Can someone explain footnotes to me???

Hi, I’m new to scrivener (mac), really new to it. I am not understanding the footnote concept in Scrivener.

I understand that I select an insertion point for my footnote, press the “fn” button and then I get an unstructured text block on the right hand side of the screen.

Is there not some input guidelines or automated way of getting a footnote formatted correctly? I use Endnote x5 and I used to simply use CWYW. Now I’m looking at Scrivener and wondering what am I really getting by using it instead of MS-Word?

Can anyone clear this up for me, I’m lost and fed up trying to locate some sort of direction on footnotes.


A footnote is merely a piece of text that appears at the foot of the page – it might say something like “It seems to me that this should be clarified” or it might consist of a reference to the source of some piece of information, like “Smith and Jones, 1991”. If you want citations in your footnotes and you are using bibliographic software, what you typically do is to put in a “temporary citation”, which commonly looks something like {Smith and Jones, 1991} in the footnote panel. The curly braces are about the most common temporary citation markers. Some programs, like EndNote, usually want an ID number as well, so that you get {Smith and Jones, 1991 #69985} or something like that. When you have finished the piece you are writing, you compile to RTF, and scan the RTF file with your bibliographic manager, which will convert the temporary citations to whatever format you specify, and compile the bibliography for you.

The advantages of using Scrivener become very apparent when you have a long piece of work to write. If you are preparing a book of 150,000 words and you need to get the structure right, then you don’t want to do it in Word, believe me. I once used CWYW for a few minutes and it drove me nuts, but perhaps the implementation has improved.

Cheers, Martin.

OK I see things better, THX for the clarification. I have another question . . . how do you manage the page numbering for the inserted quote. I understand that the placeholder references a entry in EndNote but I am unsure how to co-ordinate ref page numbers?


Sorry, but you are not being clear in what you write. Do you mean that when you quote a piece of text from a source work you want the accompanying temporary citation in your footnote or main text to include the number of the page(s) from which the quotation is taken? If so, the most common way to do this is to make your temporary citation something like {Smith, 1991 #65598@131}. The number which comes after the “@” sign being the page number. EndNote should be intelligent enough to replace the “@” sign with “p.” in the case of a single page, or “pp.” if you give a range of pages (e.g. @131-5). But I haven’t used EndNote for about five years (I use Sente now – EndNote drove me mad eventually). All this stuff should be in the EndNote manual, I would really recommend that you read it, because I am giving you information based on five years ago, plus my knowledge of how these things work in other programs of the kind (I’ve also used Bookends).

All the best, Martin.

THX Martin for the help. I may sound a little vague in formulating my query, but it is due to the fact that I’m by no means a computer geek/poweruser and this stuff is quite new to me with respect to using 3 and 4 different software packages to get an academic job done.

As you suggested I HAVE looked at the manual online, or should I say the online help. My use of Endnote is mandated for use through a volume license agreement and a printed manual is nowhere in sight, or I surely would have “read” it. However, not knowing what to look for as a noob, severly limits my ability solve my problem without turning to the support forums.

No problem – if you’ve never used such programs before they are certainly bewildering. But that makes use of the manual even more important, particularly when they are as complex, or as full of options, as something like EndNote. And as I pointed out to someone else here only yesterday, I would have thought that the EndNote forums (I assume they exist) would be a better place to look for help on using EndNote. There are certainly some people here who use EndNote, but to judge from the number who respond to queries about EndNote they are very few, whereas the EndNote forums ought to be full of habitual users. In my case I stopped using it five or six years ago, so I’m hardly up to date with its features and operation. Against that, there is certainly a sense of community here, so you usually get some sort of answer :wink:

I hope you work it all out,


Please accept my apologies for asking my question within yours - but it is the same vein.

I am using Scrivener and Endnote x4 on my mac. I have no problems with the main text body when I compile my document and then format it within Endnote. However, the footnotes do not seem to format and are still visible as they were in Scrivener e.g.:

This would include epilepsy, multiple sclerosis, and Parkinson’s disease {House of Lords, 2005 #391: 36}

Have I missed a checkbox somewhere? Or should I be formatting footnotes in a different way to those in the main body.

Help very much appreciates, and once again sorry for asking within your question.

I can only repeat that I haven’t used EndNote for several years, so I can only guess at why it is doing this. I would think it should take a whole RTF document, scan it, and pick up temporary citations irrespective of whether they are in footnotes or elsewhere, but I’ve no idea what settings EndNote has these days. You should consult the manual, or their forums. Incidentally, have you changed the normal identifier for page numbers? I thought it was usually “@”. Use of the wrong identifier might cause EndNote not to be able to resolve the citation, but it ought to tell you if it can’t.


Thanks Martin,

No worries, always worth asking, also someone else may fall across the question and be able to answer it.

Unfortunately the the page identifier is not the issue (I did change it to check) - my academic discipline uses colons rather than the letter p signifier for page numbers. It’s the same identifier I use within the main body and it works as it should in that respect.

I have joined the Endnote forums and have asked there also. I asked a question in January on both forums and the best answers (which solved my problem) came from this one, hence, my addition to the original question.

Best wishes


I think nom is the resident expert on EndNote here – at least, my shattered memory has just dragged up that handle in relation to EndNote.


I have finally figured out how to get the EndNote citation into a DevonThink reference note. to see how I did it visit this post over at Devonthink’s forum.

I use it by adding the appropriate DTP documents as ref docs for a particular topic which means I can just review my ref documents and add the citation information as I write instead of going back and for from EndNote to DTP and finally Scrivener.

Now I just need to automate the pasting of the reference, for example e.g.{Stuttaford, 1999 #69} into the footnote contained in Scrivener.

Tim, I have the exact same issue. Have you found an answer yet?

I’m only chiming in to give you a Scrivener forums hint: If you can change the title of this discussion thread (so that it’s changed in the list of all Technical Support(Mac) threads), you might want to change it to include “EndNote” somewhere. That’ll likely get more attention from any EndNote experts who might be skipping over this thread.

Otherwise, a new post “Newbie Endnote in Scriv Footnotes question” with a link to this one for more context might get you more exposure to EndNote guru eyeballs.

Good luck!

I’m late to this thread (didn’t realise it was EndNote related). If I’m understanding correctly (no guarantees), then it seems that the issue is not with using EndNote and Scrivener, but getting Endnote to format citations correctly in the final compiled document. This is best done within Word (or Pages, or other document construction word processor of your choice). I trialled running a RTF through EndNote and decided I did not need that level of pain at the end of my thesis. Much easier to use Word.

For myself, I wrote my entire doctoral thesis in Scrivener, and either drag & dropped, cut & paste or manually entered EndNote citations throughout the text. Once I compiled to Word, then I converted citations to the appropriate publication format (in my case, APA style). Any remaining issues at this stage were either problems with my EndNote settings in Word or problems with the way I had initially entered the reference in EndNote.

Note, if your university/college has a site licence for EndNote, then it will likely have an introductory guide available. My library had a little booklet, published by EndNote, available for all students and staff - but we had to specifically ask for it or attend one of their EndNote training sessions (also worth doing).