Difference Wiki

Footnote vs. Endnote: What's the Difference?

Edited by Janet White || By Harlon Moss || Updated on October 20, 2023
A footnote appears at the bottom of the same page where the reference is made, while an endnote is listed at the end of the document or chapter.

Key Differences

Footnotes and endnotes are tools used by writers and researchers to provide additional information or citations without disrupting the flow of the main text. Footnotes appear directly at the bottom of the page on which a particular piece of information or citation is referenced. They offer readers immediate access to supplementary data without navigating away from the page they're on. Endnotes, conversely, are found at the conclusion of a chapter or even the entire document, compiling all references or additional details in one centralized location.
When considering which to use, the decision often rests on the nature and purpose of the document. Footnotes are particularly useful in academic or scholarly works where immediate citation is necessary, ensuring that readers can quickly verify the source of a statement or fact. Endnotes, on the other hand, are more commonly used in books or longer manuscripts, where a series of citations or additional tidbits are best gathered in a singular, uninterrupted section, preventing the main text from appearing cluttered or dense.
It's essential to understand that both footnotes and endnotes serve a similar purpose: to provide extra information, be it a citation, explanation, or any other form of supplementary data. The distinction essentially lies in their placement within the document. In some instances, authors might even choose to use both, employing footnotes for detailed explanations and endnotes for citations, though this approach requires clear differentiation to avoid confusing readers.
From an aesthetic perspective, footnotes can be seen as more immediate but potentially more distracting, given their presence at the bottom of individual pages. Endnotes, however, offer a cleaner look to each page but might be seen as less accessible since readers must flip to the end to access them.

Comparison Chart


Bottom of the page where the reference is made
End of the document or chapter


Immediate reference or additional information
Compilation of references or additional details

Common Usage

Academic papers, scholarly works
Books, longer manuscripts


Immediate but can be distracting
Less immediate but offers a cleaner page look

Combination Usage

Can be used with endnotes in a document
Can be used with footnotes in a document

Footnote and Endnote Definitions


A note or citation at the bottom of a page.
The footnote provided clarity on the historical event.


A note placed at the end of an article, chapter, or book.
Readers referred to the endnote for comprehensive sources.


A minor or tangential comment or event.
The scandal became a mere footnote after bigger news emerged.


Supplementary information at the end of a text.
The endnote provided additional insights on the study's methodology.


An additional piece of information.
His achievements, though significant, remain a footnote in history.


A citation or reference marker in a document.
The claim was substantiated with an endnote to a research paper.


Reference to a source of information.
The argument was backed up with a footnote from a renowned scholar.


An explanatory or reference comment concluding a document.
The controversial point was further explained in the endnote.


An explanatory note in a document.
The technical term was followed by a helpful footnote for readers.


A closing remark or statement in written material.
The author added an endnote to share personal reflections on the topic.


A note placed at the bottom of a page of a book or manuscript that comments on or cites a reference for a designated part of the text.


A note at the end of an article, chapter, or book that comments on or cites a reference for a designated part of the text.


An annotation placed at the end of a document or chapter of a document.


What is the primary purpose of a footnote?

To provide immediate additional information or citations on the same page.

Where are endnotes typically found?

At the end of a document or chapter.

Are endnotes less accessible than footnotes?

They may be seen as less immediate since readers need to navigate to the end.

Which is more common in academic papers, footnotes or endnotes?

Footnotes are typically more common for immediate citations in academic papers.

Can footnotes and endnotes be used together in one document?

Yes, but clear differentiation is needed to avoid confusion.

Can a document start with endnotes instead of footnotes?

It's unconventional but possible if the author has a specific reason.

Which offers a cleaner page look, footnotes or endnotes?

Endnotes, as they keep supplementary data at the end of a document.

Do all referencing styles permit the use of endnotes?

Not all. It depends on the specific referencing style guidelines.

Can I convert footnotes to endnotes and vice versa in word processors?

Yes, most modern word processors allow easy conversion between the two.

Are footnotes typically single-spaced or double-spaced?

Often single-spaced, but it depends on the style guide or publication requirements.

Can endnotes be placed in a separate document altogether?

While unusual, it's possible, especially for lengthy documents or books.

Are footnotes more distracting than endnotes?

Some find footnotes more distracting due to their placement on each page.

Can footnotes include more than just citations?

Yes, they can include any supplementary information or explanations.

Can footnotes be used for personal comments by the author?

Yes, they can be used for any additional remarks or clarifications.

Are footnotes numbered or symbolized?

They can be either, but numbering is more common, especially in academic texts.

Can endnotes be used in fiction?

Yes, especially when authors want to provide extra context or background.

How do endnotes differ from appendices?

Endnotes provide specific citations or short notes, while appendices offer extended supplementary material.

Is it mandatory to use footnotes or endnotes in academic papers?

Not mandatory, but they are often used for citations or additional information.

Do footnotes and endnotes affect a document's word count?

It depends on the guidelines, but they often are included in the overall word count.

Do footnotes always appear on the page they're referenced?

Ideally, yes. They're meant to provide immediate information on the same page.
About Author
Written by
Harlon Moss
Harlon is a seasoned quality moderator and accomplished content writer for Difference Wiki. An alumnus of the prestigious University of California, he earned his degree in Computer Science. Leveraging his academic background, Harlon brings a meticulous and informed perspective to his work, ensuring content accuracy and excellence.
Edited by
Janet White
Janet White has been an esteemed writer and blogger for Difference Wiki. Holding a Master's degree in Science and Medical Journalism from the prestigious Boston University, she has consistently demonstrated her expertise and passion for her field. When she's not immersed in her work, Janet relishes her time exercising, delving into a good book, and cherishing moments with friends and family.

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