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: Creating a Bibliography from Footnotes.

Creating a Bibliography from Footnotes

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated September 24, 2016)

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Renata is typing a dissertation with over 450 footnotes. She's inserted them in the regular manner for creating footnotes, and wonders if there is a way to easily generate a bibliography in the proper order from the footnote information.

Unfortunately, there is no way to do this within Word. It is possible that a macro could be created that would do the compilation for you, but it would be quite involved and very specific to the way in which you are creating your footnotes. (Different style guides call for different specifications for both footnotes and bibliographies.)

Another option is to look for third-party software that may fit the bill, but a quick search turned up nothing that sounded promising in this area.

This means that you are left with approaching the task manually. To make the job a bit easier, try these general steps:

  1. Make a copy of your dissertation. (You don't want to work on the original to do these steps.)
  2. Open the copy and convert all the footnotes to endnotes.
  3. Position the insertion point just before the first endnote. (The actual endnote text, not the reference in the main body of the document.)
  4. Scroll to the end of the endnotes, so you can see the last one on the screen.
  5. Hold down the Shift key as you click at the end of the last endnote. All the endnotes in the document should now be selected.
  6. Press Ctrl+C to copy the endnotes to the Clipboard.
  7. Open a new, blank document and paste (Ctrl+V) the endnotes to the new document. You now have a document that just has all the endnotes in it, and nothing else.
  8. Sort the paragraphs in the document alphabetically.
  9. Work your way through all the endnotes, deleting all the text and references you don't need in the bibliography.
  10. Structure and format as desired.

That's it; you now have your bibliography, manually created. It may not be easy, but it is easier than cutting and pasting the text from each of your footnotes individually. It is also less prone to errors in missing something during the compilation.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (11203) 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: Creating a Bibliography from Footnotes.

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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What is four minus 4?

2016-09-25 02:17:56

Stephen Bond

Third-party software: I am nearing the completion of a dissertation and have been using EndNote exclusively. It does both footnotes and bibliography automatically and brilliantly. The only downside (?) is that you have to load the EndNote database with the book/journal/book section ... before you can use it. But after that it's a piece of cake. I started using EndNote late as an undergraduate but many of the resources used there were already in place for the dissertation.


2016-09-24 12:05:07

Charles Bewlay

To skip a step just use the original document and go to View>Draft and then View>Footnotes. Then you can copy the lot into your document. You still have the problem of removing the footnote numbers though (not mentioned in the article Allen). All this for Word Mac 2011.


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