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footnotes and Word import

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I am using Mac and come from Quark (since 2002), considering Publisher as a serious alternative. My aim is b/w scholarly publications (text, drawings, charts, some photographs) with a degree of control over the text flow  that goes far beyond Word. We make use of a lot of not-so-common Unicode regions and strange fonts. Most files are delivered in Word and contain lots of legacy data going back to Word4, odd fonts and in-line formatting that is time-consuming to rip out and redo. I make use of a very limited amount of the options that a DTP offers but cannot rely on Word for making books. On the other hand, I need to stick to a version of a program for some time for economic reasons, and -- as I am a scholar in the first place, not a designer --  I am unable to switch to every new version instantaneouly. I rather jump. Keeping up-to-date with Quark was impossible, I got stuck at 2015 and present something of a tech dinosaur.

My experience with Publisher Beta oh High Sierra so far:

It feels a lot like Quark but is more comfortable for my purposes. In comparison to Quark X and 2015 it is more stable and robust (surprise). It still runs old home-made TT fonts that Quark 2018 refuses for some reason.

Files from authors come 99.9% in Word with a lot of legacy data and in-line formatting. Converting to RTF before input is not comfortable but an acceptable  work around. I need a feature to strip paragraphs of all formatting  leaving in-line italices, bold, superscript and subscript in place (it is impossible to use nested styles for it, language transcriptions look much different form normal text), otherwise I have to redo them one by one.

I need heaps of footnotes, short and very long ones (this is the typical thing in old-style European humanities where they contain side-arguments and annotations to literature and they are to be read with the main text). If possible, they should stay on the page with the line they belong to. Flowing to the next page should be avoided whenever possible. The system that Quark and Indesign offer is pretty useless. They consider it an advantageous feature when  footnotes run over to the next page. At the same time they give us no tools to manipulate the distance between text and footnotes at page level. All you can do is move the separating border up and down. Therefore I still need to use my old work-around that I have been doing for 20 years:

1. Add next to the footnote markers in Word in both the main text and in the footnotes normal figures and assign some style to them.

2. save text and footnotes in different files.

3. remove Word’s footnote markers in both files.

4. import main text and footnotes into Quark or Publisher in two different sets of linked frames.

5. manipulate the text flow of both frames by hand; if necessary adjust leading in incremments to fit text in the best possible way.

6. Allow overflow of footnotes to the next page only if unavoidable, preferably from left to right page. In most book I have done, this happened once or twice. Being able to manipulate the distance between main text and footnote is of the essence (after all, footnotes are meant NOT to run over). Overall smoothness or eveness of appearance is not the issue.

I still prefer to have control over the text flow to any automated feature. There is one draw-back, of cause: you cannot change footnote numbering after conversion into DTP. And most authors do this at some point after typesetting started. The obvious solution is to add footnote 62a or to declare footnote 85 as "deleted". On occasion I renumbered large quantities by hand.

Therefore, before Publisher implements some footnote system, I urge the developers NOT to imitate Quark or Indesign. All that is needed is two separate text flows with the option to add or delete footnotes with automatically updating the footnote numbers. Ideally, a footnote converter from Word to Publisher at the import level should be available.

I am aware that I am an outsider when it comes to typesetting but in contrast to other media our books have a lifetime of 50 plus odd years. We are struggling against a few commercial publishers that offer their services at outrageously large expense for authors and libraries. Affinity Publisher looks like the solution to my most pressing problems. 

Thank you

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