Editing Notes in Microsoft Word

It’s hard to beat Microsoft Word if you’re editing a document with footnotes or endnotes. If you add or delete a note, the other notes renumber automatically (assuming the notes haven’t been typed as body text and numbered manually), and the program provides a notes “pane” that allows you to edit all of your notes at once. (With WordPerfect, you have to view and edit one note at a time. Yechhh.) To use the notes pane most effectively, follow this procedure:

1. Make sure you’re using Normal view rather than Page Layout view (click the View menu and then “Normal”).

2. Open the notes pane (click the View menu and then “Footnotes”).

3. Use your mouse to grab the top of the notes pane and move it almost to the top of your document window, giving you plenty of room to work. (If you move it too far, the notes pane will close.)

Now you can see and edit all of your notes at once. (To close the notes pane, click the “Close” button at the top of the pane.)

Here are some other tips for working with notes:

* Use Word’s Go To feature (CTRL + G) to go to a specific note. This will work in document text and in the notes pane.

* Let Microsoft Word do the numbering for you. Some writers and editors do such weird things as use Word’s automatic note reference numbers but manually type notes and note numbers at the bottom of the document rather than use the notes pane. I’ve also seen cases where an author, wanting to use a number followed by a period for note numbers, deleted and retyped each note number (with a period) in the notes pane, or inserted a period after the automatic note number. This is madness. Let Word do the job it was designed to do.

* Don’t put headings into the notes pane. Some authors type things like “Notes to Chapter 3” at the top of the pane. It may look okay when you print it out, but it’s actually a note without a note number, and it may cause file corruption and other problems. If you need to use such headings, put them at the bottom of your document text.

* You can convert endnotes to footnotes or vice versa by clicking the Insert menu and then clicking “Footnote,” “Options,” and “Convert.”

* If you’re working with revision marking, or tracking, turned on, you can delete a note reference number from the document text, but the note itself will still show up in the notes pane, and your other note reference numbers won’t renumber correctly. This appears to be a bug in Microsoft Word. The only remedy I’ve found is to accept revisions by clicking the Tools menu, then “Revisions,” and then “Accept All.” (You can also accept a single revision by clicking “Review” rather than “Accept All.”)

* If you’re editing a document with manually typed notes rather than automatically numbered notes, you can turn them into automatically numbered notes with our NoteStripper program, which you can download at http://www.editorium.com/15078.htm. Then you won’t have to renumber the notes by hand when you’re finished editing.

* If you need to turn automatically numbered notes into regular numbered text (perhaps for use in QuarkXPress or PageMaker), our NoteStripper program will do that as well. It also includes other tools to make working with notes a snap.

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