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.
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:
- 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.
How to Format Your Research Paper
- APA 7 Paper Format
- MLA Paper Format
- Chicago Paper Format
How to Create Footnotes
- Hanging Indents
- Ask a Librarian
What Are They
Footnotes are short numbered notes that are placed at the bottom of the page in an essay or article. They are used for a variety of reasons including, citing materials, providing notes on a source or topic, and to acknowledge copyright status.
Although you will find footnotes in many journal articles, they are not typically required in APA or MLA formatted essays. They are most heavily used when applying the CMOS style.
For information on footnotes in the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association see section 2.13 "Footnotes.". For information on using footnotes with MLA see the " Using Notes in MLA Style " article from the MLA Style Center . For information on footnotes in The Chicago Manual of Style see Chapter 14 "Notes and Bibliography."
Using Google Docs:
- Cómo incorporar notas al calce en Google Docs Vea éste video en español.
Using Microsoft Word:
- Cómo incorporar notas al calce en Microsoft Word Vea éste video en español.
- << Previous: Chicago Paper Format
- Next: Hanging Indents >>
- Last Updated: Nov 15, 2023 2:43 PM
- URL: https://necc.mass.libguides.com/formatting
To cite this LibGuide use the following templates:
APA : Northern Essex Community College Library. (Date updated). Title of page . Title of LibGuide. URL
MLA : Northern Essex Community College Library. "Title of Page." Title of LibGuide, Date updated, URL.
- Write Paper
- Social Anxiety
- Research Paper >
How to Write Footnotes
Information on how to write footnotes and endnotes. Footnotes, a type of citation format, are most often used for history and philosophy papers. As such, scientists rarely encounter it, but it is still useful to know how to follow the practice.
This article is a part of the guide:
- Outline Examples
- Example of a Paper
- Write a Hypothesis
Browse Full Outline
- 1 Write a Research Paper
- 2 Writing a Paper
- 3.1 Write an Outline
- 3.2 Outline Examples
- 4.1 Thesis Statement
- 4.2 Write a Hypothesis
- 5.2 Abstract
- 5.3 Introduction
- 5.4 Methods
- 5.5 Results
- 5.6 Discussion
- 5.7 Conclusion
- 5.8 Bibliography
- 6.1 Table of Contents
- 6.2 Acknowledgements
- 6.3 Appendix
- 7.1 In Text Citations
- 7.2 Footnotes
- 7.3.1 Floating Blocks
- 7.4 Example of a Paper
- 7.5 Example of a Paper 2
- 7.6.1 Citations
- 7.7.1 Writing Style
- 7.7.2 Citations
- 8.1.1 Sham Peer Review
- 8.1.2 Advantages
- 8.1.3 Disadvantages
- 8.2 Publication Bias
- 8.3.1 Journal Rejection
- 9.1 Article Writing
- 9.2 Ideas for Topics
Many biology journals, for example, prefer footnotes because they allow annotation of the in-text citation on the same page.
Whilst footnotes are a little more cumbersome than the 'author/date' system, they are useful where sources require elaboration and short explanatory notes.
What is a Footnote
The footnote takes the form of a superscripted number, just after a paraphrased piece of information. Subsequently, a cross-reference to this number is inserted at the bottom of the same page.
In fact, for dissertations and theses, many writers use footnotes to keep track of their citations , adding a short note of what exactly each one adds to the paper.
Once the paper is complete, the writer converts them to endnotes at the end or every chapter, or even removes them all together, and uses a standard APA or MLA bibliography instead.
Automatically Inserting Footnotes
The reason that footnotes are still popular in some fields is that most word processing programs now include a function that makes it very easy to include footnotes in any paper.
In Microsoft Word, clicking Insert > Reference > Footnote allows you to insert footnotes automatically, and automatically numbers them. This function is so useful, that even if you cut and paste, and swap information around, it automatically adjusts the footnotes.
This is why it is an excellent resource for keeping track of your sources during the course of a research paper .
How to Write Footnotes - Protocols
If you are using footnotes, the common convention is to insert a full citation, including author, year and the title of the book, followed by the page number. Afterwards, the surname of the author and the page number is sufficient.
Older journals often use the word ibid, to show that a footnote uses the same source as the previous one, but this has become much rarer.
- Psychology 101
- Flags and Countries
- Capitals and Countries
Martyn Shuttleworth (Nov 21, 2009). How to Write Footnotes. Retrieved Nov 16, 2023 from Explorable.com: https://explorable.com/how-to-write-footnotes
You Are Allowed To Copy The Text
The text in this article is licensed under the Creative Commons-License Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0) .
This means you're free to copy, share and adapt any parts (or all) of the text in the article, as long as you give appropriate credit and provide a link/reference to this page.
That is it. You don't need our permission to copy the article; just include a link/reference back to this page. You can use it freely (with some kind of link), and we're also okay with people reprinting in publications like books, blogs, newsletters, course-material, papers, wikipedia and presentations (with clear attribution).
Want to stay up to date? Follow us!
Check out the official book.
Learn how to construct, style and format an Academic paper and take your skills to the next level.
(also available as ebook )
Save this course for later
Don't have time for it all now? No problem, save it as a course and come back to it later.
- Subscribe to our RSS Feed
- Like us on Facebook
- Follow us on Twitter
- Oskar Blakstad Blog
- Oskar Blakstad on Twitter
Have a language expert improve your writing
Run a free plagiarism check in 10 minutes, generate accurate citations for free.
- Knowledge Base
- Citing sources
What Are Footnotes? | Guide with Word Instructions
Published on March 28, 2022 by Jack Caulfield . Revised on June 7, 2022.
Footnotes are notes placed at the bottom of the page in a piece of academic writing and indicated in the text with superscript numbers (or sometimes letters or other symbols). You can insert footnotes automatically in Word or Google Docs . They’re used to provide:
- Citations in certain styles
- Additional information that would disrupt the flow of the main text
Table of contents
How to insert footnotes in word and google docs, numbering and placement of footnotes, footnotes in chicago style, footnotes in apa style, footnotes in mla style, frequently asked questions about footnotes and endnotes.
If you’re writing in Microsoft Word or in Google Docs, it’s easy to insert footnotes automatically using the built-in functionality of the software.
Most style guidelines are flexible enough that these automatically inserted footnotes meet their requirements, so that you don’t have to worry about the specifics of formatting.
Inserting footnotes in Word
It’s straightforward to insert footnotes in Word. Just follow these steps:
- Click on the point in the text where you want the footnote number to appear.
- Select the “References” tab at the top, and then select “Insert Footnote.”
- Type whatever text you want into the footnote that appears.
Inserting footnotes in Google Docs
You can also easily add footnotes in Google Docs. Follow the steps below:
- Click on the point in the text where you want to add a footnote.
- At the top, click on “Insert” and then on “Footnote” in the drop-down menu.
- Type the text you want into the footnote.
Scribbr Citation Checker New
The AI-powered Citation Checker helps you avoid common mistakes such as:
- Missing commas and periods
- Incorrect usage of “et al.”
- Ampersands (&) in narrative citations
- Missing reference entries
Footnotes should be numbered consecutively in the order they appear throughout your paper. Each note should have a unique number; don’t use the same number again even if you cite the same source repeatedly.
Footnote numbers are usually placed at the end of the relevant clause or sentence. The number appears after any punctuation, except when the clause ends with an em dash , in which case the number appears before it. Don’t add a space before the number.
Chicago style uses footnotes for citations (unless you’re following Chicago author-date ). Footnotes can also be used to add extra information such as commentary on the source cited, or elaborations on a point you touched on in the main text.
In Chicago footnotes , you place a footnote at the end of the clause or sentence that needs a citation. The footnote contains full information about each source the first time you cite it, and shortened information for subsequent citations of the same source.
1. Tegan George and Jack Caulfield, “Academic Integrity vs. Academic Dishonesty,” March 10, 2022, https://www.scribbr.com/plagiarism/academic-dishonesty/.
2. George and Caulfield, “Academic Integrity.”
Full information about all your sources is usually included in a bibliography at the end, except in very short papers, where footnote citations may be used alone if your institution allows it.
Chicago recommends using your word processor’s built-in footnote function to add footnotes, but a couple of formatting details may need to be changed manually:
- Add an indent at the start of each footnote (before the number).
- Write the number at the start of the note in normal text (not superscript), followed by a period and then a space.
- Leave one blank line between footnotes, and make sure footnotes are single-spaced.
APA footnotes are used only for providing extra information, since APA in-text citations appear in parentheses instead.
You can use them to provide supplemental information such as additional examples or clarifications; do this sparingly, as APA warns against including nonessential information. Footnotes are also used to provide copyright attribution when it’s needed.
1 From What Parents Can Expect in Behavior Therapy , by Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2017 (https://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/adhd/infographics/what-parents-expect.html). In the public domain.
2 A second round of testing was initially planned, but this idea was abandoned due to …
APA recommends using your word processing software to automatically insert footnotes, but add an indent at the start of each footnote if this isn’t done automatically. The footnote begins with the superscript footnote number followed by a space.
Here's why students love Scribbr's proofreading services
Discover proofreading & editing
MLA footnotes are used to provide supplemental information such as extra examples, clarifications of citation practice, or elaborations on ideas.
MLA in-text citations appear in parentheses, not in notes, but where a lot of citations are needed at once, they can be placed in a footnote to avoid cluttering the text.
1 Citations of marginalia refer to George’s edition and include page numbers. Citations of the poem refer to Davis’s edition and include line numbers.
2 This remains a controversial point. Researchers in the field have debated this issue since …
3 See Crittenden 5–11; Kent 17–34; Smith 44–50; and Jones 36.
MLA recommends using your word processor to automatically insert footnotes, styling the number at the start of the citation in superscript, followed by a space. An indent should also be added at the start of the footnote (before the number).
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.
Footnotes are notes indicated in your text with numbers and placed at the bottom of the page. They’re used to provide:
- Citations (e.g., in Chicago notes and bibliography )
Be sparing in your use of footnotes (other than citation footnotes), and consider whether the information you’re adding is relevant for the reader.
To insert a footnote automatically in a Word document:
- Click on the point in the text where the footnote should appear
- Select the “References” tab at the top and then click on “Insert Footnote”
- Type the text you want into the footnote that appears at the bottom of the page
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.”
Cite this Scribbr article
If you want to cite this source, you can copy and paste the citation or click the “Cite this Scribbr article” button to automatically add the citation to our free Citation Generator.
Caulfield, J. (2022, June 07). What Are Footnotes? | Guide with Word Instructions. Scribbr. Retrieved November 14, 2023, from https://www.scribbr.com/citing-sources/what-are-footnotes/
Is this article helpful?
Other students also liked, citation styles guide | examples for all major styles, how to avoid plagiarism | tips on citing sources, the basics of in-text citation | apa & mla examples, what is your plagiarism score.
Headnotes or Footnotes? A Quick Guide on Organizing Your Research Paper
In academic writing, footnotes, endnotes, and headnotes provide additional information on a particular topic. They are placed in the document as a supplement to the main text. These notes can be inserted into the document as a footer or at the end of a chapter.
The notes should be kept as brief as possible. The objective is to provide more information without distracting the reader. We discuss the different types of notes, how to use them, and their pros and cons.
What Are They and Why Use Them?
A footnote is a reference placed at the bottom of a page or footer. They are referenced in the text in the same way as a citation i.e. the referenced text is followed by a superscript numeral ( 1 ), which corresponds to the numbered footnote at the bottom of the page. When writing your research paper , you would use a footnote for two major reasons:
- To cite sources of facts or quotations
- Provide additional information
The two types of footnotes are:
- Content : Supplements or simplifies substantive information; not detailed.
- Copyright permission : Cites quoted text and any reprinted materials used in the text.
The format of footnotes is fairly standard (see below for specific rules) and is the same as that for references as follows:
Adrian Johns. The Nature of the Book: Print and Knowledge in the Making (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1998), 623.
When citing the same reference again, the footnote can be shortened as follows:
Johns. Nature of the Book , 384–85.
Some older journals use “ ibid ” instead of a shortened version of the reference. Ibid is short for the Latin “ ibidem” , which means “in the same place.” This format was previously used in most printed text but rarely used now.
Endnotes are much the same as footnotes except that they are placed at the end your research paper instead of at the bottom of a page. In books, they can be placed after each chapter or at the end of the book.
In many cases, the book publisher decides the best placement. Endnotes, as footnotes, are numerically noted in superscript. The format is the same as that for footnotes.
Headnotes are used as introductions in legal documents or as summaries of the text that follows them. In academic writing, headnotes are explanatory notes included with tables and figures. They are placed below the table itself or just below the figure title and typed in a font size that is smaller than the main text (e.g., 8- or 10-point font). Headnotes are used to define acronyms used, units of measure, significance, etc. Because tables and figures should be able to “stand alone” without the main text, headnotes should always be used.
Format for Footnotes, Endnotes, and Headnotes
Although the format for footnotes and endnotes is almost similar, there are specific rules depending on the journal where the paper is submitted. Most scientific journals use specific reference formats; however, some style guides do not allow footnotes and endnotes.
For example, the Modern Language Association (MLA), which deals specifically with disciplines in the humanities allows limited use of footnotes. These are to provide the reader with other sources for more information on the subject covered. The MLA style for these notes is shown in the example below and the number corresponds to the superscript number noted in the referenced text:
See [name of author], especially chapters 3 and 4, for an insightful analysis of this trend.
MLA suggests using “content” footnotes when necessary to avoid interrupting the text with an explanation or other details.
In contrast, the American Psychological Association (APA), the style for the behavioral and social sciences, does not usually allow footnotes. Your particular journal guidelines will provide that information.
A third style guide, the American Medical Association (AMA) , is used mostly with papers in the biological and medical sciences. AMA also discourages the use of footnotes but allows them on the title page. The information on the title page would include the authors’ names and affiliations, corresponding author, members of affiliated groups, etc.
Pros and Cons
Scientific papers do not usually include footnotes. Endnotes may be used sometimes, but sparingly. Other disciplines, such as law and history, still use them regularly . There are pros and cons to each.
The advantages of using footnotes are that they provide the reader with a fast reference and link to additional information. They are easy to insert and will automatically print. The advantage of using endnotes instead of footnotes is that their placement is less distracting. They also provide the reader with an easy reference list in one place.
According to the Chicago Manual of Style (CMOS), endnotes are preferred to footnotes simply because they don’t clutter up a page. CMOS does caution that it can seem disconcerting to a reader to see pages of notes at the end of a chapter or book, so use them sparingly.
Again, another disadvantage to footnotes is that they tend to interrupt the flow of the text. The reader might feel that he must stop and look at the note before moving on, which can be very distracting. Some disadvantages to endnotes are that the reader must turn to the end of the text or chapter to find the additional information. In books with several chapters, this can be tedious, especially if the endnotes are renumbered in each chapter.
As for headnotes, there are really no drawbacks to using them in tables and figures. They offer the reader helpful information that is readily available as they read the data or interpret a figure.
The style to which you conform when writing your paper will ultimately depend on the journal’s guidelines. Pay careful attention to its protocols for citations and references and whether it will allow footnotes and endnotes. If allowed, be mindful of the disadvantages of both and consider either greatly limiting them or eliminating them altogether.
Rate this article Cancel Reply
Your email address will not be published.
Enago Academy's Most Popular
- Manuscripts & Grants
- Reporting Research
- Trending Now
Can AI Tools Prepare a Research Manuscript From Scratch? — A comprehensive guide
As technology continues to advance, the question of whether artificial intelligence (AI) tools can prepare…
- Manuscript Preparation
- Publishing Research
How to Choose Best Research Methodology for Your Study
Successful research conduction requires proper planning and execution. While there are multiple reasons and aspects…
- Journal Guidelines
How to Use CSE Style While Drafting Scientific Manuscripts
What is CSE Style Guide? CSE stands for Council of Science Editors. Originated in the…
How to Create Publication-ready Manuscripts Using AIP Style Guide
What is AIP Style Guide? The AIP style guide refers to a specific citation format…
What Are the Unique Characteristics of the AMA Style Guide?
What is the AMA Format? The American Medical Association (AMA) was founded in 1847 to…
Sign-up to read more
Subscribe for free to get unrestricted access to all our resources on research writing and academic publishing including:
- 2000+ blog articles
- 50+ Webinars
- 10+ Expert podcasts
- 50+ Infographics
- 10+ Checklists
- Research Guides
We hate spam too. We promise to protect your privacy and never spam you.
I am looking for Editing/ Proofreading services for my manuscript Tentative date of next journal submission:
What support would you need for successful conference participation?
How to Write Footnotes: Rules and Examples
Footnotes are small notations at the bottom of a page that provide additional information or cite the source of a passage in the page’s text. A footnote is marked within the text by a superscript icon, usually an asterisk (*) or number (¹ ), which corresponds to the matching footnote at the bottom of the page.
Aside from offering supplemental details or commentary, footnotes are essential for citing sources in academic papers—especially in the Chicago style, but also less frequently in MLA and APA formats. Below, we explain how to write footnotes for each style, including citation footnotes, but first, let’s explore this question: “What is a footnote?”
Give your writing extra polish Grammarly helps you communicate confidently Write with Grammarly
What are footnotes?
If you’ve seen a small number or asterisk written near the top of a line in text, chances are it was a footnote. These superscript figures in text correspond to a small note at the bottom of the page, known as a footnote.
In most written works, footnotes provide two main services in a text:
- Sharing additional information or personal commentary about a passage in the text.
- Displaying a source citation (depending on the style guide).
Footnotes are also used for displaying legal disclaimers or copyright information, especially in advertisements.
The information in footnotes is always supplemental, or “extra.” That means if you have something necessary to say in your writing, put it in the text, not in a footnote.
How to write a footnote
Within the text, place a footnote signal directly after the passage that the footnote relates to. Footnote signals should come after punctuation and at the end of sentences when possible. The only exception is the dash (—), in which case the footnote signal comes before, not after.
At the bottom of the page, that same signal is written, along with the footnote. Footnotes are stacked at the bottom of the page in the order their corresponding signals appear in the text.
If footnotes are rare or inconsistent, they are usually denoted by an asterisk (*) or less commonly the dagger (†). However, if footnotes are frequent, as with academic writing , then sequential numbers are used. If numbered footnotes are excessive, some authors will reset the numbering to one at the beginning of each chapter.
The content of footnotes varies depending on the style guide and what the author wants to say. While we explain how to write footnotes in each style below, sometimes it’s easier to use a citation generator or other citation tools .
For example, our Grammarly auto-citations feature creates a correct citation automatically from a website source. Using our app, simply visit a compatible website—Wikipedia, Frontiers, PLOS One, ScienceDirect, SAGE Journals, PubMed, and more—and click on the “Get Citation” button in the bottom-right corner of the screen. Grammarly will create an accurate citation for the page that’s ready to be used.
What’s the difference between footnotes and endnotes?
Footnotes and endnotes are closely related, so it’s understandable to get them confused. Both provide supplemental information that otherwise doesn’t fit in the text, which sometimes includes citations. The main difference between footnotes and endnotes is where they appear:
- Footnotes appear at the bottom of the page with the passage they relate to.
- Endnotes appear at the end of a chapter or piece of writing, often on a separate page titled “Notes.”
Regardless of their position, both footnotes and endnotes use the same system of superscript symbols placed in the text that correspond to the actual note elsewhere.
Of all the style guides, the Chicago format relies on footnotes the most. The Chicago style has two systems for source citation: the notes-bibliography system and the author-date system. The notes-bibliography system, in which the author can choose between footnotes and endnotes, is preferred for topics in the humanities, such as history and literature.
Within the notes-bibliography system, there are two types of footnotes:
- #. Author’s last name, Abbreviated Title of Work , page numbers.
- #. Author’s first name and last name. Full Title of Work (City of publication: Publisher name, year of publication), page numbers.
Note that, in the footnote, the number is written normally followed by a period. It is not in superscript.
You can search our blog for details on how to cite specific types of sources, such as books , websites , or images .
Chicago footnote examples
“Frankl recalls the physical trials of his imprisonment, such as working in torn shoes or lacking protection from the weather.¹ It was this torment that led him to his conclusion: ‘suffering ceases to be suffering at the moment it finds a meaning.’”²
Bottom of page:
- Viktor Frankl, Man’s Search for Meaning (Boston: Beacon Press, 2006), 73.
- Frankl, Man’s Search for Meaning , 113.
APA style footnotes
Unlike Chicago style, the APA format prefers parenthetical in-text citations over footnotes. However, there are two cases when footnotes are used:
- Content footnotes: This is supplemental information about a single topic that does not fit coherently in the text.
- Copyright attribution: When a writer uses a “lengthy quotation” or other copyrighted material, such as a stock photograph, a footnote is used for the copyright status (for figures and tables, a footnote is not necessary; the copyright attribution is written in the caption note).
In these rare instances, the footnote is formatted similarly to the Chicago style: Sequential superscript numbers come after the passage, with the corresponding footnote at the bottom of the page. However, in APA format, unlike Chicago, the number in the footnote is superscript and without a period.
APA footnote examples
[Lengthy passage from the play Rosencrantz & Guildenstern Are Dead ]
“ROS.¹ ‘Not by himself . . . Coming this way, I think. ( Shiftily .) Should we go?’
GUIL. ‘Why? We’re marked now.’”²
¹ The role of Rosencrantz in Rosencrantz & Guildenstern Are Dead was first performed on film by Gary Oldman.
²Copyright 1967 by Tom Stoppard.
MLA style footnotes
The MLA format also prefers parenthetical in-text citations over footnotes. Like the APA format, there are some instances when the works cited page is not enough and more information is required in either footnotes or endnotes.
- Citing a long string of sources: If multiple sources relate to the same passage, it’s better to cite them in a footnote than to use a parenthetical in-text citation.
- Explaining unusual documentation practices: If the source deviates from standard documentation—such as using alternative line numbers for poems—it’s best to mention this in a footnote.
- Noting editions or translations: If there are multiple versions of a text, note which one you are using in a footnote the first time it is referenced.
- Providing content footnotes: Again, this is for supplemental information that doesn’t fit into the page text.
The footnotes are formatted like APA format, where the number in the footnote is superscript and without a period. If the note is written in a complete sentence, place the page numbers in parentheses. If it simply references the source, parentheses aren’t necessary.
MLA footnote examples
“Free from desire, you realize the mystery.”¹
“Caught in desire, you see only the manifestations.”²
¹This passage is alternatively translated as “the secret waits for the insight of eyes unclouded by longing.”
²Citations of Tao Te Ching use Stephen Mitchell’s translation, unless otherwise noted.
Footnotes are small notations at the bottom of a page that provide additional information or cite the source of a passage in the page’s text. A footnote is marked in the page text by a superscript icon, usually an asterisk (*) or number (¹ ), which corresponds to the matching footnote at the bottom of the page.
What should be included in a footnote?
Often, footnotes are simply extra commentary on a passage that doesn’t fit within the text. However, in the case of citations, footnotes must include the relevant source information, such as the author’s last name, title of the work, and page number related to the passage.
Footnotes and endnotes are similar; both are usually marked by superscript numbers in the text that correspond to a note written elsewhere. The main difference, however, is where they appear: Footnotes appear at the bottom of the page with the relevant passage, while endnotes appear at the end of a chapter or work, usually on a separate page titled “Notes.”
Here’s a tip: Grammarly’s Citation Generator ensures your essays have flawless citations and no plagiarism. Try it for citing footnotes in Chicago , MLA , and APA styles.
Something went wrong. Wait a moment and try again.
How to Write a Research Paper: Use Footnotes or Endnotes or Parentheses to Document Sources
If you don't give credit to your sources, it's plagiarism
Use footnotes or endnotes or parentheses to document sources.
- As you write your first draft, including the introduction, body, and conclusion, add the information or quotations on your note cards to support your ideas.
- Use footnotes or endnotes to identify the sources of this information. If you are using footnotes, the note will appear on the same page as the information you are documenting, at the bottom (or "foot") of the page. If you are using endnotes, the note will appear together with all other notes on a separate page at the end of your report, just before the bibliography. If you are using parenthetical documentation, you will use the MLA format and a Works Cited page .
- There are different formats for footnotes (and endnotes), so be sure to use the one your teacher prefers.
- Note that footnotes can be shortened if the source has already been given in full in a previous footnote. (see below)
(bottom of the same page for footnotes, separate page for endnotes)
The paragraph on Everest is taken from a research paper submitted by Alexandra Ferber, grade 9. This paragraph may not be reproduced without permission.
Homework Center Home »
- Geography |
- Language Arts |
- Mathematics |
- Social Studies
- How to Write a Research Paper: Read Your Sources and Take Notes
Here are the facts and trivia that people are buzzing about.
- PRO Courses Guides New Tech Help Pro Expert Videos About wikiHow Pro Upgrade Sign In
- EDIT Edit this Article
- EXPLORE Tech Help Pro About Us Random Article Quizzes Request a New Article Community Dashboard This Or That Game Popular Categories Arts and Entertainment Artwork Books Movies Computers and Electronics Computers Phone Skills Technology Hacks Health Men's Health Mental Health Women's Health Relationships Dating Love Relationship Issues Hobbies and Crafts Crafts Drawing Games Education & Communication Communication Skills Personal Development Studying Personal Care and Style Fashion Hair Care Personal Hygiene Youth Personal Care School Stuff Dating All Categories Arts and Entertainment Finance and Business Home and Garden Relationship Quizzes Cars & Other Vehicles Food and Entertaining Personal Care and Style Sports and Fitness Computers and Electronics Health Pets and Animals Travel Education & Communication Hobbies and Crafts Philosophy and Religion Work World Family Life Holidays and Traditions Relationships Youth
- Browse Articles
- Learn Something New
- Quizzes Hot
- This Or That Game New
- Train Your Brain
- Explore More
- Support wikiHow
- About wikiHow
- Log in / Sign up
- Education and Communications
- College University and Postgraduate
- Academic Writing
How to Do Footnotes
Last Updated: April 8, 2023 Fact Checked
Placing citations, supplementing text.
This article was co-authored by wikiHow staff writer, Jennifer Mueller, JD . Jennifer Mueller is a wikiHow Content Creator. She specializes in reviewing, fact-checking, and evaluating wikiHow's content to ensure thoroughness and accuracy. Jennifer holds a JD from Indiana University Maurer School of Law in 2006. There are 9 references cited in this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page. This article has been fact-checked, ensuring the accuracy of any cited facts and confirming the authority of its sources. This article has been viewed 1,366,027 times. Learn more...
Footnotes are used generally in academic and professional writing to cite sources or add supplemental information to the main text of a paper. Academic citation styles, such as the Modern Language Association (MLA) and the American Psychological Association (APA), discourage the use of extensive footnotes. Others, such as Chicago style, require them.  X Research source
Tip: Footnotes are typically a smaller font size than the main text of your paper. Typically, you won't need to change the default size on the word processing app you're using to write your paper – it will do this automatically when you create a footnote.
- You'll typically only have one footnote per sentence. If you need more than one footnote, place the other footnote at the end of the sentence clause it relates to, outside the closing punctuation. The only exception is if the sentence is broken up by a long dash, in which case, the superscript number goes before the beginning of the dash.  X Trustworthy Source Purdue Online Writing Lab Trusted resource for writing and citation guidelines Go to source
Footnote Number in Line with Text: It is well known that patients who suffer from Crohn's and Colitis can have many debilitating symptoms. 1.
Superscripted Footnote Number: It is well known that patients who suffer from Crohn's and Colitis can have many debilitating symptoms. 1
- For some longer papers, such as doctoral theses, footnote numbers may start over with each chapter. If you're unsure if this is appropriate for your project, discuss it with your editor or advisor.
- Most word processing apps will maintain sequential numbering for you, provided you use the app's function for inserting footnotes, rather than trying to type the numbers manually.
- You typically have formatting options that allow you to choose numbers, letters, or other symbols to indicate footnotes. You can also change the size or placement of footnotes, although the default option is usually appropriate.
- For most style guides, the use of footnotes does not replace the need for a list of references at the end of your paper. Even if a full list of references isn't strictly required, it can help place your paper in context.
- For example, suppose you've paraphrased information from a book by Reginald Daily, titled Timeless wikiHow Examples: Through the Ages. If you were using Chicago style, your footnote citation would look something like this: Reginald Daily, Timeless wikiHow Examples: Through the Ages (Minneapolis: St. Olaf Press, 2010), 115.
- For example, suppose later on in your paper you need to cite Reginald Daily's wikiHow book again. Your shortened citation might look something like this: Daily, wikiHow Examples , 130.
Tip: Some citation styles recommend using the abbreviation "id." or "ibid." if you cite to the same source in footnotes immediately following. Others, notably the Chicago Manual of Style, require the use of a shortened citation instead.
- For example, suppose you have a sentence in your text comparing the conclusions in Reginald Daily's book with the observations in another book on the same topic. Your footnote might look something like this: Reginald Daily, Timeless wikiHow Examples: Through the Ages (Minneapolis: St. Olaf Press, 2010), 115; Mary Beth Miller, The wiki Revolution (New York: New Tech Press, 2018), 48.
- For example, if Miller's work reached a conclusion that was contrary to the conclusion Daily reached, your footnote might look something like this: Reginald Daily, Timeless wikiHow Examples: Through the Ages (Minneapolis: St. Olaf Press, 2010), 115; but see Mary Beth Miller, The wiki Revolution (New York: New Tech Press, 2018), 48.
- If you believe it would be helpful to your readers, you can add a brief parenthetical comment after the second source that explains why you included it.
- For example, suppose you want to include a brief explanation as to why you're citing Daily's book, despite the fact that it was published in 2010. Your footnote might look something like this: Reginald Daily, Timeless wikiHow Examples: Through the Ages (Minneapolis: St. Olaf Press, 2010), 115. Although published in 2010, Daily's work provides a jumping-off point for research in this area.
- For example, there may be a basic concept that is beyond the scope of your paper, but important for your readers to understand. You could add a footnote that says "For an explanation of the theory of relativity, see generally" followed by a source or list of sources.
- Typically, these types of footnotes provide your reader with information on something that is tangential to your paper but could be important to help your readers understand the topic as a whole or place your paper in context.
- Some style guides, such as MLA and APA, instruct that parenthetical statements should be included in the main text of your paper, rather than in footnotes.  X Trustworthy Source Purdue Online Writing Lab Trusted resource for writing and citation guidelines Go to source
Tip: Keep your footnotes as brief as possible, especially with supplemental footnotes. Don't stray too far off topic or go into a tangent that is only marginally related to the topic of your paper.
- These types of footnotes frequently accompany a quote from a source and may include a citation to the source. For example, if you quoted a source that discussed wikiHow, and you wanted to clarify, you might add a footnote that says "wikiHow examples are used to clarify text in situations where it would be helpful to have a visual cue. Reginald Daily, Timeless wikiHow Examples: Through the Ages (Minneapolis: St. Olaf Press, 2010), 115."
- For example, suppose you are writing a paper about the use of wikiHow articles as sources, and you include a study finding that wikiHow articles are more accurate than articles on major news sites about similar topics. You might add a footnote that says "Despite this fact, the vast majority of professors at public universities in the US do not accept wikiHow articles as sources for research papers."
- You can also use footnotes to make a witty remark, which can add humor and lightheartedness to your paper. However, these types of footnotes should be used extremely rarely, and only when appropriate to the subject matter.
Video . By using this service, some information may be shared with YouTube.
- Before writing, confirm with your professor or organization what style guide you should be using to write your paper. Make sure your use of footnotes follows the rules for that style. Thanks Helpful 0 Not Helpful 0
- If a footnote includes both a citation and supplemental information, the citation usually comes first. Thanks Helpful 0 Not Helpful 0
You Might Also Like
- ↑ https://www.plagiarism.org/article/what-are-footnotes
- ↑ https://stpauls-mb.libguides.com/citations/footnotes
- ↑ https://www.library.georgetown.edu/tutorials/research-guides/turabian-footnote-guide
- ↑ https://owl.purdue.edu/owl/research_and_citation/mla_style/mla_formatting_and_style_guide/mla_endnotes_and_footnotes.html
- ↑ https://libguides.stonehill.edu/c.php?g=884839&p=6358739
- ↑ https://www.law.cornell.edu/citation/6-300
- ↑ https://libguides.utep.edu/c.php?g=429690&p=2930768
- ↑ https://jle.aals.org/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1243&context=home
- ↑ https://libguides.liberty.edu/c.php?g=864199&p=6197236
About This Article
To use footnotes as citations, find a sentence you want to cite and insert a "1" at the end of it using the footnote setting in your word processor. Then, insert your citation next to the corresponding "1" at the bottom of the page, like "Reginald Daily, Timeless wikiHow Examples: Through the Ages (Minneapolis: St. Olaf Press, 2010), 115." When you're finished, move onto the next sentence you need to cite and repeat the process. To learn how to use footnotes to clarify information in your paper, read the article! Did this summary help you? Yes No
- Send fan mail to authors
Reader Success Stories
Aug 29, 2017
Did this article help you?
Mar 24, 2017
May 21, 2017
Dec 9, 2017
- Do Not Sell or Share My Info
- Not Selling Info
Get all the best how-tos!
Sign up for wikiHow's weekly email newsletter