I recently began using Scrivener and am extremely impressed. A feature that I think would be nice to have is the ability to create blind, or leader, notes, instead of traditional footnotes when compiling: While many books use numbered footnotes or endnotes, many other books use a style where all notes are at the end, and are linked by page number and the phrase being annotated in bold, rather than superscripted numbers or symbols. These leader notes generally look like this:
25 words in the text: here is a comment about this phrase, even though no footnote is found in the text.
This way, the reader isn’t distracted by superscripted numbers, but can easily look up a reference in the back. Scrivener already allows phrases to be highlighted and footnoted in the inspector, so hopefully this won’t be too difficult an addition during compilation.
This is a good suggestion - I’d probably implement it for comments rather than footnotes, though. Added to the list of possibilities for the future.
For now, here is an idea for approaching the problem with existing tools:
Keep a leader notes document at the end of your draft which has all of your notes. For each note, add the following:
Page <$p>: Content of the note
Now select the “<$p>” part, right-click on it, and create a Scrivener Link back to the document which this note references. When used with full-featured word processor (or PDF print), Scrivener will insert a code here to replace the <$p> part and turn it into a page number, corresponding to the section that you linked to with the Scrivener Link.
Main draw-backs are: if your section size granularity is too large (as in: are your documents as big as chapters?), then this won’t work as well. The page number will always be the title head for the chapter, and so twenty notes meant to point to various places within the chapter would all reference the same page number. So for this to work effectively, you would need to be comfortable working in Scrivener’s outline at a much tighter section break-down. Even then, the reference would be a little sloppy. The section might start at the very bottom of page 162, and the note is intended to reference text on page 163: it would still report 162 because all it can be aware of is the start of the section. Second drawback that I can think of is that there is no link-back for you. You could of course create a Scrivener link at the ended spot, pointing to this notes document, but it would kind of being vague and you might as well just click on the notes document at that point in the binder.
A potential work-around for that would be to store all of the individual notes as small child documents within a “Notes” document, and have them all set to compile “As-Is” so they don’t acquire titles or anything and just look like a block of text when you compile them. The other advantage to this method is that it would be pretty easy to create them and the back-link. Consider:
- You are typing along and want to add a note. Select some text for your benefit so that you know a note is there, and press Cmd-L
- Select the “Notes” folder or file as the destination, and give it a meaningful name
- The note pops up in QuickReference (by default). Type in “Page :” and then pop open the References split in the QR window.
- Opt-Drag the automatically created internal link that Scrivener puts when you create a link like this into the spot directly in front of the colon
- Select the title it added and type in “<$p>”
- Close QR window when done and resume typing.
Now you have a two-way linked note that refers back to the source location by page number. Hardly elegant like a footnote is, but maybe something worth trying until an official feature comes along.
Hi—I’m also planning to use blind endnotes, and I’m wondering if there’s any development of this feature.
I’m afraid not. It’s one that has sat on the “possibilities” list for the past nine years but has never got off the ground. Yours is probably only the third request we’ve had for it.
That said, owing to changes in Scrivener since 2010, this would probably be a little easier to implement these days, so I’ve bumped it back up the list to explore.
All the best,
I too would find blind endnotes a useful addition.
Just adding my voice here – would love to see this.
Also, I think one reason you may have had fewer users request this feature is that people don’t know what to call it or how to ask for it. Many of us have seen this done in books that we have read, but few know this “blind endnote” terminology.
It strikes me that Scrivener is already much of the way there, given that one can attach a footnote to a selection of text rather than to a marker. But of course, I’m not on the inside. Thanks for continuing to consider this.
Hi, I’m working on my second biography using Scrivener, and would love to be able to use blind endnotes.
(Here’s my first book btw:)