Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Word versions: 2007, 2010, 2013, and 2016. If you are using an earlier version (Word 2003 or earlier), this tip may not work for you. For a version of this tip written specifically for earlier versions of Word, click here: Standardizing Note Reference Placement.

Standardizing Note Reference Placement

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated February 13, 2016)

It is not uncommon to use footnotes and endnotes in many types of documents. They appear regularly in scholarly papers, providing references and text ancillary to the main text. If you edit such papers, prepared by others, you may have a need to modify the placement of endnote or footnote references to be consistent with whatever style guidelines you are using. For instance, the author may have placed the references before punctuation (such as a period or comma) and you need the reference to be after the punctuation.

Fortunately, you can easily shift around the positioning of footnote and endnote references by using Word's Find and Replace feature. Follow these steps:

  1. Press Ctrl+H to display the Replace tab of the Find and Replace dialog box.
  2. If the More button is visible, click on it so that the full dialog box is displayed.
  3. Make sure the Use Wildcards check box is selected.
  4. In the Find What box, enter the following: (^2)([,.-])
  5. In the Replace With box, enter the following: \2\1
  6. Click either Find Next or Replace All, depending on how you want the replacements done.

The heart of this operation is the codes you enter in steps 4 and 5. The Find What codes define two groupings that you are looking for. Each grouping is surrounded by parentheses. The first grouping is the code ^2, which tells Word that you are looking for a note reference. When used with wildcard searches, this code will find both footnote and endnote references.

The second grouping consists of a pair of [brackets] within which you place the punctuation marks you want to move. In this case, a comma, period, and dash are included in the group. You can place any other punctuation mark in there that you want, except for an exclamation mark. The brackets surrounding the punctuation marks indicate to Word that you want to find a single occurrence of any of the characters within the brackets.

The result of this Find What sequence is that you want to find a note reference (endnote or footnote) followed by a single punctuation mark. If this is found, you want to replace it with what is in the Replace With box. The characters you enter there (step 5) indicate you want to replace what is found by the characters in the second group (the punctuation) followed by the characters in the first group (the note reference).

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (9631) applies to Microsoft Word 2007, 2010, 2013, and 2016. You can find a version of this tip for the older menu interface of Word here: Standardizing Note Reference Placement.

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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