Hide any footnotes and endnotes in a Word doc

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Hiding Footnotes or Endnotes in a Word document is possible but needs a little trickery.

Maybe you want a ‘clean’ version of the document without the clutter of notes. Or maybe the footnotes/endnotes are your own references for sources of information not intended for others to see.

Ideally there should be options to print or export to PDF a document with or without the footnotes or endnotes. It’s a common need and feature request that’s been consistently ignored by Microsoft. In the meantime there’s only a workaround. We’ll start with some simple text and footnotes.

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In short, the usual workaround is to change the footnote/endnote styles (i.e. styles ‘Footnote Text’ and ‘Endnote Text’) to ‘Hidden’ under the Style settings choose Font then Hidden Text.

Style%20 %20Font%20 %20Hidden - Hide any footnotes and endnotes in a Word doc

Don’t worry, Word has improved its handling of Hidden text from the days when gaps where left in the document where paragraphs were hidden.

In recent versions of Word you can change the Footnote Text style to ‘Hidden’. The footnote reference numbers and text disappear but not the dividing line.

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Word is being tricky here. Strictly speaking only the footnote text should be hidden with the reference numbers remaining (since they are in a different style). However Word detects that you’ve changed the Footnote Text style to Hidden and not only changes that style but also the preceding references. In other words, Microsoft Word developers make the document change to do what you expect (i.e. hide the entire footnote) rather than strictly what you have requested.
What a shame they didn’t go the whole way and hide the dividing line as well <sigh>.

However the superscript references in the text remain visible. In theory you have to also change the …. Reference’ styles to Hidden however that triggers a Footnote bug in Word.

Fully Hiding Footnotes

To hide the footnotes and reference numbers as much as possible

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Change the two footnote styles like this:

Footnote Reference

Make the text Hidden and also as small as possible. The Footnote line is still there (because the reference number is still there), reducing the font size makes the vertical line height as small as possible. That shrinks the gap between the dividing line and bottom margin.

Change Font settings to:

  • Font size: 1
  • Font Color: White (or whatever matches the background)
  • Hidden: ON
  • Superscript: ON (still)
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Footnote text

Turning on ‘Hidden’ is enough.

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Footnotes as tooltips only

If you hide only the footnotes (ie the Footnote Text style) and not the references (the Footnote reference style) then the reference indexes will still appear in the document with the tooltip showing the footnote text when the mouse hovers over it.

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If the document is only being read on-screen as a Word document (not a PDF) then this might suit you.

Hiding endnotes

You can hide Endnotes in the same way; by changing the Endnotes Text and Endnotes Reference styles.

However you might not need to, if the Endnotes are set to appear at the end of the whole document.

In that case, just change ‘Endnotes Reference’ style to hidden (to remove the numbering in the document) and insert a page break at the very end of the document text (which will put the Endnotes onto a separate page).

Then print / export the entire document up to the last page of the main document but before the endnote pages.

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