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Take control of footnotes, sidenotes and endnotes in Affinity Publisher 2

Do you want to change notes from one type to another? Affinity can do the laborious job of moving them to the correct position. You can even use its conversion features to do more with notes placed from Microsoft Word documents. Here’s how.

What is a note?

Notes provide commentary and citations in support of a publication’s main text. You’ve probably encountered them in formal contexts such as academic and business reports. A diversity of authors, including Ernest Hemingway, Terry Pratchett and James Joyce, have employed notes in creative and comical ways too.

A note comprises two parts:

  • A reference that consists of one or more characters, positioned immediately after relevant words in main text and usually set in superscript.
  • A corresponding body prefixed with the reference, and whose position in the publication depends on the note’s type and your selected options.

You can learn about the distinctions between footnotes, sidenotes and endnotes at

A note’s type can be changed at any time. When you need to do this, you only have to tell Affinity Publisher 2 what to convert. It’ll move note bodies to the correct position in your publication for you. This feature is available on desktop and iPad.

You can convert all notes of the same type or only those within your selection. This allows you to quickly try out alternative position and presentation options, or to simply fix notes with an incorrect type.

Converting notes

You’ll find conversion options on the Notes panel’s Preferences menu.

The Convert Notes option is always available. It presents a dialog on which you can specify the note types you wish to convert from and to, and whether to convert all notes in your document or only those within the current selection.

With a text range or text object selected, the menu contains additional options that begin with Convert Selection to, which saves you a few interactions on the Convert Notes dialog. These options are the quickest way to fix notes that you’ve inserted as the wrong type.

Notes from Microsoft Word documents

Your publication’s workflow might mean that text is provided to you in Microsoft Word’s DOCX file format, rather than typed directly into Affinity Publisher 2. Footnotes and endnotes the author has inserted using Word will be retained when the file is placed in your Affinity document.

You have full control of the placed notes’ settings. So, although Microsoft’s word processor does not support sidenotes, you can choose to convert placed footnotes or endnotes to that type.

In fact, you can experiment by applying Affinity’s abundance of other presentation options to the placed notes in whatever combination you wish.

Technical author

Alan is part of our technical authoring team and joined us from the world of magazines (MacUser), where he wrote up software techniques and worked on pioneering interactive digital editions. When he’s not neck-deep in page layouts, layer masks and adjustment layers, you’ll often find him digging through second-hand records for interesting sleeve artwork or gazing in wonderment at the graphical variety of Japanese video games.