@John – I think footnotes* and XML don't play well together. Without scripting I see hardly a chance to get this right.
You could ask over in the InDesign Scripting Forum:
Give some more details of your workflow there.
*I guess you mean "real" footnotes in the sense of InDesign's UI feature set (and not faked ones).
Actually, I am faking the footnotes. I’m going to try to get smart enough in the near future to blow everyone’s minds by automating the footnote process through scripting. But for now, I’ll enjoy my fantasy. I have about 3,000 footnotes over a 750,000-word book—a Bible in other words. For now I’m manually adjusting text frames, etc. I have seen some workflows/programs that do automate this, so I know it can be done.
At the moment, I’m just trying to flow footnote text from Import XML into one text frame and then overriding the other frame in my template to start flowing the regular text.
@John – I'm not 100% sure how you handle this process. Are the footnote's text part of the one story you are flowing in? And are they tied to a (faked) footnote marker, eg. following the marker in one or several paragraphs of their own with a dedicated paragraph style?
If so, and if the (faked) footnote marker has its own and unique style (maybe a character style) a script can transform that marker into a regular InDesign footnote object and the following uniquely styled paragraphs into the footnote's text.
But I think you are doing two separate stories, one for the regular text, one for the footnotes.
That said, there are severe limitations in InDesign's features for footnotes (just to name a few):
1. For consecutive numbers (no mix of numbers and other footnotes signs are possible) you need one single story flowing from page to page
2. There is no option to automatically re-number footnote numbers through all documents of a book
3. Working with multicolumn text frames and footnotes is a drag
4. No footnotes in tables
All in all you could also look at a 3rd party plugin for InDesign, eg. Sonar Bookends InFnote by Virginia Systems, to convert your two stories to footnotes (I'm not sure if this is possible in your case):
@John – I hope, that you don't get depressed too much thinking about InDesign's own footnote features, but you have to read this:
Improve Footnotes Please
To cheer you up a bit, go to Peter Kahrel's website.
Maybe there is a script for you supporting your workflow:
Various foot- and endnote tools
No, I'm not depressed about footnotes. I'm aware of the limitations, and you've listed a couple more in your comment above. Thanks for these resources. I look forward to reviewing them when I try to become a footnote wizard.
Our workflow studiously avoids any footnote automation. I simply resize the footnote text frame as I see the corresponding siglum in the text on that page. The text and the notes are lettered together for this purpose. This is relatively easy when you have a stable database with little change over time.
This brings me back to my curiosity about importing XML. We can treat my two stories as text only, no footnotes. So I want to flow in one type of file ("footnotes") for several files. Then I want to flow in my other type of file (regular text) for the corresponding number of files. This morning I discovered the "primary text frame" idea, but I couldn't get it to be helpful.
I think my fundamental issue is InDesign apparently allows only one basic XML element in the structure panel. If I could have two there, I could make one my text and the other my notes and drag them to the corresponding frames. However, I modified my root element in the notes file as a test, and it still imported everything under the root element of the file I imported first. Any ideas on how to split into two root elements? Maybe best asked in a new question . . .
Hm. Why do you have two separate streams at all?
Wouldn't it be ok for you to have only one single flowing story with the footnote texts in the place (or shortly after) the footnote number?
In that scenario we could use a script, either to make:
1. Real footnotes
2. Doing anchored text frames for the footnote texts (eg. one anchored text frame for each footnote)
I don't know if I have a better answer than "It's the way we do it" or "It seems easier this way." We often do double-column text and single-column notes, which creates problems as you noted. Of course, if this could all be automated in a foolproof way, my answers would change to "Why are we doing it this way?" and "It's way easier automated."