Learn and Generate Bibliographies, Citations, and Works Cited

Difference Between Footnotes and Endnotes Explained

If you are writing your school paper with Chicago style citation using the notes-biblio style or if your teacher asks you to include notes in your paper, you need to know the difference between footnotes and endnotes. Typically, notes are included in Chicago 17 notes-biblio style, but you may include them in an MLA or APA citation style school project if your instructor requires them.

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Where Do You Place the Notes?

The difference between footnotes and endnotes is simple:

  • Place footnotes at the bottom of each page.
  • Include endnotes at the end of the paper.
Note: In a full-length book, endnotes may be at the end of each chapter. In substantive texts, you may see both endnotes and footnotes used in the paper or book. However, you will not do this in a typical research paper in school.


Which Format Should I Use?

Consider these factors while deciding which format to use:


  1. Footnotes are shorter, as author and other information may be included in the text already.
  2. Extensive footnotes detract the reader from the text.
  3. Footnotes may cause formatting issues with your paper.

guide and example of footnotes in APA format


  1. Endnotes can be distracting to the reader if they have to flip to the back of the book each time.
  2. List endnotes at the end of your research paper but before the bibliography.
  3. Pages are easier to read when the notes are placed at the end of the paper.
Note: Many times, online scholarly research articles insert hyperlinks between the note number and the actual note.


APA endnotes example

APA Footnotes

student research footnotes endnotes

APA style does not recommend using footnotes at all. However, as with all things, there are always exceptions.

First of all, you may use a footnote in your APA paper if you are using copyrighted material for which you requested permission. This may occur if you use extensive data from a research paper. Fair use for students and teachers allows you to use a certain amount of copyrighted material without asking permission, so check those guidelines first.

You may also use content footnotes in APA; however, again, this is not suggested. Incorporate the information into your text instead.

Numbering Footnotes and Endnotes

The numbering system for footnotes and endnotes is really simple.

  • Number in-text citation notes, using a superscript font, starting with 1.
  • Match each number to its corresponding note, either in a footnote or endnote.

Additional Information

Using footnotes and endnotes in a Chicago style citation paper guides the reader through the text. However, footnotes can be used in MLA or APA to supply additional information. These guidelines help you decide which format to use; however, always follow your teacher’s directions and you will be sure to turn in a top paper.

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