While writing my dissertation I was getting tired of coming up with reference names for my markdown footnotes. Further, since the project is getting big and spans multiple files I wanted to have a good way to ensure that I never used the same reference twice. So I created a quick and dirty plugin this morning that stores the last footnote number in a global settings file. In order to keep all the footnote references to just two characters, it keeps this number in a custom base-62 format that uses digits, uppercase letters, and lowercase letters.1 When I press ctrl+alt+f it will: (i) iterate this number and update the settings file, (ii) insert a new footnote reference at the current cursor position (looks like [^aY]), and creates the footnote just after the current paragraph with the cursor in position to start typing the footnote.

Here it is in a Gist:

1. Thanks to Wolph’s answer here. (I just made this footnote using my new plugin!)