Hyperlinked Footnotes

If you’re publishing your eBook through Smashwords then you cannot use the inbuilt footnotes in Microsoft Word. As far as I’m aware Amazon will convert these, but Smashwords will flatly refuse.

I managed to get round this by coming up with a way of keeping your footnotes, but format them slightly differently.

It’s fiddly, so I recommend working zoomed into the document so everything is big and easy to select.

I may create a video on this at some point, but at the moment I am just going to try and explain how I do it. First I would suggest taking a look at my video Creating a Linked Table of Contents Manually if you’re not familiar with creating hyperlinks in Word documents.

Ok, so first of all you need to decide whether to add your footnotes to the end of the page, the end of the chapter or the end of the complete book. I am working on a book at the moment where I am formatting individual chapters and the footnotes are all at the end of the document.

Number the footnotes according to what they would be in the printed version of the book, for example:

1 – This is footnote number one

2 – This is footnote number two

You then need to go through these and create a bookmark on the number, so select just the number and insert a bookmark, call it something simple like fn1, fn2 and so on. If you already have the footnote numbers within the text you just need to add bookmarks to these as well, I use n1, n2 etc… for the in text numbers.

Once all the bookmarks are in place you then need to go through and hyperlink them all, so within the text you hyperlink the numbers to fn1, fn2, fn3… and on the footnotes themselves, hyperlink the numbers to n1, n2, n3 etc…

It’s very much like creating a linked table of contents, but rather than linking all the chapter headings back to TOC you are linking them back to each individual piece of text.

Here’s an example of how the in text looks when linked (you may need to click on the image to see it properly):

intext footnotes

And here are the footnotes at the end of the chapter:

footnotes end

Like I said, it does take quite a bit of time to do this, especially if you have a lot of footnotes. I formatted John Keats and Benjamin Robert Haydon. The Pursuit of Beauty and Truth. which had nearly 350 footnotes, now that took a lot of time, but the end result was worth it for the author.

Hopefully I have explained this well enough for you to follow, but feel free to ask any questions in the comments below.


  1. Hmmm, it’s been a while since I was working with them, but this sounds like the sort of thing you could do automatically with a Word macro. Might save you a bit of time!

    • Quite possibly Shaun, but when I am formatting for eBook using macros can cause some problems when it comes to converting the document to eBook, so Mobi or ePub files. I always ensure everything I do within a document is as clean as possible. 🙂

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