Footnote support in editor

Because the hoops you have to jump through to add some footnotes is just crazy! It was a smooth user-experience in 1.x and got horrible in the 2.x version.

The way ghost handles it is way inferior compared to almost every other solution out there.

By the way ^something^ does not work. Neither does ^[something]^
How do I get text to show up in superscript? :thinking:

€: OK… I got it. Using an HTML-block and writing vanilla HTML…

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Let me explain to you. I had this problem too, with code pieces on my website.
You have to follow a sequence for the superscript to happen. It appears to be a problem with foreign keyboards, where the ^ does not appear immediatly.

  1. Press shift + ^ symbol
  2. Enter superscript
  3. Press shift + ^ symbol again
  4. Press your spacebar, so the symbol appears.

This is how the editor is designed to work. You can not do double ^^ and then enter in between.

In fact, you have to start off with a single ^ and then write something in there and always finish off with a ^ and then hitting the spacebar afterwards.

E.g. press these keys in sequence

  1. ^
  2. [1]
  3. ^
  4. SPACEBAR

EDIT: You don’t even need the HTML editor, you can do it inline! Just like I explained :slight_smile:

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The problem is that now there is a hacky manual workaround when markdown used to support it automatically and seamlessly.

That is the problem. We would rather like our markdown support for footnotes back, because it was both useful and important.

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Things might have worked better then, I wasn’t around. But I cannot see how this is hacky, I think it’s very well-made - and it works great too.

I suppose I don’t see the annoyance in doing this ^[1]^ and then writing the reference at the bottom? Isn’t that the fastest way?

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I don’t understand how you don’t see this as a hacky workaround. Something that used to be generated automatically isn’t anymore.

What happens when you move paragraphs around? You need to update every link.

Also, we used to be able to give meaningfull aliases to references (in the old editor I could write “[^guardian-article]”, for example).

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That does suck, yeah. As I stated, I didn’t know it used to be generated automatically.

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No worries, I was just surprised :slight_smile:

I guess we’d need a special type of card for references, that could check the other (markdown) cards for references.

Something similar could be done for a “table of contents” card.

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I just discovered that footnotes no longer work the way they used to and have been kind of shocked by it - the footnote support was really seamless and back when I was writing more frequently I used it for essentially every post.

I do not think the current workaround is really okay at all - it’s extremely manual. I recognize that there are some deeper technical issues that would need to be addressed in order to support this feature but it is probably my single most desirable feature - I registered an account on the forums just for this.

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Did anyone try the following extension?

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Not me. I’m using Bigfoot.

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I experienced the same problem with using footnotes without writing the whole post in markdown.
Together with a friend, I created a script which allows you to set footnotes. Your visitors can jump between a note like “[1]” inside the post to the explanation and the end of the page and back.

I created a very detailed README for the repo.
Feel free to check it out:

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This looks promising, can it be used without modifying any Ghost core files?
I’m a Ghost pro user, so the only thing I can modify is the theme!

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Of course, no modifying of core required — what is required is adding the JS file(s) and CSS file(s) to your theme. That being said, you’ll probably have to customise its CSS if you want things to fit perfectly. As well, seeing how this isn’t a plug-in you’ll have to manually apply every Bigfoot footnote with HTML cards. Tedious, but it does look real nice :wink:

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I guess this is one of the downfalls of having a system that isn’t user-extensible. Of course that’s not reason enough alone to switch to another platform. Ghost has many great reasons for people to use it. I do hope that as part of the 4.0 there is some sort of extension system, although I wouldn’t want it to be as wild-west as ahem Wordpress, for example.

It does seem though that in this matter (footnotes) the Ghost dev team are either obtuse or just don’t care that they have taken away a really useful feature.

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  • +1 for any footnote developments or workarounds :pray:t4:
  • footnotes are a critical component in publishing :writing_hand:t4:
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I’m using a german keyboard and german layout. So what you suggested does not work.

Pressing shift + ^ symbol would result in a °

Just pressing ^ does add another ^ next to it the moment you hit another key (any other key btw).

So it does not work great… it does not work at all.

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Yeah… actually I got the confirmation via support chat. Some things (including subscript and superscript) are just not working for users without a US English keyboard layout (on macOS … don’t know about windows or other platforms). For example a German one which has / adds “dead keys” after typing ^ or ~ (strangely ` works fine in markdown mode).

Looking at the entries and “solutions” in this forum as well as GitHub (eg. here and here) does not make me very confident that this issue es taken serious / considered important by the devs or product management.

One workaround would be to just write everything in markdown and switching your keyboard to US English layout (use the “US English Layout”, not the “(US) English International Layout” if you are on macOS as that one has the dead keys as well).

So these are my findings after spending at least an hour on this issue experimenting and chatting with support. Unsatisfied with the result but maybe it helps someone else…

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Is it possible to link directly to a footnote? To date, I’ve just been using the [1]^ trick and linking each footnote generically to the Literature Cited Section. I would prefer to be able to link to individual citations in the Literature Cited section. I’m not sure if this is possible as I thought it was only possible to link directly to article sections? Thanks for any help.


  1. 1 ↩︎

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i love that example! manually encoded and referencing with markdown is a lot of friction for writers who just want to write (imho) and in some sense, it feels like it’s not quite the ethos ghost, or perhaps i’m wrong

as an alternative, could this be done with a chrome extension?

for now, it’s crude, but i’ll be using call-out boxes right below paragraphs to draw attention to specific reference material - this could be done “end of post” and simply refd in a paragraph like:

“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times [*1]”

then for *1 use the colored call-out box and pick a single color for all footnote references at bottom of post

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The solution proposed 4 years ago in this thread using ^[1]^ to create superscript does not work in 2023. It just adds ^[1]^ as additional text. One has to copy paste some text containing a superscript, and fiddle around with it when adding more footnotes ([2], etc.).

Not really something you would expect from a text editor.

Markdown is a solution that works, but unfortunately footnotes are not passed over multiple markdown cards. Making it impossible to insert other content and use markdown cards only for some nice features provided by markdown (tables, etc.).

In a world plagued with fake news, this feature is critical to make Ghost a publishing solution ready for serious journalism, or scientific articles.

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