Endnotes in InDesign CS4/CS5

Whenever people ask if they can create endnotes in InDesign, I have to explain the same sad story. No, InDesign has footnotes not endnotes, but you can download a plug-in . . . Now, thanks to Peter Gold’s comment in the InDesign user forum, I have a much better answer. While InDesign still doesn’t have an Endnotes feature, it’s easy to create endnotes in InDesign CS4 or CS5 by using cross-references.

Step 1. Create a paragraph style for the endnotes that appear at the end of the document. This style should include automatic numbering.


Step 2. Create a character style for the endnote number that appears in the text.

I created a simple character style with superscript formatting. The Superscript option is on the Position menu in the Basic Character Formats section.

Step 3. Type the endnotes on the last page of the document.

Apply the Endnotes paragraph style to the endnotes.

endnotes text frame.jpg

Tip: If you’re working with booked documents, you may want to create a separate document for endnotes, and add it to the book. Oh, and make sure the character style you created in step 2 is available in all the documents.

Step 4. Create a cross-reference from the body text to the endnote.

endnotes xref id.jpg

More details for step 4:

– Place the insertion point in the body text where you want the endnote number to appear.

– Choose Type > Hyperlinks & Cross-References > Insert Cross-Reference. If you’re working in a book, specify the document.

– Specify the paragraph style (in my example, I called it “Endnotes”) and then specify the endnote you want to link to.

– From the Format menu, make sure Paragraph Number is selected. To make sure the footnote number is formatted properly, click the Pencil icon next to the Format menu, and then specify the character style you created. Click OK.

– For Appearance, choose Invisible Rectangle. Click OK.

Step 5. Repeat step 4 for other endnotes.

Tip: If you have dozens of endnotes, you can copy and paste them, and then update each pasted cross-reference using the Hyperlinks panel. Here’s how. Type or paste all the endnotes at the end of the document. Create one cross-reference as described, and then copy and paste that hyperlink to the other locations in the document. Then, open the Hyperlinks panel (Window > Interactive > Hyperlinks), and select one of the copied hyperlinks in the document. Double-click the selected cross-reference in the Hyperlinks panel, click the appropriate endnote for that section, and click OK. Rinse and repeat.

Can you create endnotes in InDesign? Yep.

UPDATE: Peter Kahrel wrote a script that uses this method to convert footnotes to endnotes. Thanks, Peter!

30 Responses to Endnotes in InDesign CS4/CS5

  1. mateo sánchez says:

    magnífico (magnificent). Muchas gracias (thank you very much)mateo[No hay de que -Bob]

  2. Martin says:

    Great trick!Thanks Martin

  3. Peter Kahrel says:

    Hi Bob,Following the method that Peter Gold and you described, I did tw scripts that automate what you describe. One script converts static endnotes to dynamic endnotes (useful after placing MS Word documents with lots of endnotes in InDesign) and another script that converts InDesign footnotes to dynamic endnotes. Here’s the link:http://www.kahrel.plus.com/indesign/dynamic_endnotes.htmlPeter

  4. Peter Kahrel says:

    Only now do I see that you already mentioned the scripts(s) in your update…P.[Redundancy doesn’t hurt — that’s a great script. -Bob]

  5. Peter Kahrel says:

    InDesign can’t do footnotes in tables, but using the cross-reference trick you can overcome that.Peter

    • Elinor says:

      So this does work with foot notes in tables as well in endnotes in tables? I experience that a lot of people tend to mix them up!

  6. oz says:

    I have experienced a very bizarre phenomena with indesign cs4….I made small tabs at the sides of the pages (placed vertical text on both masters of the spread) and when i export the document to PDF at page 84 (out of 133) these tabs stop showing…up until p.84 all is perfect.In indesign they are visible and all seems good, when saved in any other format -> gone…anyone familiar with this?__________________Ask this type of question in the InDesign user forum:http://forums.adobe.com/community/indesign/indesign_general

  7. nlx says:

    Is there anyway to put the endnotes outside of the text block ? For exemple my text is a 2 columns text block but i would like my endnotes to be 1 column, in another block somwhere ?Please help !

  8. YvonneMcCoy says:

    Will this also work for CS3?

  9. Bob Bringhurst says:

    Sorry, no. Cross-references is a new feature in CS4.

  10. Bob Bringhurst says:

    I don’t understand your question. You can put endnotes in any text block (text frame) you want.

  11. hi,Switched from Pagemaker to Indesign CS4 to write a book that is about 2/3’s graphic content and 1/3 text and need the endnote script written by Peter kahrel to function to proceed. Executed the Endnote Script into my document that had about 7 footnotes. It took away all the footnotes —Question 01:where did the script put the footnotes?Another problem encountered that perhaps might be fixed by unified endnotes: As the text portion of my book only covers 1/3 of each page am using text boxes on each page but this makes each page footnote start at “1” when it needs to be a continuous 1,2,3,4…thru each section. Set footnote options as “continuous each section” however this did not affect the numbering of the footnotes.Question 02: Is it possible to get continuous 1,2,3,4…footnotes or endnotes by using individual text boxes on each page?Question 03:I have written heavily footnoted documents using MS Word but thought Indesign CS4 would allow me to write and place my graphics as i go. Is this a reasonable assumption with heavy footnoting?Thank-you, Frances Hamilton

  12. nabil says:

    This is not a solution
    Must be the solution options in footnotes

  13. claudie says:

    Thanks a lot, I followed your tutorial and it works very well to go from the text to the note, but I don’t know how to come back to the text from the note. I wanted to create a return link but it’s not possible because the number of the note is not considered as text and can’t be selected to become a source of hyperlink. The only solution I found is to create the link from a punctuation mark following the number, but it’s a little disturbing, non natural, when you read the text.
    Thanks a lot for your help and apologies for my english.

  14. Claudie Voisenat says:

    Thanks a lot, it’s brillant. But can you tell me how I can return from the note to the text (to the footnote reference in the text)? It’s impossible to make an hyperlink from the number of the note because it’s not a text. The only solution I foung is to create that hyperlink from a point following the number, but it’s not very natural when you read (you naturally try to find the link on the number) and you might have a better idea.
    Thanks a lot for your help.

  15. Bob Bolst says:

    There’s more than one way to skin a cat! Excellent.

  16. Bunnyslippers says:

    I second Claudia’s question: I would love to find a way to make the link between the endnote reference and the endnote text a two-way link, where each is the source and destination for the other, so that the endnotes could function the way they do in (I hate to say the name) MS Word.

  17. Gordon Lister says:

    anyone trying to use this feature with references in scientific papers?

  18. Hoolahoop says:


  19. JackBarron says:

    Nice. A creative way to “work-around”. Wasn’t able to find what cross-references could be used for (still new to me).
    Well, BTW, if anyone could suggest some work-around techniques to span a footnotes to 2 columns…

  20. Mike Heine says:

    Boy, sure sounds like Framemaker all over again …

  21. marintina says:

    Thank you so much! this was really helpful!
    Could anyone PLS help me with numbering my endnotes? I have 3 pages of endnotes and numbering start -again- at 1, every page i use and it seems weird in the text. Thank you in advance!

  22. kelly says:

    Hi! I have an ebook in inDesign with over 300 endnotes for which I want to create hyperlinks with the notes inside the text..How am I goin to do this? Thank you in advance!

  23. olivia says:


  24. rod Laughin says:

    I have both endnotes and footnotes. The footnotes stack. There’s a new line for every footnote. Many of my footnotes are only 15-20 characters. Is there any way to string several on a line so I won’t have to use three lines for 60 characters?

  25. Katy Kauffman says:

    When I placed my Word document into InDesign, I lost the section breaks I had, so that my endnotes are numbered continously. Is there any easy way to change the endnote numbering back to like it was in Word, without having to manually change the numbers? I know how to to make sections in InDesign, which I did. But the endnotes didn’t change back when I made sections. Please help! Thanks, Katy

  26. Ane Louise says:


  27. nancy Roberts says:

    Regarding Katy Kauffman’s May 6 note.
    I will soon have a similar problem of trying to have notes at the end of each chapter and each set of notes starting at 1.
    If I get the client to send a separate file of each chapter with its endnotes, and then book the files to create my publication in InDesign, will the chapter endnotes stay with each chapter and stay correctly numbered?
    Has anyone already tried this?
    Nancy R.