footnotes to inline footnotes

Is there a way to convert footnotes to inline footnotes really easily? or do I have to manually do it?

Format > Convert > Inline Footnotes to Inspector Footnotes. I recommend glancing through them after the conversion to ensure that everything is correct, and backing up first, just to be extra safe, but this should do the trick. You do need to do it for each document though.
All the best,

To do it quickly, you can load all the footnoted documents in a Scrivenings session and then do the convert and it will do all of them at once.



Note that in most cases this will result in anchor points getting placed where you want them to be, but after doing a bulk conversion, it’s a good idea to click through each note in the inspector and make sure the grey box ends where you want the reference marker to appear. In some unusual cases, Scrivener has to make a best guess over what you meant, and it might not guess right.

Is there a way to move the anchor point with footnotes in the inspector panel mode? I’ve run into this problem a could of times and the only way I could figure out to move the anchor point was to covert to inline footnotes, then back.



Matt, that’s definitely one route to take, and will be easiest if you are trying to move the note through text that doesn’t need to change. If the desire for moving the anchor is because you added a word or something to the end of the sentence, then you can edit in an around the note.

What if you want the anchor to be at the end of the sentence, but you need to add new text to the sentence? It seems like anytime you add text to the end of a sentence you end up with a footnote in the middle of the sentence.

Perhaps this is simply a limitation of the inspector footnote system since the anchor seems tied to a word in the text, rather than existing as an independent marker of some kind. Something to think about . . .

Start typing inside the footnote instead of at the end of it. This usually means you’ll need to click one character over and then just erase the extra character you had to cut in to.

You’re right, this is one of the limitations of linked notes as they currently stand. There are actually a lot of interesting advantages and disadvantages to both systems.

Agreed! I think my preference would be for a marker of some kind (an asterisk or something,) but I haven’t thought through the larger implications of that . . .

Thanks for listening!


Actually, the problem with the footnotes is the reason why I’ve stopped using Scrivener. I still think it’s a remarkable application, but I need to use footnotes a lot in my writing, and I’m not comfortable with the way Scrivener handles them. If only there were a conventional marker (like a number) that the note was anchored to, I would be happy. As it is, I’ve gone over to using Nisus, though with some regret.

Best wishes, Martin.

Nisus is a great application, and if you can move to a linear word processor so easily then you don’t really need Scrivener anyway, because it is Scrivener’s organisational and research tools that most users come to Scrivener for before taking it to a word processor such as the excellent Nisus. Many users find Scrivener’s way of handling footnotes just fine, I spent a long time thinking the system though, and it’s not going to change. Scrivener is not a layout program or word processor and it has no concept of the numbers until compiled for very sound reasons. But good luck with your writing in whichever tool you use - you’ve been a valued contributor to these forums and will be missed!

How very kind of you to say that I will be missed – not sure for what! – but I’m afraid you haven’t got rid of me yet! I upgraded to the latest version of Scrivener, and I’m sure I shall be using it in the future. I’m just not sure quite how, and at this particular stage of my work I found I had to go to a straight word processor for what I was doing. I realised that I had started to avoid writing footnotes, which is not how things should be. But I’m sure the next project will spend some of its time in Scrivener – until I need to start footnoting!
Best wishes,

For what it’s worth: anyone considering switching away from Scriv b/c of the footnoting concerns–keep trying. Linked notes are wonderful! And easier to use than conventional footnotes in Word while writing. I say this as a professional historian who uses footnotes all the time–hundreds and hundreds of them–and who ONLY writes in Scrivener. Of course, you might have problems I’ve not encountered but after two decades of writing with Word and using footnotes extensively I have found that Scriv does everything I need.

Absolutely, I’m in the same boat and not about to give up Scrivener. Footnotes work great for me, but a cleaner way of moving the anchor around the text would be nice when I am editing.

Thanks omsc!

Regarding moving anchors, that is a good point. What about a “Copy comment/footnote” or “Cut comment/footnote” and and “Paste comment/footnote” feature, or something like that? I agree that it does need some easy way to move the anchors, so any suggestions on the best way for this to work would be appreciated.

Hmm, or maybe there could be an “Assign to selection” command in the footnote/comment inspector ctrl-click menu - that might work well. So, you could select some text in the editor, and then ctrl-click on the footnote you want to reassign in the inspector and choose “Assign to selection”, and the link will move to the selected text. That might be a simple solution.

And Martin, of course you’ll be missed - we’ve had some nice discussions in the past so I’m glad we’re not getting rid of you completely!

All the best,

Some sort of cut and paste solution is the first thing that popped into my mind as well. If there was an intuitive and easy way to cut a linked note of any type, and then paste it as a range into the text that would be pretty slick. The selected text would then become the new anchor, or the nearest word.

Another solution could be to instead follow the model that Scrivener already uses in other places, whereby a range is selected and something is then done with that range with a menu command. So say you select a new range of text, then right-click on the note and select a menu command that re-anchors. Right-click is probably the best way to do this, a standard menu item or button would get confusing because you can select more than one note at a time.

The solution that I am thinking of would be a combination of the inline and inspector systems currently in use. The anchor in the text for inspector footnotes would be a symbol enclosed in a box like the current inline system, but the content of the note would reside in the inspector panel. The symbol could be anything and could be the same for all notes. This would “unhook” the note to a specific piece of text, thereby allowing for more flexible editing.

I have no idea if that is doable, but it seems more intuitive than copy and pasting footnotes . . .

Part of the problem with that idea is that you are thinking in terms of the anchor being a discrete object. At the most (without completely redesigning the whole thing!) what this could feasibly be would be an asterisk in a footnote linked box—this has a few issues. For one, it would just be an asterisk in a box—an actual asterisk in your text stream. That means if you delete the footnote, the asterisk doesn’t get deleted. It means that if you put your cursor in the footnote box and start typing it is no longer an asterisk. This raises further complications in that the compiler would have to be able to identify non-important footnote markers because the system you are proposing would require the text of the footnote anchor to be removed as well as the footnote, when the compiler is set to not export footnotes. Otherwise you have 400 asterisks in your project and who knows what else.

So even if Scrivener just created an asterisk in a link (much like it currently does for text bookmarks), it wouldn’t be very stable. It wouldn’t resist odd editing choices and abuse very well.

The main problem though is that, at this point, the cat is out of the bag. There are already countless many people using the new footnote system and untold quantities of notation that already use a system predicated on the notion that the footnote is a link on top of vital book content. You can’t just switch to stripping out the link contents in a minor update.

Another thing to consider is that a lot of people like the fact that you can highlight the text that the footnote is actually talking about. You aren’t constrained to guesswork like you are with a word processor. The context is immediately obvious and right in front of you.

I think re-assigning the anchor point solves the immediately problem and keeps Scrivener the flexible author-biased drafting tool it is.

I’ve already emailed Keith and Ioa about this, but just to add a comment here: my personal view is that linking footnotes to any of the specific words in the text is really not the best way to do things. But this is partly because I’ve got used to having a footnote marker that is discrete. There are advantages to this, in that it makes it easy to rework the text near the footnote marker. I admit that I am an inveterate “fiddler” with text, so there aren’t many sentences in any text of mine that don’t get completely rewritten at some time or another. This is a problem when there is anything linked to particular words or phrases. It’s not a problem when the footnote marker is discrete. Someone above said that they prefer Scrivener’s footnote system to that of Word. I’m the opposite – I far prefer Word’s system in that it has a discrete marker. That is exactly why I have gone over to using Nisus for the moment. I, too, have about twenty years in historical and other research, and am used to writing texts with hundreds of footnotes, but I personally don’t find working with footnotes a comfortable experience in Scrivener (at the moment). As for highlighting the text, again I’m on the opposite side – I actually want my footnote markers to be unobtrusive, so they don’t distract me. And I really, really don’t want to have to decide whether the footnote refers to the previous sentence, two sentences, the whole paragraph, or whatever. I can descend into complete paralysis over the simplest of decisions, so more of them are not welcome :wink:. Moreover, the readers won’t have any such visual cues to help them, and I believe I should see things with their eyes as far as possible.

But I really do wish Scrivener well, and I know everyone working on it will do their best to come up with a good solution to the problem.

Best wishes to all,