Scrivener + Zotero + classic footnotes at the end of the page

I would like to write my current book in Scrivener. However, I have the following problem: It is a science-based book, so there are many sources and notes. I have now invested a day to understand how Zotero interacts with Scrivener. In the meantime, I can create a bibliography by inserting the sources from Zotero as footnotes in brackets, then compiling them as RTF and having them inserted via RTF Scan in Zotero. Check. But: I also have annotations that I would like to insert as footnotes in the text. However, when I do an export as RTF from Scrivener, no footnotes are inserted (even though I have checked Export footnotes as endnotes in the compilation settings). Is it even possible to insert footnotes when using the Zotero integration? And if so, how do I get the bibliography and footnotes with references to the text into the output file?

The ideal result would be: a document with a bibliography in the appendix and footnotes directly at the end of each page with annotations to the text (however, the sources necessary for Zotero, which I have inserted in the footnotes in brackets, should not be cited again at the end of each page, but only in the bibliography at the end of the document).

Is that possible?

I use Bookends rather than Zotero, but the principle is the same. I put the temporary citation as inline footnotes—as they are short so do not make the text unreadable—and the other longer notes as Inspector footnotes. Compile is set to export inline footnotes as endnotes and Inspector footnotes as footnotes.

I think you can set Scrivener Compile to use different note markers, but I normally sort that out in my wp, Nisus Writer Pro, along with anything else. For instance, Scrivener puts endnotes at the end of the complete document. It is easy to sort that out in NWP so that they appear at the end of a chapter; I presume it is also straightforward in Word, but as I have been “Word-free” since about 2002, I don’t know how.

When I scan with Bookends—you can do that within NWP … I don’t know about Zotero from that point of view—it creates the Bibliography automatically at the end of the document.

HTH :slight_smile:


Thanks for your reply Mark. But I am still not able to solve the problem (when using Zotero).

It seems to me that I have to decide whether to use Zotero or Footnotes. I have now spent half a day looking for a solution, but could not find one, which surprises me. The problem of using both sources and footnotes in a text is one that has to be encountered frequently. I will describe the problem again below:

For Zotero, I have to write the source in square brackets in a Scrivener footnote, e.g. {Source 1, 2021}. Then I have a footnote with text, an additional note, etc., e.g. “The author of this source is financially supported by XYZ”.

For Zotero, I have to compile the Scrivener file as RTF. Then run the RTF through the Zotero RTF scan. After that I have a bibliography in a RFT file. If I now open the RTF file in Word, I have the bibliography and all the footnotes listed in the appendix, including those that are just for Zotero and those that are important notes. So in my example it would say:

  1. {Source 1, 2021}
  2. the author of this source is financially supported by XYZ

With two footnotes, I could of course now delete the first source by hand. But in a book with hundreds of footnotes, that’s no longer so easy.

There must be a simple solution here.Otherwise Scrivener would be practically unusable for a large number of authors, because I don’t want to choose either a bibliography or footnotes. Is it really possible that there is no reasonably simple solution here?

That seems very strange to me. Here is a zipped folder which contains: (1) a small Scrivener project with some text, an inline footnote and an Inspector footnote, both of which have (nonsensical) comments about the source; (2) “footnote-example.rtf”, which is the compiled document, which I have regularised in NWP to Times New Roman and a couple of changes to footnote/endnote markers and indentation (which I would do normally as part of checking over any compiled document … I have macros to do that); (3) “footnote-example-scanned.rtf” which I scanned with Bookends from within NWP with the references sorted and the bibliography created and inserted. As I said in my last post, Scrivener puts the Endnotes right at the end of the complete document, so here it appears after the bibliography—one of the things I would sort out in NWP, but which I haven’t bothered to do for this purpose.
The text explains how I have gone about creating the notes using Scrivener and Bookends.

HTH :slight_smile:


Scrivener supports both inline and inspector footnotes. Use one stream for the Bibliography, and the other for the informational footnotes.

Make sure that your Compile options are set appropriately. (“Gear” tab in the right hand pane of the main Compile screen.)

Also make sure that you have the most current version of Scrivener, as there were some recently fixed bugs that affected this.

If that still doesn’t work, please open a support ticket, here:

Reference this thread and attach a sample project that demonstrates the problem.


Thank you very much for your post Mark! I really appreciate it, that you took the time and even sent me the documents. I had a look at them and I can see it works for your setup (Bookends + NWP).

But I have some inner resistance to buying a new citation manager in addition to a new writing software. I’m also a little afraid of the time it will take to get used to two (or three, when also using NWP) new tools. It is quite frustrating that it is not easier to use Scrivener with Zotero (& Word). I mean, this tools are quite common, there should be also a solution…

So I am still trying to get a solution with Zotero & Word. Thanks to your example, I think I’m one step further, but I still haven’t reached my goal. I am now trying to have two streams of footnotes. The inline footnotes that are displayed directly at the bottom of each page and the inspector footnotes in which I enter the sources for the bibliography. When compiling, I then select “Export inspector footnotes as endnotes” (so that they are not shown at the end of each page).

Result: The inline footnotes are correctly displayed at the bottom of each page. Via the RTF scan, Zotero also inserts a bibliography at the end of the document via the sources from the Inspector footnotes. Problem: The Inspector footnotes are still numbered in the text and appear listed again on the last page. The question now is, how do I get the Inspector footnotes out of the continuous text, because they are actually only there for Zotero. I would like to quote in the text with the author’s name (year) and without a footnote, as is usual in scientific journals.

Thanks for helping me out. And I am still wondering, that Scrivener does not have that topic covered in a blog post, video or something like that, because it seems so common to me, that you would want a bibliography and footnotes…

Hi, I’ve been giving it more thought:

  1. You can insert the temporary citations directly into the text; they don’t have to be in a footnote/endnote.
  2. Author-Date citation is set within Bookends. You can have full citations if you want, but bear in mind it’s a global setting. Zotero?
  3. Reading through all of this again, I realise that what you are saying is that you want the comment on the source to be footnoted in the bibliography not in the main text. You’re only going to be able to do that once the bibliography is created, because any footnote entry in Scrivener is going to be part of the main text. I think I’d probably go about this by using one of the “User” fields in Bookends to hold the comment text, work out how to append it to the bibliography and then go through turning them all into footnotes on the bibliography. But first I’d post in the appropriate community forum, for Zotero in your case, to see if anyone can find a better solution.
  4. I’m not advocating you change to NWP, that’s merely my choice of word processor, all of this should be possible in Word.
  5. Same goes for Bookends vs Zotero. What matters is having a reference manager you are comfortable with. If you can work out the wrinkles in Zotero and you are comfortable with it, that’s great. I’ve been using Bookends since long before Zotero came out; I tried others and Bookends was the one I was comfortable with. I think the integration is worth paying for, but YMMV.



POSTSCRIPT: I’ve had a quick look at the Bookends user manual: one of the “User” fields is “Notes” and simply by adding b[/b] to the end of the bibliography format string, the contents of that field should be inserted within parentheses against that bibliography entry … which takes you near to where I understand you want to be. Again, is there a similar possibility using Zotero? :slight_smile:

Thank you Mark for the time you invested again to help me :slight_smile:

In fact, I have now found a solution. In the online tutorials I have seen on YouTube, it says that when integrating Zotero & Scrivener, the Zotero source must be given in a footnote. But in fact this is not the case. It is sufficient to put the source in a square bracket in the body text, e.g. {Sample source, 2020}. Zotero does not need any further references in the footnote. It can then read the sources via the RTF scan and attach them to the bibliography. That’s it :slight_smile: So I can then use normal footnotes for any annotations.

Many thanks for the help Mark & Katherine… now that this is solved, I am going to buy the PRO Version of Scrivener :slight_smile:

The smiley might indicate a joke which I don’t get. You do know that there is no “Pro” version of Scrivener? Scrivener without the addendum is already as pro as it gets.

I just felt obliged to mention this as there is a software around called Scrivo Pro for iOS/iPadOS which is not coming from Lit&Lat but presented in a way to make people think it is the mobile companion app to desktop Scrivener. Which it is not. The companion app is called—Scrivener (again no “pro” necessary).

PS: Bookends is indeed a very fine reference manager. You wouldn’t even have to type {reference, 2021} with it. Just saying.

Glad you’ve got yourself sorted. I was a bit confused by where you wanted your “This author of this source…” notes to be placed and linked.

Can I just point out that you repeatedly say, “… the source in a square bracket…” and then give an example where you actually use braces, “{Sample source, 2020}”, not [brackets] unless of course you actually mean “[{Sample source, 2020}]”.



Sorry, if some of my writing was not understandable… I am not a native English speaker… I mean this { } braces… they are needed…

@Suavito: With Pro I meant the Full Version, not the Trial one… thanks for pointing out… and there was no joke you did not get… was just pure happiness that my problems are fixed, therefore the smiley :slight_smile:

Already bought the Full Version of Scrivener for Mac OS and iOS. Looking forward to use the software for my next book :slight_smile:

Cheers for helping me!

Glad to be of help. Come back if/when you have any more questions.



Thank you very much Mark :slight_smile:

Pure happiness is the best of all reasons for a smiley! Great to hear that.

Kathryn, of course, is correct that you can use inline footnotes for end-of-chapter footnotes, and inspector footnotes for endnotes. I’ll just add that this ability is available only for certain Compile types. For example, it is available when compiling to PDF but not to ePub.