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Footnote numbers disappearing in EPUB export

Enthusiast ,
Oct 11, 2023 Oct 11, 2023

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I'm exporting from InDesign to epub, and a file that's been exporting OK suddenly loses all of its footnote numbers (not the reference, but in the notes themselves) in the epub. It has happened in more files than I care to count. This is a recurring issue that I'd really like to find a solution to. So far, the only thing that's ever worked is completely rebuilding the file, which is seriously no fun. 

 

 

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Bug , EPUB , Import and export

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Community Expert ,
Oct 11, 2023 Oct 11, 2023

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@James Gifford—NitroPress  might be best for this one

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Community Expert ,
Oct 11, 2023 Oct 11, 2023

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Footnotes and endnotes in EPUB export are fragile. Did this document originate in Word? That conversion to ID often compounds the problems.

 

Let's start with the simple fix: export the file to IDML. Open that file and save it as an INDD file under a new name. (Check for any formatting changes... sometimes there are none, sometimes the process messes things up a little.) Try the export again.

 

Also, sometimes exporting as the very first operation after you open a file works; that is, if you open it, edit a little, change this and that, save, and then export, errors occur that won't if you do the export first thing. I don't know why.

 

If neither of those fixes your unhappy footnote numbers, check back with updated info.


╟ Word & InDesign to Kindle & EPUB: a Guide to Pro Results (Amazon) ╢

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Enthusiast ,
Oct 11, 2023 Oct 11, 2023

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Thanks, James. Alas, no success with either of those. And yes, it was originally a Word file.

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Enthusiast ,
Oct 12, 2023 Oct 12, 2023

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Any other angles of attack you can think of, @James Gifford—NitroPress?

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Community Expert ,
Oct 13, 2023 Oct 13, 2023

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Nothing easy is coming to mind.

 

Possibly a style issue. In the ID doc, check all the Footnote Options to make sure something isn't wonky. Create a character style, if you haven't, and apply it to the footnote references.

 

Also - you don't say which EPUB format you're using here. If it's FXL (fixed layout) I don't have many tools or tricks for it; the format is problematic and largely obsolete, as well as very difficult to work with beyond export. If it's reflowable, try the other footnote export settings just to see if they work as expected.


╟ Word & InDesign to Kindle & EPUB: a Guide to Pro Results (Amazon) ╢

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Community Expert ,
Oct 13, 2023 Oct 13, 2023

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Does the doc export properly to PDF? Odds are it does, but if the problem persists there it at least points to a subset of solutions.

 

How many footnotes does the doc have? How long would it take to delete and reinsert each? (As you note, big-hammer steps like this are sometimes the only solution.)


╟ Word & InDesign to Kindle & EPUB: a Guide to Pro Results (Amazon) ╢

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Enthusiast ,
Dec 02, 2023 Dec 02, 2023

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Is there anyone else out there who can help me with this? I'm so weary of having to rebuild every file when this issue pops up. One of my clients is having me update something in all of their epubs, which means having to recreate dozens of files.  PLEASE...SOMEONE HELP ME FIGURE THIS OUT AND REALLY RESOLVE IT!!!

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Community Expert ,
Dec 02, 2023 Dec 02, 2023

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Well, you didn't answer most of my questions above, which makes it hard for me or anyone else to give any further help. The only way to solve problems like this is to send the file to someone for examination, or work through questions, answer and trial solutions.

 

FWIW, I believe it's a corrupted file or corrupted style problem. But not knowing, for starters, if it's FXL or reflowable, and if the problem persists in PDF export, there's no way to get to any useful next step.


╟ Word & InDesign to Kindle & EPUB: a Guide to Pro Results (Amazon) ╢

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Enthusiast ,
Dec 02, 2023 Dec 02, 2023

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Sorry. Your "big hammer" solution is so far what it's taking...and what's taking it so long. I'd love to find a less-hammer-more-magic solution. Yes to PDF export. Footnote count varies from doc to doc (one to hundreds).

 

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Enthusiast ,
Dec 02, 2023 Dec 02, 2023

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And...reflowable layout. I have a simple superscript style applied to references. I don't know what else to check, options-wise...nothing looks wonky to me.

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Community Expert ,
Dec 03, 2023 Dec 03, 2023

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Do you have a defined style for the actual footnotes? Create one, if not. Check it over carefully for any odd settings, especially in indents and numbering.

 

Another big-hammer fix might be to create a fresh new Footnote style and then delete the existing one, switching to the new one. That could clear some glitch or bad setting that's causing the faults.

 

And (not sure) — is this only one document or set of docs, or does the fault appear on all your footnoted files? You might try creating a completely fresh doc with a few pages of dummy text, insert a few footnotes without changing any defaults anywhere, and see if that exports correctly. It would help point out some flaw in the docs you're working with, at least.


╟ Word & InDesign to Kindle & EPUB: a Guide to Pro Results (Amazon) ╢

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