Highlights is a new Mac app for easily extracting your PDF highlights. You can then save them as HTML or MultiMarkDown, or even send them straight to Evernote or DEVONthink. It’s created by PhD researcher Jonas Ribe, a biophysicist based in Norway.
If the PDF contains a DOI (Digital Object Identifier), Highlights also downloads the metadata and embeds it in your file; you don’t need to remember to make a note of the source (something I’m not very good at).
Here’s a journal article I’ve opened in Highlights. As you can see, the extracted metadata is displayed on the right; the text from my highlights on the left has been extracted and added to the new document, along with the page references:
If I click ‘Edit’ on the toolbar, I can view the new document as MultiMarkDown and make any necessary changes.
Once I’ve finished adding and tweaking, I click the export icon and then choose the destination.
So, I can export it as a new PDF, email it, or send it to Evernote, DEVONthink, or another text editor. Alternatively, you can just print it.
Highlights is great for quickly grabbing quotes from journal articles and pasting them into your work. Also, you can gather just the useful bits from an article to save you having to re-read it all.
I’ve only been using it for a few days, but already Highlights is proving a very useful tool.