Organize Your Highlights ✍️ — Wonder Tools

New ways to save things you want to remember, review and share

Welcome! Read on to discover how you can use digital highlighting sites and apps to more effectively save, remember and share things you read, listen to and watch. If someone forwarded this to you or you found it online, subscribe to join >5k free readers and get next Thursday’s post in your inbox.

You read thousands of words last week. How much of that do you remember? 🤔 By highlighting juicy tidbits, we make it easier for our future selves to return to — and reflect on — valuable passages. The highlighting tool I find most useful:

Readwise — The Master Tool for Highlighting

Readwise is my favorite tool for digital highlights. It serves as a repository for all my highlights from other services. I also use it to review, share and export highlights.

Readwise features 👍

  • Highlight online articles Install the Readwise browser extension for Chrome or Firefox. Then highlight anything you reading online, right-click, and select “Save Highlight to Readwise.” Or, if you have the Readwise app for iOS or Android, select any text on your phone and share it to Readwise.

  • Pull in ebook highlights Readwise can import all the highlights you’ve made in Kindle, Apple Books or Google Play Books. I like having access to all my favorite passages from across my ebooks in one place. You can add notes to any passage to add your own perspective to any highlight.

  • Pull in saved passages from read-it-later services like Instapaper and Pocket.

  • Grab highlights from print books Take a picture of a page in a book and then slide your finger over the text you want to digitize and save. If you’re on iOS and only read print books, I’d recommend Highlighted, detailed below.

  • Import highlights from many other apps, PDFs—even podcast highlights from the Airr app, described below.

What you can do with your saved highlights

  • Review your favorite passages Readwise can email you passages you’ve highlighted to reflect on. Or show you an assortment of past highlights on your phone. I like being able to search through sentences I’ve enjoyed in the past. You can also export them into your notes in Evernote, Notion or Roam.

Pricing: It’s free for 30 days to try out, then $4.50/month for basic features or $8/month for advanced features. If you’d prefer to avoid a new subscription, I’d recommend one of the apps below, all of which are free.


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Free new Readwise alternatives

Highlighted is a free iOS app that’s a good alternative to Readwise if all you want to do is save passages from print books. Snap a picture of a notable page, drag your finger across the sentences you like, and the words are magically saved.

The app collects all the passages you save from a particular book into a bundle that you can then export to use on your computer, print, or share with others. Note: Readwise also lets you save passages from print books, but Highlighted’s print book scanning works a bit better. Android users — go with Readwise’s app instead.

Eloquent is a simple, free Chrome extension useful for highlighting and taking notes on things you read online. Once installed, you can pop it out on the side of your browser whenever you want to highlight or make a note on something.

Unique features: ✨ Type special keywords— like /url — to insert the page link into your notes. Or type other keywords to insert a publication’s name or author. Bonus: use Eloquent to add time-coded notes on a YouTube video. 📺

Liner is a highlighting app that on Aug 5 added a great way to highlight YouTube videos. Here’s how that YouTube highlighting works.

Command app is a new iOS browser that lets you save Web highlights and sync them to Readwise, OneNote or Notion. I still prefer mobile Chrome or Safari.

Reading apps with built-in highlighting

Medium has an excellent highlighter that lets you save key passages, share them with others, and see what others have highlighted.

Instapaper has long been on my phone’s home screen. I use the bookmarklet on my laptop’s Web browser to save articles to read later in a clean view. It has its own highlighter. It also works well with Readwise, whose team recommends it.

Kindle I love the feel of print books. But I like being able to save highlights from ebooks. Having a collection of my favorite book passages is useful for learning, brainstorming, and sharing useful passages with colleagues and students.

Highlight Podcasts and Audio Books

Libby is what I use to listen to audio books from the library. It has a handy highlighting feature I began using this year to mark passages I wanted to hear again.

Airr lets you save memorable moments from podcasts. Free on iOS, Android waitlist. Here’s a podcast highlight made with Airr. I found it a little glitchy. I’m still happy using Castro for podcasts. Castro also lets you share audio 🎧 highlights like this.

P.S. Jumpstart your new project

Applications are now open for the 100-day, fully-online Journalism Creators Program I run at CUNY’s Newmark Grad School of Journalism. You’re invited to apply by Aug 29 to join our fall cohort.

p.s. If you missed last week’s post, I answered reader questions about creative ways to make a slideshow, build a quick site and avoid getting tempted by too many tools.

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