Post-It notes next to a keyboard

Note Formatting in Microsoft Word

By Laura Kiernan

The series Microsoft Word and MLA Style shows writers how to use Word to make their essays conform to MLA style guidelines. This post explains how to format notes in Microsoft Word.

In MLA style, content or bibliographic notes can be styled as footnotes or endnotes. The following directions for adding footnotes and endnotes in Microsoft Word should work for both PCs and Macs, though newer or older versions of Word may have differing layouts or features. 

Endnotes

To add an endnote, you can either use the built-in endnote feature in Word or manually label the notes. Using the built-in feature may be the best option, but students should check with their instructors to see which styling is preferred.

To use the built-in endnote feature in Word, click in the spot where you want to add the note. Then click the References tab at the top of page. In the Footnotes section at the top, click Insert Endnote, and you will be prompted to enter the text for the endnote. To add subsequent notes, just click Insert Endnote again when you want the superscript number to appear. The endnote text should be double-spaced and the same size font as the rest of your paper, so you may need to adjust the size and spacing of that text.

If you want to manually label your endnotes, you first need to label your running text with a superscript number that corresponds to the endnote in your paper, so click in the spot where you want to add the superscript number. Click the Home tab at the top of the page, and in the “Font” section at the top of the page, there is a button labeled “x2” (or possibly “A2” if you’re using the Mac version of Word). Click that button to make your text superscript, and then type the number that you want to include. (Alternatively, if you’re on a PC, you can highlight the number you want to make superscript and use the shortcut Ctrl+Shift+Plus Sign to make it superscript. If you’re on a Mac, you can use the shortcut Control+Shift+Command+Plus Sign.)

Then label the corresponding endnote, which should appear in a section labeled “Notes” at the end of your paper but before your works-cited list, with the correct number. 

Footnotes

To add a footnote, click in the spot where you want to add the note. Then click the References tab at the top of page. In the Footnotes section, click Insert Footnote. The corresponding footnote text should be the same size font as the rest of your paper, and it should also be double-spaced, so you may need to change the formatting of the footnote using the font settings.

To learn more about notes and MLA style, read our post “Using Notes in MLA Style.”

Published 26 June 2020

1 comment on “Note Formatting in Microsoft Word

  1. The question I keep seeing is help making Word citations and bibliography consistent with MLA8. Word still only support MLA7.

    It would be really helpful if the MLA could provide link to a template in MLA8 format that users could base their documents on.

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