New to Scrivener and a bit frustrated already - FOOTNOTES :(

Working on arranging my dissertation in Scrivener, and although I like the concept of this program, I’m having a tough time in practice with the footnotes… Arrggh!

Is there any way to import a document from WORD so that the footnotes don’t get shoved to the bottom as endnotes? Thanks.

Save from Word as RTF and import the RTF file, not the .doc file. That way, the footnotes will get brought in as Scrivener in-line footnotes.

All the best,

Will give this a try, Keith, and see how that works.
Thanks for the reply! :slight_smile:

Tried saving as an RTF with footnotes and Scrivener rejected the import altogether – message received said: “Some files could not be imported because they were of an unsupported file type.”

Is it the case that if I import as a .doc file, the footnotes will be lumped at the bottom of the document, but when it comes time for exporting they will return to their rightful places? Or is this just a dream? If it’s TRUE, then how does one go about editing the footnotes, or is that asking for the moon?

That’s strange. Did the file end with lowercase “.rtf” after you saved it?

No, in that case (as Scrivener doesn’t preserve all of the footnote information in binary DOC files), the footnotes have been converted to regular text. An indication that footnotes have been successfully imported (which only occurs for RTF files) is that the footnotes appear as different colored bubbles wherever their references appeared in the original text.

There’s no alternative but to get the RTF import working if you want to preserve footnotes in their original places. The major limitations I know of are that endnotes and footnotes are treated the same way and you can export them only as one or the other; custom reference marks just get converted to text. But, trust me, it’s no dream: Scrivener really does preserve notes in their basic form and location, thanks to Keith’s hard work. Anyway, sorry you’re frustrated, but hopefully we can get it sorted out so you can get your dissertation material imported while preserving this information.


I think I might have figured something out with your help – rather than just putting on an “rtf” extension (which is what I did last time), this time I actually SAVED THE FILE as RTF… MS Office was a little worried about it, and sent a warning telling me I’d lose stuff, but I reckon this is what Scrivener restores?

I also saw how easy it is to write additional footnotes, but if I ADD a new footnote, does Scrivener re-number the footnotes (in some kind of internal way, because they don’t seem to be numbered anymore), or does this happen in Word after I’ve exported the document?

Also, is there a way to HIDE the bubbled footnotes so they are not so distracting, or can they be shrunk? I’ve got a lot of footnotes…and I think that’ll be distracting.

Also, you were saying something about ENDNOTES…and I’m not sure what you meant, but if I understood correctly: Scrivener cannot tell the difference between a FOOTNOTE and an ENDNOTE? Are there any ways around this, or will this be restored upon export?

On Friday I’m going to show a few PhD colleagues of mine your QT video plus show what I’ve been doing so far. It’ll be good if I have a handle on Scrivener, because I think that so far it seems quite useful for the type of work I am doing.

Thanks again

Right, it’s important that you save into the RTF format if you want to import your documents into Scrivener.

What Word’s warning means is that there may be some advanced Word 2004 features that are lost when you save a document in that way, in RTF format. I don’t know what those features are, but Scrivener doesn’t support them anyway. Any problem like that would be obvious if, say, something disappeared when you imported the document into Scrivener. For example, Scrivener imports comments and footnotes, but not, say, the official way Word wants to “track changes,” so if you had used that Word feature, it would be lost in importing the document into Scrivener. (One way to handle that is to ask your collaborators to use comments, perhaps appended with ": ", as a way to emulate track changes.)

Yes, footnote reference numbers won’t appear while you’re editing it in Scrivener, but they would re-appear in Word once you’ve compiled your draft and opened it there. I think Word calculates these reference numbers just based on the order that the footnotes appear.

You can’t quite hide or shrink them, but you can “dim” footnotes that aren’t currently active by choosing “Ghost Notes Mode” from the “Text” menu. Then whenever the insertion point isn’t in a particular footnote or annotation/comment, it will be dimmed.

Yeah, Scrivener doesn’t distinguish footnotes and endnotes when it imports a file (so that distinction is lost and they all become footnotes in Scrivener). I don’t personally know of a way around it (I don’t use endnotes), but maybe some others here have strategies for dealing with that–like putting a code or marker in all the notes that you want to make into endnotes in the final draft (hopefully not too many to convert).

Once you’ve finished drafting your document you can elect to have Scrivener export the footnotes as either footnotes or endnotes in the resulting RTF. That’s a setting in the “text options” tab in the dialog box that appears when you select “Compile Draft” from the file menu. There are lots of other settings on those three tabs which are worth exploring.

Good luck with that! Scrivener’s been really helpful to me for organizing my academic writing over the last year and half or so. Thanks be to Keith! :smiley: