# How can I use accents (like \"{o}) in \footnote?

I get following error when I use in my tex file \footnote{Shr\"{o}dinger}. When I change to \footnote{Shrodinger} there is no error. Can you give me an advice what should I do? I use BiBTeX for bibliographies.

Runaway argument?
{Shr\}\BibitemShut {NoStop}\bibitem [{Note2()}]{Note2}\BibitemOpen \bibinfo \ET
C.
! File ended while scanning use of \@firstofone.
<inserted text>
\par
l.665 \bibliography{mybib}
{}
?

• Welcome to TeX.SX! We need a minimal (non) working example (MWE) to play with, in order to understand what's going on. Are you sure it is \footnote or is it \cite? – egreg Jul 19 '13 at 15:16
• Clearly you are not telling us the whole story, since if you make a document with simply \footnote{Schr\"{o}dinger} in it it compiles properly. And the error you are getting relates to the bibliography, so you need to show how you are producing your bibliography. – Alan Munn Jul 19 '13 at 15:17
• I think, this will work: \footnote{Shr{\"{o}}dinger}. If not fixed, MWE is required. – Jagath Jul 19 '13 at 15:27
• The form Schr{\"o}dinger should always work, both in ordinary text and in footnotes. No need to place another set of curly braces around the o in {\"o}. – Mico Jul 19 '13 at 15:47
• Thank you @Mico . I am new on site, what should I do to mark the question answered? – eRic Jul 19 '13 at 15:53

It's not entirely clear what's going on since your description of the problem doesn't state whether the word in question is an argument of an explicit \footnote command or of something else, such as \footcite. At any rate, the problem seems to arise in connection with a citation, however generated.

The simplest solution, I think, is to write Schr{\"o}inger. Placing an additional set of curly braces around the o in {\"o} isn't necessary.

For much more information on how to enter "accented" characters in bibliographic entries, I suggest you read the question "How to write “ä” and other umlauts and accented letters in bibliography?" and the associated answers.

Addendum: In a comment to this answer, the OP mentioned that he/she uses the "Revtex" document class. This document class appears to introduce some (fairly unusual) interactions between material created with \footnote commands and the work of BibTeX. This would explain why the OP is encountering the baffling error message he/she reports when using the \footnote command with an argument that contains an accented character.

• I just use in the main text \footnote{This is an approximate solution to the Schr{\"o}dinger equation ....} as it is suggested here publish.aps.org/files/revtex/apsguide4-1.pdf page 4 bullet 3. I don't use \footcite. Thank you. – eRic Jul 19 '13 at 16:55
• @eRic - Thanks for providing this additional information, about using RevTeX4.1 as your document class. From my understanding of the package's user guide, it looks like the revtex document class has created some unexpected -- though not necessarily faulty! -- interactions between \footnote and various citation-related activities. Using the BibTeX-safe way of entering accented letters thus seems to be the way to go for dealing with these characters in footnotes. – Mico Jul 19 '13 at 17:09

This is a clear bug in revtex4-1 or, at least, in its documentation.

It should always be possible to type \"{o} or \"o in order to get ö in text, but the problem is that footnotes are translated (wrongly) into BibTeX input for being typeset in the bibliography (the reason why this is done is, to me, very obscure).

Remedies: either use the BibTeX convention, that is,

Schr{\"o}dinger


or use direct input of the accented character, with inputenc:

\documentclass{revtex4-1}
\usepackage[utf8]{inputenc}
\begin{document}
\footnote{Schr{\"o}dinger}

\footnote{Schrödinger's cat}
\end{document}


The second form is, in my opinion, preferable.

• Is the cat alive? :) – Paulo Cereda Jul 19 '13 at 17:22