How to Highlight on Kindle: The Power of Personal Excerpts

Highlights preserve your favorite concepts, topics, and insights while you read so you can revisit them later. Simply tap, hold, and drag to create a highlight . Tap on the highlight again to edit it, change the color, add notes and more.

One of the most beloved features of the Kindle Paperwhite and other Kindle devices is the ability to highlight and make notes. At first glance, this may not seem like a spectacular feature, but its true power lies in how it can be applied to content that is truly important and stands out to you personally.

When you finish reading and highlighting, you will have your own personal excerpt of what you have read, with everything that matters to you and not somebody else. While services like Blinkist and Get Abstract offer book summarizing services, your personal summary is much more valuable to you and may also be valuable to others you want to share it with.

Here’s how it works: when you’re in the book, long-press the sentence you want to highlight or make a note on. When the underlining appears, move your finger along the page until the end of the passage, then let go. You can also use the two handles that show up after long-pressing to extend your selection forward or backward within the text. If you want to adjust the selection, just tap next to the text and the handles will appear again. To delete the selection, tap “delete” in the pop-up.

To access your notes, open the context menu on the right side of the top menu and tap “notes”. At the bottom of the document, you will find the “export notes” button. The Kindle will send an email to the email address connected to your Amazon account, and you will find your highlights and notes as a Word and PDF document.

Although long-time publishers and authors were once concerned about copyright infringements, exporting notes has proven to be very valuable to everyone. However, the amount of text you can export is limited, and some books may not offer the export function at all. But there’s a workaround for that case too: you can find the notes in the “documents” folder on your Kindle. Just connect the Kindle via USB to your computer, find the folder, and copy or open the “myclippings.txt” document.

As someone who has loved this function for many years, I’m now the proud owner of my own little short reads library that I copied into Evernote. The notebook is called “My Books” and it contains all the summaries I’ve made over the years. From time to time, I go back and look at certain topics I studied to get the summary of the respective document. This is a really great feature for study, research, or work. Enjoy it!