How to Highlight in Evernote




Posted in LivingLife-hacks

Introduction: How to Highlight in Evernote

The newest version of Evernote finally has a highIight tool!!! but I'll leave this up in case anybody still wants to use these other methods or you're still on an older version.

If you've used Evernote for more than a minute you've probably noticed there's no highlight tool. I'm not going to get into how ridiculous this is for a notetaking application, but instead I'll show you the different ways you can highlight. Some are more useful than others depending on what you're doing. I'll be focusing on highlighting Wikipedia articles because that's what I needed to highlight and clip.

I'll be using Firefox and the Windows Evernote client but I'm sure that most of these will work on other browsers and systems.

Methods (Step:):
1 - "Highlight" Change Text Color
2 - Evernote Clearly
3 - ENML
4 - PrintScreen
5 - Highlight on Pages with Firefox Addon than Send to Evernote (psst, the best option...)
5 1/2 - Copy/Paste Highlighted Character (Blank Space with Highlighted HTML)

If anybody knows any other methods, or alternatives for other OS's and browsers, please tell me and I'll add them to the list. There's plenty of articles on how to do this out there, but none that explain all the methods, hence this instructable.

Step 1: "Highlight" Change Text Color

This is the simplest solution. It's built into Evernote and will get you buy. It's how most get buy, but it's not true highlighting. It's about as useful as just underlining. You select your text and change it's color.

Step 2: Evernote Clearly

Evernote Clearly is an add on (from Evernote) that makes it easier to read pages. You click on the icon and the page is transformed to a theme of your chossing (font, color, everything). It also, strangely enough allows highlighting.

Click that icon with the little letter T or by hitting Ctrl + Alt + H. You can change the shortcut by going to Firefox > Add-ons > Clearly (Options) > Options

The downside to this is that unlike the Web Clipper it doesn't have the option to sync through your desktop client, therefore using up some of your monthly allowance. This won't work for you if you plan to merge notes, or organize the clipped text, and therefore use up even more of your allowance.

Also the highlight color is not quite yellow (this can't be changed) and you can't keep a website's formatting. It clips the formatting from the clearly theme you use. If you hit Ctrl+Space in Evernote it will format it to your preferred font and font size (you can set this in Tools > Options > Note) and make the yellow a brighter yellow.... BUT the moment you leave that note, the highlighting will disappear. When you go back to it nothing will be highlighted.

Step 3: ENML

This is probably the most complicate way to add highlighting.... ever.

To explain what ENML is, here's a quote from their site.

"Evernote has a nice WYSIWYG editor on most of its platforms and it works for normal people. But some geeks want more: If you can read and write XHTML and you are not afraid of potentially screwing up your note, use this webapp to edit the underlying XML content of a note. And since the XML content must comply to the Evernote Markup Language ENML, this webapp is called ENML Editor."

So you can do a lot more than highlighting, but I'll focus on that.

First you connect your account. The steps are pretty simple. Your note has to be made already and synced (which is a HUGE downside). You copy the note link, paste it, and open up the editor.

To highlight something, copy <span style="x-evernote: highlighted; background-color: #f6ee96"> in front of it (you can change the color to whatever you want) and </span> to the end. Yeah, not fun... But if you want to edit a lot of things it might be useful (background color, etc.) They offer a bookmarklet on their page if you don't want to have to do the same three steps over and over.

Step 4: PrintScreen

If you use Skitch a lot you could use it to print the screen and highlight the part you want in a variety of colors. The downside of course is that the text remains an uneditable image, and it only works for short articles.

You could also just highlight with your mouse courser like you're selecting something and PrintScreen that if you want to be faster.

The downsides to this are just about everything. Don't worry, I'm getting to the best method.

Step 5: Highlight on Pages With Firefox Addon Than Send to Evernote

This is by far the best method I've found. I use TextMarker Go. It's simple, allows you to select text than Right Click > Mark this Selection to mark it. It doesn't save your highlights, but I don't care (as I'm clipping them). There's some add-ons that do, but they're not as simple and don't work with current versions of Firefox.You can set up to three different color options (just go to Firefox > Add-ons > TextMarker Go Options). A regular click on "Mark this Selection" will get you the first color, Ctrl + Click the second, Shift + Click the third.

Then select what you want clipped and send it to Evernote with the Web Clipper (which allows for online AND offline clipping). Unfortunately simplifying the formatting doesn't work but you can change the font and size and the highlighting usually looks find (adjusts it's size, etc) unlike with some other methods. Also some text might simplify itself as you see in the second picture if you clip from a selection (not if you clip from article view or fullpage). Copying it to a note by hand will simplify even more formatting (like the word "Wikipedia").

The downside to this method is that it leaves some spaces highlighted sometimes between changes in formatting (links, underlines, etc). You can fix these by backspacing the blank space than adding a normal space. It's tedious though so... you might want to get used to the spaces. Most sites aren't as formatted as wikipedia, so it might not bother you anyways.


Article View | Selection Clipped | Selection Copied by Hand | Original Text on Wikipedia (well not quite so original as I have a few add-ons for it), but you can see the lack of blank spaces.

Step 6: Copy/Paste Highlighted Character (Blank Space With Highlighted HTML)

This is an extra... It's not really another method.

If you're typing up something up and wish to highlight as you go copy a space in a highlighted text (from Word, from some text you highlighted with an add-on, etc), some might work better than others. Some might blank out when you leave a note. I think all will loose their highlights if simplified, but some can have their font changed without the highlights being too short.

If you don't understand what I'm saying about copying a space, just copy the gray area between two words like I selected above.

Now paste this anywhere you want to write in highlighted text. I suggest you paste it at the top of your note temporarily if you will be copying and pasting other things. To stop writing highlighted just copy a non highlighted space.

You can also paste text right after a highlighted space to make the entire pasted text highlighted. You have to "Paste as Text" though, normal pasting doesn't work.

Step 7: That's It.

Unfortunately, until Evernote actually implements it (probably the day after I post this, lol). Feel free to combine methods and add your own in the comments.

Hope this helps everyone.



    • Science of Cooking

      Science of Cooking
    • Pocket-Sized Contest

      Pocket-Sized Contest
    • Microcontroller Contest

      Microcontroller Contest

    We have a be nice policy.
    Please be positive and constructive.




    Personally, I made myself an AutoHotkey shortcut. If I'm in Evernote window, select the text I want to highlight and then press {Window key}+H, it highlight with a yellow color. Even better, my method would also work to set various tags. A shortcut can add the quantity of HTML that you want.

    To do it, I exploit the way Evernote translate stuff you paste from clipboard into Evernote markup. With autohotkey, you get the clipboard content, then, you edit the clipboard to add a with the desired style on it. Search for the WinClip library, it helps. Finally, you paste it back. It works well enough for me while I wait for Evernote to add the feature themselves.