Extract Highlights Plugin

Hi there!

This tiny plugin extracts all highlights from a current note in Obsidian into your clipboard for further use (Atomic note-creation etc.)

It’s based on @icebear’s plugin idea and @santi’s awesome feedback over the last days.

Today I’d love to share it “officially” with you and invite you to take it for a spin.

Super simple, here’s how it works:

  1. Set up: Settings -> Third-Party Plugins -> Community Plugins -> "Extract Highlights" -> Install
  2. Test-drive: Paste a long text into Obsidian and use == to mark up things that stand out to you
  3. Extract: Hit SHIFT-ALT-= to copy the highlights into your clipboard
  4. Create: Create a new section or note to paste your highlights

Your Feedback

I’d love to hear from you how we could improve this idea.

Please share your thoughts either…

Speaking of feedback. An issue just came up today about whether the automatic addition of the “## Highlights” should be the default.

What do you think?

Is adding “## Highlights” useful for you?
  • Yes, having “## Highlights” added by default IS useful to me
  • No, having “## Highlights” added by default is NOT useful to me

0 voters

3 Likes

This is a big part of my workflow now - but I would like to see “## Highlights” as an option, rather than mandatory.

2 Likes

Thanks a lot. It’s working well and helps a lot in my workflow. Similar to @icebear, I’d like the ‘##’ as an option too.

1 Like

@icebear and @Finessest you both mention your workflow.

To make sure to fully understand your needs: How would you describe your overall workflow?

  1. Batch download interesting articles with MarkDownload
  2. Read articles in Obsidian by going through #unread tag
  3. Add highlights along the way
  4. Extract highlights, which are copied to top of article, and into a “Seeds” note where I will group highlights from separate articles together
  5. Compose summaries/analysis notes from groups of highlights. These include a link back to the original article(s) in my Obsidian source folder, in case I need to go back for reference.
1 Like

That’s really interesting, thank you for sharing. I’ve immediately installed MarkDownload :slight_smile:

Based on your feedback and the poll, I added the settings for customizing the headline.

By default the heading is there (“Highlights”, customizable) but by changing it to blank, the heading will be omitted entirely.

Questions about your workflow, Step 4 and 5: What else still really, really sucks about this step?

Thanks everyone for your input in the poll!

I’ve just made a new release that includes customising the headline text. If you change the text to blank, it’ll omit the heading completely.

All you have to do is hit Settings -> Third-Party Plugins -> Installed Plugins Reload to get the newest version :slight_smile:

Let me know how it goes,

Oh, and another question I had: Do you use the button or the hotkey more frequently?

Button or Hotkey - Which one do you use?
  • Button mostly
  • Hotkey mostly
  • Both equally often

0 voters

Alexis

PS: Here’s are the release details https://github.com/akaalias/extract-highlights-plugin/releases/tag/0.0.6

Voted for the button, but really I’d like to trigger it from the command palette. Any chance of that?

1 Like

Ohhhh Interesting. I hadn’t used the command palette before but YES, that totally makes sense.

I really, really like the idea. Let me get back to you on that @ShaneNZ

1 Like

Hi, good initiative. I don’t use the highlights markdown because not all markdown apps support it, so I use bold instead. Would it be possible make extraction of bold an option?

I don’t mean to add yet another feature request to your plug-in when there have been various ones already, so if it is not convenient just tell me. No har feelings :wink:

2 Likes

Hey @ShaneNZ, I looked into it and there’s a bug the way clipboard works with the Command Palette. Basically everything but the “Paste” works.

But I’ve found a temporary work-around. It’s weird but it works.

  1. Trigger Command Palette (Command-P)
  2. Find “Extract Highlights”
  3. Hit Enter (You should see a notification (“Highlights copied to clipboard!”)
  4. Workaround: At this point, briefly switch to a different note and back (This materialises the clipboard data for pasting)
  5. Paste works now the same as with the Hotkey and Button-press

Definitely. Looks like we all have different preferences on how we define a highlight. For @santi it’s <mark></mark>, for me it’s ==

I’ll see to build in ** and let you know when it’s ready!

Santi’s is actually the best way, and I did it for a bit, but got fed up with having to type of the HTML tags. Double asterisks is easier.

I do want to repeat that if it is too much of a hassle to build in ** don’t hesitate to drop the idea. If you do continue with it, thanks in advance !

2 Likes

Don’t worry at all. Not a big hassle and I might personally as well use ** over == in the future. That’s how I used to highlight in the past in all other editors.

Included in release 0.0.8! -> https://github.com/akaalias/extract-highlights-plugin/releases/tag/0.0.8

3 Likes
  1. Importing with Zotero and MarkDownload
  2. With Markdownload, safe the md file directly into the vault.
  3. Add metadata with a template in the source document. Including tag “#reference
  4. Split horizontally the source file with a new note.
  5. Read the source file and do some highlights with “==”.
  6. Meanwhile, on the second half of the screen (split view), I write some thoughts and a summary of each section. I also use block reference here when my notes need some context. Cool thing is that I can see those highlights I did earlier through the block referencing.
  7. New: I export the highlights from the source file and add them to the bottom of my note. With that help, I now double-check, if my lecture/thoughts/notes accord to all my highlights. Maybe the block referencing from step 6. isn’t needed anymore thanks to the highlight export.
  8. After I am done with my note, I put a tag into it called #weekly
  9. End of the week, I read all my #weekly notes again, create again a new note on top of it and make a note from the previous note I did. This is the final product. Depending on the circumstances, I export that note and add it to my Zotero library.
1 Like

To be honest, the only friction I have that those steps has to do with Obsidian, not the plugin - I wish I could do highlights will in preview mode (or WYSIWYG).

That I don’t have any other requests probably has something to do with my final needs - I don’t need my final notes/writing to be perfectly/academically cited. If I did, I suppose another point of friction would be shifting my highlights from bullets into foot/endnotes. But that’s pure speculation on my part - as is the plugin is working great in my workflow.

Edit: I guess in step 5, it may be useful for the extrator to add a [[Self referential link to origin note]] at the top of the bullets in the clipboard - recognizing that I paste these into a “Seeds” or other note for further use. This would save the step of me doing so myself.

You should not extract raw text. But dynamically block reference the highlighted text so it is interlinked with original article…

1 Like

Thanks for the investigation, and the workaround. I’ve managed to train myself into the shortcut key now, so we’re :+1:

1 Like

This is an interesting idea. Is it possible to block reference only a portion of a line?

@den: you cannot make a sweeping statement like that. What you suggest could be an option. I, for one, do want the possibility of highlights extracted when they are highlights in a book, and when I extract the raw text I have a summary.