Now, I heard of footnotes per page, section, chapter, part or document, used all of them, but recently I got a (strange?) request to have footnote counter reset per page spread, i.e., after every odd page.

The point thrown at me is the following: in a book, there should never ever be the same footnote number present on both even and odd page in a page spread (as happens regularly when "perpage" footnote method is used), because the page spread should be observed as a whole, not the page alone. According to this, numbering the first footnote on both even and odd page with number 1 is unacceptable.

So, my question is: what is the easiest and/or safest way to have footnote counter reset after every odd page, so that footnote numbering starts anew on every even page? In the example code below, footnote numbers should start anew on pages 2 and 4.

Also, I'll appreciate any thought, theoretical explanation or reference which approves or disapproves this kind of footnote numbering.

\documentclass{book}

\begin{document}

First\footnote{A footnote}\par
First\footnote{A footnote}\par
First\footnote{A footnote}\par

\clearpage

Second\footnote{A footnote}\par
Second\footnote{A footnote}\par
Second\footnote{A footnote}\par

\clearpage

Third\footnote{A footnote}\par
Third\footnote{A footnote}\par
Third\footnote{A footnote}\par

\clearpage

Fourth\footnote{A footnote}\par
Fourth\footnote{A footnote}\par
Fourth\footnote{A footnote}\par

\clearpage

Fifth\footnote{A footnote}\par
Fifth\footnote{A footnote}\par
Fifth\footnote{A footnote}\par

\end{document}

• Not sure, but This QA might be helpful. – Pouya Dec 26 '13 at 11:19
• Footnotes should be numbered consecutively across one chapter. This is the only good method. This kind of numbering would be just confusing. With only a few footnotes, a per page numbering could be considered, but with symbols as markers, not numbers. – egreg Dec 26 '13 at 20:17
• Pouya, thanks, that was useful. egreg, When footnotes are used only occasionally here and there, symbols might be a good solution. But when we have 3 or 4 footnotes per page, symbols are out of question. Even footnote-per-chapter approach is quite problematic because footnote number goes a way over 10, which I do not like. In cases like this, I personally prefer per page method. Still, I'm glad I'm not the only one who finds footnotes-per-spread method strange or confusing. :-) – Meho R. Dec 26 '13 at 21:23
• I would be interested in seeing any (reputable) book or journal where footnotes are reset after each odd page. The per page system, while still in use today, has been on the wane for many decades IMHO. It made more sense, I think, when books were set by hand and it was easier to do without screwing up the numbering: the first footnote on the page is always one! Computer-assisted typesetting obviates the need to worry about getting the numbering right across a chapter or article; and in an article or essay collection, you can simply refer to the note number, rather than note and page number. – jon Dec 27 '13 at 3:11

Using

\documentclass{book}

\usepackage{ifthen,changepage,everypage}

\checkoddpage
\ifthenelse{\boolean{oddpage}}{\setcounter{footnote}{0}}{}
}

\begin{document}

First\footnote{A footnote}\par
First\footnote{A footnote}\par
First\footnote{A footnote}\par

\clearpage

Second\footnote{A footnote}\par
Second\footnote{A footnote}\par
Second\footnote{A footnote}\par

\clearpage

Third\footnote{A footnote}\par
Third\footnote{A footnote}\par
Third\footnote{A footnote}\par

\clearpage

Fourth\footnote{A footnote}\par
Fourth\footnote{A footnote}\par
Fourth\footnote{A footnote}\par

\clearpage

Fifth\footnote{A footnote}\par
Fifth\footnote{A footnote}\par
Fifth\footnote{A footnote}\par

\end{document}


leads to footnotes 1,2,3 and 4,5,6 on pages 1,2,4 and 3,5 respectively. I believe this is what you want? Not sure about any undesired side-effects though.