How to Use Readwise to Get Notes and Highlights into Evernote

For an updated version of this article, check out this post: “How to Use Readwise to Get Notes and Highlights into Evernote”.

My main capture workflow is Hypothes.is/Instapaper/Twitter -> Readwise -> Evernote.

Thanks to Readwise after I highlight something or add a note, they automatically go into my Evernote’s “Readwise” notebook. From there I can move notes into other notebooks and they would still sync with any future updates and highlights.

Note that you’ll need a Readwise Full membership ($8/month) to unlock Evernote sync and tags/notes.

I outline my capture workflow in this video:

This post is a companion to that video. I’ll also talk about other methods I didn’t cover in the video like:

  • Mobile uploads/scans for physical books with Readwise app (beta)
  • When I use Hypothes.is vs Instapaper.
  • My read-it-later workflow for PDFs

Physical books and notes

For physical books, I’ve tried CSV bulk imports and the Readwise app’s scanning feature. As of this writing, I prefer CSV imports for physical books.Typing into a CSV is faster (for now).

Method 1: CSV Import

You can import a CSV of your notes through Readwise’s bulk import method.

Here’s the CSV I used for my Great by Choice notes.

The highlights field is the only requirement, but I’d recommend adding a Title and the URL for articles.

You can have multiple books and articles in each CSV. You don’t have to do a new import for each article or book.

The bulk import also works for podcast notes, video notes, etc. Basically any text notes that you can type in a CSV spreadsheet. (Personally, I don’t bother. I type in-the-moment thoughts and notes on Drafts then export them to Evernote.)

Method 2: The Mobile App

I didn’t cover this in the video.

With the Readwise app (still in beta), you can take a photo of the page or book. The optical character recognition within Readwise lets you highlight the passage you want to save.

I haven’t used this feature as much as I’d like to. I tend to highlight multiple passages in a page and as of this writing, I would need to take for each highlight I have on that page.

Online Articles & PDFs

Instapaper is for articles that I want to read later - mostly, non-work related articles - while Hypothes.is is for articles and PDFs that I read as I find them.

Method 1: Hypothes.is

Hypothes.is great for articles and PDFs. I don't use Hypothesi.is to collaborate with others.

I've tried LINER and Highly (RIP). Hypothes.is is better because it lets you annotate each highlight and it lets you annotate PDFs. This lets you use Readwise’s tagging syntax to identify headings (.h1, .h2, and .h3) and concatenate highlights (.c1, .c2, .c3 …).

You can’t do PDFs or annotations with any other highlighting tool (that I know of).

The only thing with Hypothes.is right now is that it’s pretty clunky. You need to log in for every new page you want to highlight. When you delete a comment, Hypothes.is also automatically scrolls the entire page up. But if you’re talking about the fundamentals - getting highlights and notes into Readwise - it’s perfect.

Method 2: Instapaper/Pocket

For articles I want to read in bulk or offline, I use Instapaper. Like all the other apps, any highlights and notes go into Readwise then Evernote. And like Hypothes.is, Readwise’s tagging syntax works, too!

Note that you’ll need Instapaper Premium ($3/month) to make more than 3 highlights per article. Pocket, I think, has unlimited highlights free (and integrates with Readwise, too). I’ve used both but I just like Instapaper better.

What about PDFs for later?

For PDFs that I want to read later, I AirDrop them to my iPad, read + annotate them on Good Notes 5 (I have an Apple Pen), then get the notes into Readwise following the physical books method.

eBooks

If you bought the book from Amazon, highlights from Kindle eReaders sync automatically to Readwise. If it’s a personal document (PDF, mobi, etc) , you’ll have to manually connect your Kindle to your computer, search for the file that called “MyClippings.txt”, and manually upload it.

For ePubs (not compatible with Kindle), I’d use iBooks, although I haven’t explored this integration yet. The Readwise guys also have a Kobo integration in the works.

What about the Kindle app for mobile?

As far as I know, the Kindle mobile app for Android, iOS, and macOS only syncs Amazon-bought books. Not personal documents.

I haven’t found a way to get PDF highlights from my iPad Kindle app to Readwise. I’m hoping that converting those PDFs to ePub and reading with Apple’s iBooks will automatically get my highlights into Readwise.

In the meantime, I read and markup PDF in my iPad’s Good Notes 5 app. When I’m done, I follow the physical books method to get my highlights into Readwise/Evernote.

Tweets

There’s 2 ways to save tweets to Readwise:

  1. Reply “@readwiseio save” to the tweet. Kinda like the Unroll app.
  2. DM the tweet to @readwise.io. (I prefer this latter method because it’s less intrusive.)

For threads or tweetstorms, I don’t think you can do the less-intrusive DM method. You’ll have to reply “@readwiseio save thread” to the last tweet in the thread.

More Info

If you want more details on how tagging works in Readwise (I use this a lot), check out these guides from Readwise:


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