Footnote Shortcut

Use case or problem

I use Obsidian to take school notes, write essays and so on, and I find myself needing to add frequent footnotes. Currently, to add a new footnote, I need to:

  • scroll to the bottom to check how many footnotes I already have
  • type [^n] in the body of the note, where n is the next number
  • move to the end of the note, type [^n] again, and then add my citation.

Proposed solution

It would be convenient to have a shortcut to automate these steps. In particular, I envision that the shortcut would:

  • using the smallest natural number n that has not yet been used for a footnote, add [^n] at the insertion point
  • add [^n] to the end of the note, and move the insertion point there.

Since I began using it a few months ago, I’ve found Obsidian to be an incredibly useful tool. Thank you to those who are working to make it even better!

10 Likes

Agreed, this feature should be handy to users heavily relying on footnotes.

Also, I don’t think there’s an easy solution to do this using other apps, e.g. a text expansion or a scripting app. It would be best to implement it as a core functionality of Obsidian, or as a third-party plugin.

1 Like

I use a template for this, you actually don’t need to number footnotes at all, and you don’t need their

  • declaration [^1]
    and
  • definition [^1]: content
    separate.

if you insert ^[content here] inline with your text the footnotes auto-number based on the order in which they appear in the text top to bottom.

With the content inside the footnote itself, it still displays EXACTLY the same as the method you’re using.

Hell, I even embed links in my footnotes like this: ^[[[Here is a note]]] and it works just the same other than this minor issue in edit mode: First link in footnotes is not properly recognized

the template I insert for this is just called: fn.md with the contents of ^[] and that’s all I do for easy footnotes :slight_smile:

12 Likes

Thank you! ^[content] is much better than my current method, and in most situations (especially once the bug in edit mode is fixed) I can imagine it being better than the hotkey I suggested. I plan to start using it.

With that said, there are still situations where it’s useful to be able to quickly put things in footnotes at the bottom of a note. I spend most of my time in edit mode, and things get a bit hard to (visually) parse if URLs, lengthy asides, etc. are encoded in the body of the note.

This is just a feature that I was surprised not to find among the hotkeys in Obsidian’s preferences, as it seems pretty simple to implement.

1 Like

Thanks, I was never going to find this out myself!
I migrated from Zettler, which has the best footnote manager I’ve ever seen, and I was disappointed with Obsidian, but now my problem is solved thanks to you.

1 Like

Glad to hear it was helpful! :slightly_smiling_face:

1 Like

Use case or problem

Adding Footnotes manually ie pressing[^1] and then retyping it with the footnote - is time-consuming.

Proposed solution

A hotkey that would intelligently create the footnote-link pair in any page.
ie if the numbering would consider the presence of any previous footnotes.

9 Likes

+1, this would totally speed up making footnotes!

1 Like

+1 love the idea.

I’m not sure if this would be helpful for your usage.

For me,
I usually make a footnote by typing

^[footnote content]

Wheneve I make a footnote, it generates the footnote numbers automatically.

9 Likes

You just blew my mind. I did not know this was a thing, thanks for sharing!

1 Like

Wow! Had no idea this was possible! This is pretty great, but a hotkey would still be nice as longer footnotes this way could clog up the text in edit mode.

5 Likes

I’m not sure if this is possible, but:
I would love a keyboard shortcut for inserting a footnote (really, a plugin enabling such a thing). Since adding a footnote in Markdown takes many, many keystrokes, it’s cumbersome enough that I avoid doing it although I would otherwise do it often.

1 Like

There is an alternative solution: inline footnotes.

Text^[footnote text] - done.

No need to scroll to the bottom of the note to get the right number, which will be wrong again as soon as you insert another footnote in between later on. With inline footnotes the numbering is adjusted automatically.

You can also use wikilinks within inline footnotes.

If you find the inline footnote text distracting in between your regular text you can change its color to a lighter one so it is less/not obtrusive.

Edit: did not see Tallguyjenks’s comment higher up.

Another thing people might not know is, that you can give your footnotes names. It’ll automatically use numbers and have it ordered.

image
image

2 Likes

edit: I am a big dummy, nothing to see here :man_facepalming:

Came here searching for the footnote syntax in Obsidian. Discovered the same thing you all are talking about. Very cool feature of Obsidian this is. :sunglasses:

I have a follow up question, though. Is it possible for multiple blocks of text to refer to the same footnote?

1 Like

You can have several mentions of the same footnote, just the syntax has to be the same.
So if you have a footnote like this

[^steph]: Informationen on Steph

You can everywhere use [^steph] to reference it.

I love the idea, I want it, and I agree this should be in core.

Until then, I’ve whipped together a simple plugin that will do exactly what @jacob.4ristotle proposes.

How to Install the Plugin Manually

Plugin can be manually installed from here: Release 0.0.5 · akaalias/obsidian-footnotes · GitHub

  1. Download main.js, manifest.json and styles.css
  2. Open your Obsidian plugins folder (Settings → Community Plugins → Small Folder Icon)
  3. Create a new folder named obsidian-footnotes and copy the three downloaded files there
  4. Click the 'Reload Plugins` icon
  5. Toggle Footnote Shortcut on

The default hot-key is Command-Shift-6.

5 Likes

Neat :grin: !

Do you intend to add it to the Obsidian repo on GitHub, so we can download it through the settings ? :blush: