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Footnote problems

Oct 12, 2011 5:43 AM

Hi everyone,


I have a Word document that I'm importing into Indesign CS5 and the Word file contains a heap of footnotes. When I import the file, all the footnotes come in except for one of them. The position within the text where the footnote reference number is supposed to be located, is being replaced by a kind of symbol that looks like a rectangle with a cross through it and it's being highlighted (the same type of highlight that you get when a font is missing). So the problem is that it's just this one footnote that won't act right and every other footnote that follows this one is now in the wrong position, ie. one step too forward.


I assumed that there was some corruption in the Word file so I tried resaving it under a different name. I also tried deleting the paragraph containing this problem (within Word) and then reimporting the document. When I did this, the very next footnote started to behave in exactly the same way as the other one, ie. not being including and just displaying the weird symbol at the position within the text where the reference number was supposed to be.


I wondered if anyone else has come across this type of problem or if anyone has any suggestions to solve it?


Really appreciate any input.

  • Currently Being Moderated
    Oct 12, 2011 5:48 AM   in reply to gwhPoster

    Is this footnote in a table?


    Cos InDesign won't recognise a footnote in a table.

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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Oct 12, 2011 5:49 AM   in reply to gwhPoster

    Well, it's the eve of the Festival of Sukkot here in Israel, so time is

    short for me and I won't be on the forums for the next 8 days.


    I think the following script might help -- I believe I made it to deal

    with this problem. But if the OP has problems getting the script to

    work, hopefully another scripter can chime in, as I'm no longer

    available at this stage to help.


    Happy Sukkot to all,





         Move Footnotes. An InDesign CS4 script by Ariel Walden 21.6.10

         Place your cursor in the story somewhere and run the script.

         Now, the first footnote following the cursor position will be where

    the second was.

         The 3rd where the 4th etc.

         The penultimate footnote will be just before the last footnote.

         The last footnote won't move.

         In other words, all the footnotes are shifted up by one.


    myStory = app.selection[0].parentStory;

    app.findTextPreferences = NothingEnum.nothing;

    app.changeTextPreferences = NothingEnum.nothing;

    app.findChangeTextOptions.includeFootnotes = false;

    app.findTextPreferences.findWhat = "^F";

    var myFoundItems = myStory.findText();

    i = myFoundItems.length;

    //myCurrentIndex = app.selection[0].index;

    for (a = 0; a<i-1; a++){

         //if (myFoundItems[a].index<myCurrentIndex) continue;


         myFoundItems[a].move(LocationOptions.BEFORE, myFoundItems[a+1]);




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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Oct 12, 2011 5:52 AM   in reply to gwhPoster

    The script will actually work on all the footnotes in the current story,

    not just from the cursor position. If you want just from the cursor

    position, remove the // from the 2 commented lines. (Actually I could

    have done it simpler -- set the search options from here to end of

    story, but I think I didn't know that option existed in the UI when I

    wrote the script

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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Oct 12, 2011 5:55 AM   in reply to gwhPoster

    Can you post a screenshot of


    The word file


    and the InDesign file

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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Oct 12, 2011 6:06 AM   in reply to gwhPoster

    "Why"? It's happening because InDesign has some serious problems with footnotes. Furthermore, it has had the very same problems from the very first incarnation of footnotes -- CS2 -- and apparently no-one at Adobe cares enough to take care of it. Please file it as a bug. In addition, join the others in our request for better 'notes (1,302 views the last year-and-a-half, doesn't that mean a thing?).


    The weird square you get is a character placeholder, i.e., InDesign is at some subconscious level aware that there was supposed to be something at that position but cannot locate the actual text. It's a square because that's the default "unknown" character for your current font, and it's pink because the "unknown" character is not available in your current font (by design -- uh. well.).


    Usually when I see this, at least one other footnote gets messed up and that leads to the shuffling of notes that Ariel kindly wrote a script to correct. Here is the really weird thing that I have seen on a couple of occasions: the MIA note is not really not imported, but it actually is a footnote inside one of the messed-up notes. If you cut the text from in there and paste it in a new text frame, you might find that new frame also has a footnote -- your missing one.

    Go figure.


    If you have a version of Word nearby, you can try to save the document as an older version of Word itself, as RTF, and/or as DOCX. There is a (small) chance this will rattle stuff around in the file and make all of the notes import again.

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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Oct 12, 2011 6:22 AM   in reply to gwhPoster

    What version of Word are you using?


    In my version under Tools there's an option to "Fix Broken Text"


    I don't know what this does, but it seems to fix text for me that causes issues with InDesign.


    Perhaps that will help?

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