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What are Endnotes? Most Comprehensive Guide to the Perfectly Referenced Paper

Adding endnotes is one of the ways to give your readers more insights or citation details about a source not included in the main text. In this article, we have discussed how to use this referencing type in various citation styles ─ keep reading to get to endnotes’ examples. You will also find an answer to what endnotes are and how they differ from footnotes. 

Key things to know about endnotes 

What are endnotes? They are references or annotations at the end of a document, chapter, or section but not at the bottom of each page (like footnotes). 

  • They may cover some information you want to include in your text, but it is not quite relatable to the main chapters.
  • Endnotes allow you to include citations without interrupting the flow of the text.
  • You can use them to credit sources used in the text.
  • The text becomes cluttered with too many footnotes. 

The difference between endnotes and footnotes

They are used for the same purpose but differ in placement: while a footnote is placed at the bottom of each page, you should look for an endnote at the end of the document or section. You can also notice the difference in length, as footnotes are usually shorter. 

Use footnotes to:

  • Give short explanations or comments closely related to the main text.
  • Provide a citation for a source directly quoted or paraphrased in the text.
  • Avoid disrupting the text flow by providing a lengthy citation.
  • Provide additional information best placed on the same page as the reference.

Use endnotes to:

  • Give more extensive commentary or explanation, being distractive as footnotes.
  • Provide a citation for a source that is not directly quoted or paraphrased in the text.
  • Avoid cluttering the page with too many footnotes.
  • Write a book or article that requires a more formal and structured approach.

How to use endnotes? Important steps to follow

Keep in mind that following one of the styles covered below, you must always adjust the formatting to match their requirements. Also, add a heading for the endnotes page. 

Look out for these general formatting rules:

  1. Place and number.

Typically, this referencing type is placed at the end of a document, chapter, or section. Make sure you assign a number corresponding to the text referenced in the note. 

  1. Format.

In most formatting styles, use single-spaced with a double space between each note. The first line of each one is usually indented.

  1. Include relevant information.

Depending on the note's purpose, you may need to include the cited source's author, title, publication date, and page number.

Adding endnotes in Word

  • Place the cursor in the text when you want to add an endnote.
  • Click on the "References" tab and choose “Insert Endnote”.
  • Type the text of the endnote. You can add as many of them as you need, and they will be numbered sequentially according to their insertion order.

Endnotes in Chicago style 

Chicago format is a common citation style in the humanities, particularly history, literature, and the arts. It is known for using both endnotes and footnotes. It offers two different citation options: the notes-bibliography system, which uses either endnotes or footnotes (you can choose which to use depending on the purpose), and the author-date system, which uses in-text citations.


  • Number endnotes consecutively throughout the document.
  • The number for the note is superscripted in the text and appears at the beginning of the corresponding note in the according section.
  • Place the number marker at the end of a sentence after the period. Otherwise, you can place them at the end of a statement or phrase within a sentence, but again it comes after punctuation like a comma or semicolon. An exception is a dash.
  • The endnotes page is titled with bold and centered "Notes" after the main text and any appendices.
  • The Chicago style requires a separate bibliography with full citations for all sources. The title “Bibliography” is preferred, but “Works Cited” or “Literature Cited” is acceptable. Unless you’re writing a short paper and have been told you don’t need to.

Here is a Chicago style endnotes example:



                     1. Jane Doe. "The Great Depression and Its Impact on American Society." Journal of American History 123, no. 4 (2018): 56.

Endnotes in APA style 

You will find a few cases of APA endnotes, as in-text citations and reference lists serve this purpose. Yet, they are used to add additional comments or explanations that are not essential to understanding the main text.


  • Such notes are listed at the end of the document after the reference list with the heading “Footnotes” (APA style doesn’t use the “endnotes” term) in bold and centered at the top.
  • APA requires double-spaced, indented paragraphs.
  • Start each note with its number in superscript, followed by a space.
  • Each one is numbered consecutively using Arabic numerals.
  • The superscript number appears in the text immediately after the punctuation mark for the sentence or phrase it relates to.
  • They should be used sparingly and only for content that cannot be easily integrated into the main text.

Endnotes in MLA style 

Endnotes are typically used when the note's content is too long or detailed to include in the main text or when the information interrupts the main text flow. Nevertheless, MLA in-text citations appear in parentheses, but you can use endnotes to avoid cluttering the text if you need a lot of citations in one place.


  • In MLA style, “Notes” or “Endnotes” are listed at the end of the document before the Works Cited list.
  • Each one is numbered consecutively using Arabic numerals.
  • The superscript number for the endnote appears in the text immediately after the punctuation mark for the sentence or phrase that the endnote relates to.
  • Indent the first line of each endnote, and start the note with the number in superscript followed by a space.
  • Endnotes should be double-spaced.


Now you know what are endnotes used for and how to integrate them into your paper to reach maximum efficiency. To use them correctly in your paper, you must follow guidelines for required formatting that differ in styles, such as Chicago, APA, and MLA. If you still find citing difficult, remember that you can benefit from a citation generator to validate your citations or create them from scratch. 


In which cases is using endnotes appropriate? 

The purpose of endnotes depends on the style you are using. In Chicago, an endnote is used for in-text citations. In APA and MLA, endnotes are used to provide copyright information or to clear up confusing content. Thus, you can use them to add lengthy information to your paper that looks cluttering as a footnote.

What should I add to the endnote?

It should include information that expands upon a point, references or citations to sources used in the document, and acknowledgments or other relevant notes.

Which purpose does an endnote serve? 

Endnotes can serve various purposes: citing sources, adding extra information, directing readers to other areas, etc. Thus, it offers extensive information, comments, or references to sources used in a paper, without interrupting the main text flow. 

Should endnotes be included on every page?

No, footnotes serve this purpose. While endnotes are formatted identically to footnotes, they are presented as a single list at the end of your paper. The definition of endnotes implies they are part of a different section and are not included in the bibliography section, even though they both explain sources used in a document. 

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