The Scrivener Basics Blog

Scrivener Basics | Inspector Menu Functions | Comments and Footnotes

Inline Annotations

An inline annotation is a small note you jot down for yourself right inside your text as you work, without using the comments and footnotes functions in the inspector.

For instance, say I want to make a note to myself to find an image to put directly before my text: 

  1. I would type out the instruction and highlight it.
  2. Go to Main Menu > Insert > Inline Annotation.
  3. This places a red container around the text. As long as the text remains as an inline annotation the default export option is that it will not be included when you compile. 
  4. If you actually want to include it just go back to Main Menu > Insert > Inline Annotation and click on it once again to toggle it off.

Scrivener does not have a built in Bibliography application but you can link one to your Scrivener project in Scrivener 3 for Mac

 Go to Scrivener > Preferences. 

  1. Make sure you are in the General tab. 
  2. Look for Citations in the sub menu. 
  3. Click on the Choose button to be taken to your Mac Finder where you can navigate to whichever bibliography application you have installed on your computer.

Adding Comments and Footnotes

  1. The most commonly used insertions can be accessed from the Main Insert menu as well as the Insert tool in the Toolbar.
  2. The less frequently used ones like Bibliography/Citations and MathType equations can only be accessed via the Main Insert menu.

To attach a comment to your text without first opening the Inspector window

  1. Highlight a word or sentence that you want to add a comment to 
  2. Open the Insert tool in the toolbar and select Add Comment or go to Main Menu > Insert > Comment. 
  3. This automatically activates the comments container in the Inspector
  4. Write a comment about the word. 
  5. The word itself highlights and becomes a clickable link to the comment.

If your Inspector happens to be open at the Comments and Footnotes tab and you wish to add a comment:

  1. Place your cursor where you want to link the comment.
  2. Hit the Comments icon in it’s header bar
  3. The word immediately preceding your cursor will highlight.
  4. And you can add a comment to it.

Removing a Comment

Once you have completed the task that your comment was marking, hover your cursor in the top right hand corner of the comment box until you see a little x and click on it to remove the comment.

Note that the highlighted word does not get deleted along with the comment attached to it.


You add footnotes in a similar way to comments. These are the notes you see at the bottom of a page or at the end of a chapter sometimes, with an explanation related to a word within the text.

  1. Place your cursor immediately after the word you want to attach a footnote to leaving no gap. 
  2. It is very important that the link ends exactly where you want the number to appear when you print or export your document.
  1. Open the Insert tool and select Add Footnote or go to Main Menu > Insert > Footnote.
  2. Or click on the CF symbol in the Comments and Footnotes tab in the Inspector.
  3. Enter the text for your footnote

Arranging your footnotes in the order you want them in your book

Scrivener automatically arranges your footnotes according to their position within your text. If you already have two footnotes and decide to add a third, Scrivener creates a footnote for it between the two other footnotes in the list.

The numbers for your footnotes get added automatically in the compile process in the order that your footnotes appear in your manuscript/draft. Choosing how to display your footnotes depends on what sort of document you want to export or print and you set your preferences in the compile process.

You can right click on a comment and convert it to a footnote and vice versa

Selecting a Comment or Footnote in the Editor will open it in the Inspector

If you are reading through a document with comments or footnotes attached, but without the Comments and Footnotes pane open in the Inspector, clicking on any link will automatically open the Inspector at the Comments and Footnotes tab with the attached comment or footnote highlighted.


Any time you select a comment or footnote in the Inspector, the Editor automatically scrolls the text to where the link is located and highlights the text associated with your comment or footnote.

If you have a lot of comments or footnotes you can click on the disclosure triangles beside their titles to collapse them.

You can color code Comments but not Footnotes

All footnotes are grey so that you don’t confuse them with comments.

  1. Right click on a comment in the Inspector and assign a color to it from the drop down menu.
  2. If you want to choose your own colors open the show colors menu and select colors from there.

This is really useful if you want to group your comments for easy identification so that you can manage them at the same time.

Assign a color to all comments pertaining to task 1 and a different color to all comments for task 2. Note how the highlights in the Editor change to match the color of the comment they are linked to, making it easy to identify and work through tasks with a similar comment.

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