Kindle Paperwhite showing the Notes section for a book
Khamosh Pathak / How-To Geek

If you’re in the Kindle ecosystem, your book highlights and notes will sync between all your devices. But what about DRM free books? What if you want to export all highlights and notes from a book to a notetaking app?

There are two ways to do this. If you buy ebooks from the Kindle store, all your highlights and notes will be backed up automatically from your Kindle account. You can retrieve them at any time.

If you’re in the habit of manually transferring DRM-free books to your Kindle, you’ll have to take a different route. Your Kindle has a running text file where it stores all the highlights and notes from every book in chronological order. If you’re planning to sell your Kindle, you should first take a backup of this file.

Let’s take a look at both methods below.

RELATED: How to Sell or Give Away Your Kindle

How to Download Highlights From Your Kindle Account

Head over to the Kindle Notebook page. Here, you’ll see a list of all the books with highlights and notes in the left sidebar. Click on a book, and you’ll see the highlights and attached notes. You can even click the drop-down menu here to create a note for any highlight.

Kindle Notebook online with highlights

If you just want to refer to notes at a later date or wish to copy-paste some of the highlights from the notes, you can do that from this page.

If you want to download a copy of your highlights and save them for offline use, you can use the free Bookcision bookmarklet.

First, open the Bookcision page in Chrome or Firefox (bookmarklet support in Safari on Mac is lacking, to say the least).

Next, click on hold on the button that says “Drag To Bookmark Bar” and drag it to the bookmarks bar, below the URL bar. If you don’t see the bookmarks bar, use the shortcut “Shift+Command+B” on Mac or “Shift+Ctrl+B” on Windows.

Drag the button to the bookmarks bar

Now, select a book from the Kindle Notebook page and click on the “Bookcision” bookmark.

You’ll see a new popup on the page. This will list all the highlights and notes from the book. You’ll see a handy “Copy To Clipboard” button. You can click on it to quickly copy the text.

Click on the drop-down button next to “Download” and select “As Plain Text” to download all the highlights and notes in a simple text file.

When you open the downloaded file, you’ll find the highlights along with the page number within the given book.

Downloaded Highlights from Kindle book

You can now save the notes offline, email them to yourself, or paste them into your note-taking app of choice.

How to Export Highlights From Kindle Storage

If you ended up deleting a DRM-free ebook from your Kindle device, don’t worry, the highlights and notes will still be available in the “My Clippings.txt” file on your Kindle.

Every Kindle—including the first generation—maintains a running file of all the highlights and notes you’ve made. This feature is only available on Kindle ebook readers and not on Kindle Fire tablets or for Kindle apps.

First, connect your Kindle to your Mac or Windows PC using the provided USB cable. Now, go to Finder on your Mac or File Explorer on your PC and open the “Kindle” file directory. Go to the “Documents” folder.

Here, search for the “My Clippings.txt” file and double-click on the document to open it in the default text editing app.

Open the My Clippings file

You’ll find a long list of all the highlights and notes you’ve ever made on your Kindle. Depending on how long you’ve been using the Kindle, it can be a long list.

My Clippings file on Kindle with highlights

Even though it is just a text file, the highlights and notes are organized sensibly. Every highlight or note mentions the name of the book, the date and the time of the highlight, and the location of the book.

To find highlights from a particular book, all you have to do is go to the “Search” bar and search for the name of the book.

Searching in My Clippings for a book

Once you find the highlights, you can choose to copy and paste them into your note-taking app or a different document file.

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Profile Photo for Khamosh Pathak Khamosh Pathak
Khamosh Pathak is a freelance technology writer who specializes in tutorials. His work has also been published on Lifehacker, iPhoneHacks, Zapier's blog, MakeUseOf, and Guiding Tech. Khamosh has nearly a decade of experience writing how-tos, features and technology guides on the internet.
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