Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Word versions: 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, Word in Microsoft 365, and 2021. 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: Margin Notes in Word.

Margin Notes in Word

Written by Allen Wyatt (last updated October 21, 2023)
This tip applies to Word 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, Word in Microsoft 365, and 2021


While Word does have a powerful footnote and endnote capability, it does not have a native margin note capability. You can, however, use other features of Word to simulate margin notes. For instance, you can create a two-column table and use the left column for notes and the right column for text (or vice versa).

You could also use text boxes, shapes, or columns to simulate margin notes. Each of these is appropriate under differing circumstances, and you may want to try each to see if you get the desired effect. As an example, using columnar text may work great until you have a margin note that runs longer than the paragraph in which the note is referenced.

Another way to handle margin notes is to use a third-party Word add-on that provides the feature. These products will often use some variation of the text box or frame method of adding the notes.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (10934) applies to Microsoft Word 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, Word in Microsoft 365, and 2021. You can find a version of this tip for the older menu interface of Word here: Margin Notes in Word.

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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