"Trailing phrase" notes? (ie, endnotes pegged to phrases instead of numbers)

Hi! I’m a journalist working on my first book, a narrative nonfiction account of a 1909 auto race for a trade publisher. Scrivener has been a godsend in every way through my research and now into the writing. However, I haven’t been able to figure out yet how to do “trailing phrase” notes … meaning notes that appear at the end with each citation following a phrase or sentence fragment instead of a number, like you’d see in a book by, say, Laura Hillenbrand or Erik Larson, instead of academic numbering.

I’m using Scrivener 3.2.3 on a MacBook Pro (2021) and have been using what I gather are Linked Footnotes so far (⌃⌘8). The ability to not just drop them in but to pair them with a highlighted portion of text seems like it would be ideally suited to “trailing phrase” notes, but I haven’t been able to figure out how to do it, during trial runs at exporting or compiling.

(I’m only a couple of chapters in, but I’m starting to panic slightly that I might be going about the process wrong if I want to have them appear in the end as trailing-phrase notes and not with superscript numerals.)

Thanks so much!

Well, the bad news is that you can’t do that in Scrivener. At least not directly.

The good news is that there’s a pretty simple workaround. Include the trailing phrase in the body of the note, compile as normal, then strip the footnote markers from the output document.

To facilitate this, I would recommend setting the option to “flatten” footnotes to regular text, which you’ll find in the Compatibility pane of the Compile Format Editor.

Isn’t that what this is for ?






Or, alternatively :



The problem is that you can’t then group annotations or comments at the end of the document, like you can with footnotes.

I guess I am misunderstanding, but I can’t otherwise see why someone would want them inline and as endnotes/footnotes. (?)

I think this is what the OP is trying to do. Hopefully they’ll correct me if I’m mistaken.

Body text:
John said that he was a graduate of Harvard University. But other sources indicated that he had inflated his credentials somewhat, having been expelled from Malden Community College for cheating.

Citation: Malden Community College president Martha Smith, interview, February 15, 2020.

Desired endnote:
“… expelled from Malden Community College for cheating.”
Malden Community College president Martha Smith, interview, February 15, 2020.

Thank you! Now I’m trying to figure out how to find this “flatten” footnotes option in the compatibility pane of the Compile Format Editor. My brain is working at half-speed at the moment — I’ve had a 3-year-old home sick for an endless succession of blurred days and sleepless nights — and I can’t find that anywhere.

I do see in the Scrivener manual that there’s a reference on page 678 to flattening footnotes for a Mac, but it doesn’t seem to explain in step-by-step fashion. I’m also totally new to compiling.

I gather that this is the Compile Overview Screen?

And then by clicking the + at the bottom left in the Formats column there, I then called up this view. Is that the same as the Compile Format Editor?

I’m not seeing anything there to “flatten” footnotes to regular text. Where do I go to find that?

Thank you for the patience and guidance!

Almost there! If you choose RTF, DOCX, or another word processor format at the top left of the Compile Format Editor (your second screenshot), a “Compatibility” tab will appear down at the bottom. That’s what you want.

Incidentally, rather than creating a new format from scratch, you can right-click on one of the existing formats and choose the “Duplicate & Edit” option.

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Yes, kewms is exactly right that this is what I’m trying to do. If it helps to see a picture, this is an example from my friend Keith O’Brien’s latest book, Paradise Falls. The notes are associated with phrases (in bold) from the book itself; the numbers you see at left are the page numbers on which those bold phrases are found in the book’s text.

It may be a niche practice confined to narrative nonfiction drawn from extensive historical research (but aimed at a general readership and not an academic audience), but it’s a standard one for this slice of nonfiction just the same. I wonder how others have figured it out. I asked Keith — but, alas, he writes in Word!

How does Word do it? Knowing might help us figure out how to set Scrivener up so that it sends Word the right information.

I asked Keith. He keeps a separate Word document going in which he pastes the “trailing phrase” sentence fragments with the citations beside them. If there’s an automated way to do it, he hasn’t found it yet. The workaround here with the flattened footnotes (including copying the trailing phrase into the body of the note) seems like a good one. If I hear of anyone else doing it another way, on Word or elsewhere, I’ll add more here. Thanks!

Obviously you could do exactly that in Scrivener as well, with a separate Binder document or documents.

You might want to search for “blind footnotes”.

The results will include suggestions how to handle them in Word, like this one, but not surprisingly you will find better ways in LaTeX, like this one.

Trailing notes. A very intriguing problem. This would be a nice one to figure out.

A search of the internet suggests that getting this kind of endnotes is challenging no matter what app you are using. You can see folks trying to work it out using Word and InDesign and LaTeX … There is nothing off-the-shelf for this no matter where you go. Getting the page number and capturing the phrase for the note (short of repeating it) are the two persistent challenges.