Cross-referencing footnotes inside footnotes?


I moved over to Scrivener as my main writing programme in December. It’s a great piece of software that has really improved my productivity, thank you!

For my thesis, I’m using the OSCOLA citation standard, which uses the system set out below for repeat citations in footnotes.

  1. Re MB (An Adult: Medical Treatment) [1997] 2 FCR 541 (CA).
  2. ibid 545 (Butler-Sloss LJ).
  3. D v United Kingdom 30240/96 (1997) 24 EHRR 423 (ECtHR).
  4. Re MB (n 1) 546 (Butler-Sloss LJ).

My question is whether there is a way in Scrivener to get the cross-reference in 4. ‘(n 1)’ automatically to populate when I compile the work?

At the moment, I’m just doing (n x), and adding in the cross-references in MS Word using the Insert>Cross-reference tool, which has the footnote number as a field, and as such is capable of automatic updates. However, since I go through multiple compiles (such as when I send segments off for review), it would be great if there were a way for Scrivener to automate this process.

Many thanks in advance for your help,


Have you considered using some kind of citation manager, like EndNote, Bookends or Sente? With these you can insert a code, much like you’re doing right now by hand it sounds like, and then if they have a Word add-in you can format the compiled RTF right there in Word. Or, with some you can use RTF scanning to turn the placeholders into proper citations, then you can avoid Word altogether for that process. At the very least this totally automates the step where you are having to insert each reference one-by-one. All of that could be done in one step with the right tool. We don’t really have any intention of expanding Scrivener into that role, it’s really for another dedicated piece of software. Just make sure when selecting one that it supports the notion of converting plain-text placeholders to formatted citations in one way or another.

For a purely Scrivener approach, no helper software, there are a few things that could help. Replacements, done during compile time, can take abbreviations you type in and expand them to full text. So you could condense a long citation down to a code you type in and have it expand out each time when compiling.

I would only consider that for light use though. As you can probably see, this tool wasn’t really designed for industrial use. I wouldn’t want to maintain a large list of things there.

Anyway, welcome to Scrivener! Glad it’s helping out with your work.

Many thanks for the reply.

I should have mentioned that I am using Endnote, and it is because of the limitations of that software, whose features in respect of footnoted citation styles are still way behind those for in-text styles, that this problem arises. I may have to struggle on with the Word approach.

Thanks again!

My wife and I both use Zotero for reference software. Standalone, on our Macs. Synced to the cloud, so we can use it on any device. It supports OSCOLA, the standard according to which I cite, and Vancouver (my wife) very well.

The protocol to assign tags in Scrivener and scan in Word is well documented and works a treat.