My Kindle Workflow

There is little doubt that being able to carry literally thousands of books on a device smaller and lighter than a traditional paperback has innumerable benefits, some things however are a bit harder to carry over. Take the habit of making notes. On a traditional book, you may underline parts of the book itself or make your own notes on a separate book.

The latter is unaffected by whichever method you read your books, but say you like to underline your physical books themselves, what is the best way to do this with a Kindle?

Taking Highlights on a Kindle

Thankfully, Kindles themselves do support taking notes on books in the form of highlights. Whatever book you read has the option to select text and highlight it. This will unsurprisingly give the text a highlighted appearance on the screen.

Highlight Locations

So you’ve taken the highlights for your book, but now you’ve finished the entire thing. How can you easily find them and refer to them again in future?

Sure you can re-open the book, find the page you took the highlight on and see it there, but there is a much easier way.

Once you take a highlight, the Kindle saves it, with the date/time and page number of the book into a text file. This text file is stored on the Kindle itself and is easily found if you plug your Kindle into a PC or Laptop.

The file is called “My Clippings.txt”.

Organising Your Highlights

So now you have found where your highlights are stored, that should be it right?

Yes and no.

While you have the file where all your highlights are kept, it can get messy to keep all of your highlights for all of your books in a single text file. It will inevitably get long and complicated. Why not organise it?

Kmate is a free program written especially for this purpose.

Once installed, it can detect when a Kindle is plugged into a PC and search for the “My Clippings.txt” file automatically.

You can then click the synchronise button and it will load the file and organise the quotes by book within the program.

Having it within the program is helpful, but Kmate also has an option to export your notes to one text file per book. Meaning if you have 300 notes across 40 books, you will end up with 40 files containing notes from each individual book.

Not only is this helpful but its also very organised and makes it much, much easier to refer back to your highlights when you need them.

Better yet, go one step further and store your files on a cloud service like Google Drive or Dropbox, that way you can have your notes organised and available to you all the time.

Just remember to synchronise and export your notes again every so often.

Useful Note:

While the clippings file is very useful in recording notes you have taken while reading, it has some flaws. Of them is that if you accidentally take a highlight you weren’t meant to, you can easily delete the highlight from the Kindle book, but this will not reflect in the Clippings file. The erroneous highlight will still show in the file and subsequent exported files using Kmate.

A slight annoyance but in my experience this can be easily overlooked.

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