Multiple References to an Endnote

Written by Allen Wyatt (last updated December 12, 2020)
This tip applies to Word 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, and Word in Microsoft 365

Richard sometimes writes academic documents that include references in endnotes. There are times he wishes to refer to a particular reference several times, for example in the introduction to the paper and then in the discussion. Richard wonders if he can refer to a single endnote multiple times in a document. More importantly, he wonders if he can do so in a way that if the endnotes are renumbered, the endnote reference numbers in the text will still be correct.

Yes, there is a way to do this. Before explaining how to do it, however, you may want to check to see if doing so is consistent with whatever style guide you are following. For instance, if you follow The Chicago Manual of Style, you should not have multiple references to a single endnote (or footnote). Instead, you create a full citation at your first note location and then, in the subsequent location, you insert a second note that is a shortened citation to the same source material. Most other popular style guides suggest the same (or similar) treatment for citations.

Now to how you can actually create multiple references to an endnote: You do this using cross-references. Assuming you've already created your endnotes, you would follow these steps:

  1. Place the insertion point where you want your second reference.
  2. Display the References tab of the ribbon.
  3. Click the Cross-reference tool in the Captions group. Word displays the Cross-reference dialog box. (See Figure 1.)
  4. Figure 1. The Cross-reference dialog box.

  5. In the Reference Type drop-down list, choose Endnote.
  6. In the list at the bottom of the Cross-reference dialog box, click once on the endnote you want to reference.
  7. Click Insert. The cross-reference is created.

The cross-reference will use the same endnote number as the endnote you chose in step 5. There is one important thing to realize here—if you insert more endnotes, it may seem to you that your cross-references are not automatically updating. This is because the cross-references are implemented through the use of fields, and fields don't automatically update unless you (1) save and open the document anew, (2) force the fields to update, or (3) make Word think you are going to print the document.

Accomplishing the first method is easy—just close and open the document. The second method is done by selecting your entire document (Ctrl+A) and then pressing F9. The third method is most often accomplished by simply pressing Ctrl+P and then pressing Esc to get back to your document. Regardless of the method you choose to use, your cross-references should all be updated to match the endnotes you want them to 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 (13809) applies to Microsoft Word 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, and Word in Microsoft 365.

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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