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: Creating a Bibliography from Footnotes.

Creating a Bibliography from Footnotes

Written by Allen Wyatt (last updated March 9, 2024)
This tip applies to Word 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, Word in Microsoft 365, and 2021


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, 2016, 2019, Word in Microsoft 365, and 2021. 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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