Getting Rid of Trailing Spaces in Footnotes and Endnotes

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated December 2, 2017)

If Jessica wants to remove extra spaces at the end of a paragraph, she knows she can search for a space followed by ^p and replace it with ^p by itself. This, however, doesn't work for footnotes and endnotes, probably because Word doesn't allow you to "replace" end-of-paragraph markers in such notes. Jessica wonders if there is a way around this limitation so she can easily get rid of trailing spaces in footnotes and endnotes.

It is interesting to note that Word allows you to use Find and Replace to get rid of a trailing space in a paragraph in the body of the document, but it doesn't extend the same capability to footnotes and endnotes—at least not in all versions of Word.

For instance, if you have trailing spaces in both footnotes and endnotes in Word 2007, then Find and Replace works as Jessica experienced—the trailing spaces are unchanged. In Word 2010, Find and Replace gets rid of trailing spaces only in footnotes; it leaves endnotes unchanged. In Word 2013, the behavior is just as it was in Word 2007—spaces remain unchanged in both footnotes and endnotes. If you have Word 2016, then the trailing spaces are removed from both footnotes and endnotes, as they should be. Quite inconsistent!

If you want to be sure to get rid of all the trailing spaces, there are two approaches you can use. The first is to follow these steps:

  1. Click once within the footnotes area. (It doesn't matter where; just somewhere in the area.)
  2. Press Ctrl+A. All the footnotes should now be selected.
  3. Press Ctrl+E. All of the footnotes are now centered, plus the trailing spaces are gone.
  4. Press Ctrl+L. All of the footnotes are now, once again, left justified.
  5. Repeat steps 1 through 4 for any endnotes in your document.

Of course, if your footnotes and endnotes are anything other than left justified, then the above steps will mess up that alignment. In such situations (and if you need to get rid of such spaces quite a bit), a macro presents a better approach. Here's a short little one that that will get rid of the trailing spaces in both footnotes and endnotes.

Sub FootEndnoteTrailingSpaces()
    Dim fn As Footnote
    Dim en As Endnote

    For Each fn In ActiveDocument.Footnotes
        fn.Range.Text = RTrim(fn.Range.Text)
    Next fn
    For Each en In ActiveDocument.Endnotes
        en.Range.Text = RTrim(en.Range.Text)
    Next en
End Sub

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (4833) applies to Microsoft Word 2007, 2010, 2013, and 2016.

Author Bio

Allen Wyatt

With more than 50 non-fiction books and numerous magazine articles to his credit, Allen Wyatt is an internationally recognized author. He  is president of Sharon Parq Associates, a computer and publishing services company. ...


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