How to Use Endnotes in Books: The Ultimate Guide

Endnotes are commonly used in nonfiction writing to add additional information or cite a source.

However, many people don't know exactly how to use endnotes properly, or they lack the technical skills to add them in a complicated program like Microsoft Word or Adobe InDesign.

Thankfully, I've got you covered. Not only will I explain everything you need to know about adding endnotes to your manuscript, but I will also outline a tool that will make it a lot easier.

In this article, you will learn:
  1. What an endnote is
  2. How to use endnotes properly
  3. The difference between endnotes and footnotes
  4. Different styles of endnotes

Why You Should Trust Me

So I've been writing and formatting books for a long time. 10+ years as of this writing.

But I actually found formatting to be a huge pain, which is why I actually created my own formatting software that solved all my problems. I called it Atticus.

But this isn't meant to be a sales pitch. I just want to make sure it's clear that I know what I'm talking about. The amount of research that went into not only formatting my own books, but also creating a formatting software is huge.

I researched everything, from tiny margin requirements, to the specific type of quotes to use (curly or straight, it makes a difference).

And yes, of course, that includes endnotes.

So if all that makes sense, hopefully you'll come along with me as show you everything I've learned.

What Are Endnotes?

Endnotes are additional pieces of information that appear at the end of your chapter or at the end of your book.

They are designated in the text, usually with superscript numbers, although other forms of citation, such as superscript letters, are also common.

Endnotes are typically used for the following types of information:

  • Citations
  • Parenthetical information
  • Copyright permissions
  • Background information
  • Author's notes
  • And more

The main purpose of endnotes is to add additional information that is useful to have, but would otherwise disrupt the flow of the book.

Above all, the flow of the writing, a.k.a. the experience of the reader, is most important. Endnotes allow you to maintain that flow, while providing additional and crucial information.

Bonus: Formatting can be a difficult thing, especially when you have a vanilla tool like Microsoft Word. To make this process easier, I developed a tool to give you the template you need to format your book in Word. Get all the templates here!
Check Out the FREE Formatting Templates

Endnotes vs. Footnotes

Endnotes are often mistaken for footnotes, and vice versa. So let's briefly discuss what each of them are.

  • Endnotes are additional pieces of information that appear at the end of your chapter or book.
  • Footnotes are additional pieces of information that appear at the bottom of each page.

Otherwise, the two are virtually identical. The only major difference is where they appear in the book.

See this article for a full breakdown of the differences between footnotes and endnotes.

How to Use Endnotes Properly

The actual notes for your endnotes should appear at the end of your chapter or at the end of the book, depending on the style you prefer. If you have a lot of endnotes, I recommend placing them at the end of your chapter, or your endnote section at the end of your book will get too long.

Otherwise, there are specific styles that you want to address. For instance, let's discuss in-line citation first:

In-Line Citations for Endnotes

Your in-text citation should be listed after the clause or sentence, and usually consists of a superscript number.

Each consecutive endnote will then proceed in ascending order from 1 and onward. So your second citation will be the number 2, and your third citation the number 3, etc.

If you collect your endnotes at the end of each chapter, then you start over in the next chapter with the number 1.

Here's an example of in-line citations for endnotes:

Alice was beginning to get very tired of sitting by her sister on the bank1, and of having nothing to do: once or twice she had peeped into the book her sister was reading, but it had no pictures or conversations in it.2

Chicago-Style Endnotes

Traditionally, the Chicago style is used primarily for citations within your book, although they can be used for other notes as well.

Here are some tips to use Chicago-style  endnotes:

  • Indent each endnote
  • Write the endnote numbers as normal numbers, not superscript, followed by a period and a space
  • The endnotes should appear at the end of each chapter or just before the bibliography
  • Cite the full information the first time you use it, with condensed information in subsequent chapters

Here's an example of endnotes in the Chicago style:

1. King, Stephen. On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft. New York, NY: Scribner, 2000. 

2. King, Stephen. On Writing

APA-Style Endnotes

APA-style endnotes are typically not used for citations. Instead, they are used for additional information, copyright attributions, etc. It is recommended that they are used sparingly.

Here's how you format APA-style endnotes:

  • Indent each endnote
  • Start each note with a superscript number, followed by a space (no period)
  • Make sure there is a full line between each endnote

Here is an example of APA-style endnotes:

             1 King, S. (2000). On writing: A memoir of the craft. Scribner. 

              2 This is where you might make an additional note or comment related to the piece you are writing.

MLA-Style Endnotes

Endnotes for MLA-style citations can be used to clean up too many in-text citations.

They are typically used for additional information, citations, and nearly all other forms of endnotes.

Here's how you use them:

  • Indent the first line of each endnote
  • Start the note with a superscript number, followed by space
  • Make sure there is a full line between each endnote
  • The endnotes should be placed at the end of the chapter or just before the bibliography at the end

Here is an example of MLA-style endnotes:

        1 King, Stephen. On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft. Scribner, 2000. 

        2 This is where you might make an additional note or comment related to the piece you are writing.

Using Endnotes In Fiction Books

While endnotes are primarily used in nonfiction books, there are some fun ways to use endnotes in fiction as well. Here are just a few ideas:

  • Reveal additional details about your world: it can be tough to pack all of the world building that you need into your story. How about giving a few extra details in the endnotes?
  • Make your world seem more real: by adding endnotes, you can make your world seem more academic, like it is an actual place. Tolkien did this in the Lord of the Rings.
  • Add comments from other characters: what if you had a character reading the book you are writing? You could use endnotes as a way of letting the character comment on the text. You could also use this for the narrator of a first-person point of view to comment on their own words.

Adding endnotes in fiction can be a fun way to stand out from the crowd, and make the process fun to read.

Why Endnotes Are Important

If all of that was overwhelming, don't worry. Endnotes are not as tricky as they sound.

However, endnotes are extremely important to include, especially if you are writing nonfiction. Endnotes lend credibility to your work, and assure the reader that you are not making up facts.

Yet complicated programs like Microsoft Word and Adobe InDesign make it very difficult to add endnotes without a formatting nightmare.

That is why I recommend Atticus to add your endnotes. In Atticus, you can easily add endnotes with the touch of a button, making the whole process easier.

Here is a brief list of some of its most valuable features:

  • It adds endnotes and footnotes seamlessly
  • You can write or format your book in it
  • It creates beautiful ebooks and well-formatted print books in a variety of sizes
  • It is over $100 cheaper than the leading alternative
  • It works on most platforms, including Windows, Mac, Linux, and Chromebook

If you are looking for a program to help you insert your endnotes into your manuscript, that Atticus is perfect for you.

How to Create Endnotes in Atticus

Atticus makes it easy to add your endnotes so they automatically appear at the end of your chapters. Start by selecting where you want your endnotes to appear (at the end of the chapter or the book).

how to select endnotes in atticus

Then, simply find where you want to insert your endnote, and select the following button in the top tool bar:

selecting endnotes in the atticus tool bar

This will create a pop-up where you can insert your desired endnote:

adding an endnote in atticus

You will then see the endnote displayed in the main editor:

endnotes in the Atticus editor

And that’s it! Once this is done, the endnotes will appear in your formatted documents. Here is what that looks like in the Print version:

You will see the references in the page, just like with Footnotes:

examples of endnotes in the final look

But the content of the notes will show up at the end of the chapter:

examples of endnotes at the end of a chapter

It’s such an easy process that very few formatting tools have, and ONLY Atticus makes it this simple.

Video: Endnotes and Footnotes in Atticus!

For a nice summary of this article, and a demonstration of how endnotes and footnotes work in Atticus, be sure to check out this video.

Want more videos like this? Be sure to subscribe to my YouTube channel for weekly videos!

Check Out Atticus Today!

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