Footnotes on the iPad

UPDATE (7/2/2014): I see that many people are still viewing this post. Please check out my updated post here.

I will be resuming close work on my dissertation this summer when my teaching responsibilities end. Who knew that it was so much work? That was rhetorical. At that point, I’ll probably start having a lot more to say.

I did want to do a quick post on using footnotes on the iPad. I have one, and it has been a constant source of aggravation for me that there has been no way add footnotes. It makes the iPad more or less useless for academic work.

However, I was recently playing around with Pages and discovered a way to trick the thing into being useful. I found that, if the document already has footnotes (or you have loaded something else into Pages that already has footnotes), I could copy in the in-text note and paste it elsewhere in the paper. This would lead to a new footnote field being created at the bottom of the page with the previous footnote text. I could then edit it to add a new citation. Though this could screw up the numbering of the footnotes, I found that by going out to “My Documents” and then back into the document I was working on, Pages would fix the numbers.

I think that, although this opens up the possibility of actually doing serious writing on the iPad, this actually makes me angrier with Apple. Clearly, though Pages is capable of adding and editing footnotes, Apple has simply, and for an unfathomable reason, refused to add the capability.

I thought that, since I haven’t seen anyone else discuss this, I would post something on it to help those of us academics out there who would rather carry around an iPad than a laptop. Hopefully it will help someone.


Filed under Uncategorized

19 responses to “Footnotes on the iPad

  1. I don’t think the iPad was ever designed for serious writing. I write on it, but only in a spontaneous way, not for heaps of text production, especially since there is no integration with a serious bibliography database.

    Still, one way to solve your problem might be to separate writing from formatting. You can write in a text editor with minimalist parenthetic citations, and you can leave the footnotes for later. That has the added advantage of forcing you to focus on the text and not how it looks on the page. 

    When I wrote my diss, I tended to produce five or so pages of text like this, edit it thoroughly (with printer, pen, and paper, too), and then copy that into my word-processing document. At that point I would replace my minimalist citations with footnotes tied to my bibliography database.

  2. Robert

    Thanks from Germany for this Post!!! I spend a lot of Time serching a Way to Cesare footnotes with the iPad…

  3. Thank you for the work around. I use the iPad for a lot of my academic writing these days in the same way that Mark discussed above. It does add another layer, but the convenience of writing in so many places (in the house and out) has made that well worth it to me. My final writing is always at my desk on my computer, but there are so many hours logged before I ever get there that I figure they should be comfortable ones.

    Good luck finishing your dissertation. I wish that there had been an iPad when I was writing mine.

  4. Denise

    Hi everyone,

    I was so grateful to find your comments online since I’ve spent the last hour trying to figure out how to footnote some academic work and am in a little mountain village in Mexico far away from my regular laptop! I will take your advice – thanks fo your posts.

  5. Laura

    Thanks for this! I’m resorting to my ipad for the bulk of some dissertation work on a deadline while my laptop is out of commission from a virus and being able to use footnotes will be a blessing.

  6. Catherine

    Thank you! I find the iPad invaluable for dissertation work where I can’t use my home computer but the lack of footnote capability is irritating. I wonder how many more there are out there who could use a footnote app or some such variation on Pages …

  7. Katharine

    You can add footnotes on pages on the iPad without going to all that trouble. After you write a sentence tap again and wait for the box that says “select select all paste” and it also has an arrow at the end. If you tap the arrow it will say insert… Style.. If you hit insert it gives you the option to add a tab, page break, line break, column break, or footnote.

  8. fcrocco

    Wow! Thanks for pointing out the new feature! Foot noting was high on my list. Now, if only they would add support for comments.

  9. Caroline Astell-Burt

    Thanks everyone can’t wait to try it…..YES to be able to footnote will make a lot of difference to my work. Will such formatting travel well when sending to someone else to read, or would a document with footnotes have to be exported as a PDF

  10. Kent

    We use Documents To Go premium. $15-20 bucks a seat. Very good program for serious writers and those that need to see footnotes on and iOS device.

  11. furitsusan

    Wow, thanks for that. I already desperate to find that feature. have great day fella

  12. mel

    oh thank you …great info and much appreciated!!!

  13. Yes, the iPad wasn’t really invented for serious writing. But then the automobile wasn’t invented for racing but in due course did. I find that I like the “reduced” environment of Pages and iPad to focus on the text I’m writing for a non-fiction book.

    But footnotes, or rather: endnotes are a necessity even in a simpler writing environment. Anyone know about endnotes on the iPad?

    What irks me even more is that you cannot sync and collaborate on Pages documents effectively with the iPad as any copy you upload into iPad Pages from a server is converted and stored locally.

    Once apple figures that out and give Pages on iOS that wee bit of extra serious features for writers I’ll only take my iPad traveling…

  14. Corey

    Pages for the iPad allows the user to convert footnotes to endnotes and vice versa. The user can format the notes as well or copy and paste a particular style into the notes. Notes appear to be placed in table cells, however, which do not break across pages. Thus note text in long notes is cut off at the bottom of the page; the text doesn’t continue to the next page. Am looking for a work-around.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s