  • Footnotes are automatically included when printing off specific pages.

Disadvantages of Using Footnotes

  • Footnotes can clutter up the page and, thus, negatively impact the overall look of the page.
  • If there are multiple columns, charts, or tables below only a small segment of text that includes a footnote, then you must decide where the footnotes should appear.
  • If the footnotes are lengthy, there's a risk they could dominate the page, although this issue is considered acceptable in legal scholarship.
  • Adding lengthy footnotes after the paper has been completed can alter the page where other sources are located [i.e., a long footnote can push text to the next page].
  • It is more difficult learning how to insert footnotes using your word processing program than simply adding endnotes at the end of your paper.

Things to keep in mind when considering using either endnotes or footnotes in your research paper :

1.    Footnotes are numbered consecutively throughout a research paper, except for those notes accompanying special material (e.g., figures, tables, charts, etc.). Numbering of footnotes are "superscript"--Arabic numbers typed slightly above the line of text. Do not include periods, parentheses, or slashes. They can follow all punctuation marks except dashes. In general, to avoid interrupting the continuity of the text, footnote numbers are placed at the end of the sentence, clause, or phrase containing the quoted or paraphrased material. 2.    Depending on the writing style used in your class, endnotes may take the place of a list of resources cited in your paper or they may represent non-bibliographic items, such as comments or observations, followed by a separate list of references to the sources you cited and arranged alphabetically by the author's last name. If you are unsure about how to use endnotes, consult with your professor. 3.    In general, the use of footnotes in most academic writing is now considered a bit outdated and has been replaced by endnotes, which are much easier to place in your paper, even with the advent of word processing programs. However, some disciplines, such as law and history, still predominantly utilize footnotes. Consult with your professor about which form to use and always remember that, whichever style of citation you choose, apply it consistently throughout your paper.

NOTE:   Always think critically about the information you place in a footnote or endnote. Ask yourself, is this supplementary or tangential information that would otherwise disrupt the narrative flow of the text or is this essential information that I should integrate into the main text? If you are not sure, it's better to work it into the text. Too many notes implies a disorganized paper.

Cermak, Bonni and Jennifer Troxell. A Guide to Footnotes and Endnotes for NASA History Authors . NASA History Program. History Division; Hale, Ali. Should You Use Footnotes or Endnotes? DailyWritingTips.com; Tables, Appendices, Footnotes and Endnotes. The Writing Lab and The OWL. Purdue University; Lunsford, Andrea A. and Robert Connors. The St. Martin's Handbook . New York: St. Martin's Press, 1989; Saller, Carol. “Endnotes or Footnotes? Some Considerations.” The Chronicle of Higher Education 58 (January 6, 2012): http://chronicle.com/blogs/linguafranca/2012/01/06/endnotes-or-footnotes-some-considerations/.

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