Roam Highlighter

Summary
Roam Highlighter, which has been created by Daniel Wirtz, is a simple to use and really useful Chrome extension that allows you to copy the titles and URLs of the web pages you visit—as well as the content you want to highlight on those pages. The extension also makes it easy to paste the copied information into your Roam database—and allows some simple customizations.
Time to install: A few minutes
Ease of use: Simple
A video tutorial on Roam Highlighter created by Daniel can be seen here.

Installation

1. Go to the Roam Highlighter Chrome extension page. 2. Click on the ‘Add to Chrome’ button.
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3. If the Roam Highlighter icon doesn’t appear at the top of your browser window, click on the Extensions icon.
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4. Then click on the grayed-out pin to activate the icon.
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Starting Roam Highlighter

To start Roam Highlighter, you have two options: 1. Click on the Roam Highlighter icon at the top of the browser window.
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2. Create a shortcut to activate Roam Highlighter in Chrome extensions. a) Paste chrome://extensions/shortcuts into the URL bar. b) Navigate to the Roam Highlighter section and type in the shortcut you want to use to activate the extension. It could be something like ‘Alt+X’.
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The default operation of the extension

There are two operations that the extension does without any customizations.

1. Copy Title/link

When you activate the extension when you’re on a webpage, the widget appears in the bottom left corner of the screen with the title of the page added. The page url is also copied.
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You can change the title text and also add extra text. This is all included in the link. If you just want to copy the url, page title and any tags, then click on the blue ‘Copy Bookmark’ button at this point. The button turns green and say ‘Copied to Clipboard’. It can then be pasted into Roam.
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2. Copy text

If you also want to copy text on that webpage, left click and hold on your mouse, moving your cursor over the relevant lines and then release the mouse button. The selected text becomes highlighted in yellow and get copied to the Highlighter extension. You can do this as many times as you want. If you want to remove a selection, just click on some yellow highlighted text in that selection and the whole selection will be removed. Once you copied all the selections you want, click on the ‘Copy [n] Highlights’ button.
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Sometimes Roam Highlighter copies images and sometimes it doesn’t. I haven’t worked out the reason for this happening or not happening.  

Settings

There are three options that can be customized in the settings. 1. Customize format. I will look at this option in more detail below. 2. Copy highlights with formatting. You can choose whether you want to copy the formatting of the web page text or not
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3. Automatically open Roam tab. This is a useful option that makes it very easy to paste copied information into your Roam database:

  • If you have your Roam database open in a different tab in the same Chrome window, it will automatically navigate to the Roam tab;
  • If you don’t have an open Roam tab but you’re logged in to Roam, it will open your Roam home page so you can choose which of your databases you want to use;
  • If you’re not logged it, it will open a new tab and take you to the Roam Sign In page.
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Customizing the format

The extension allows you to customize what information is collected by Roam Highlighter and how it is formatted. The default format is:
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This means that the extension: 1) collects the title which is linked to the page url 2) puts the highlights in nested blocks under the title/url block. However there are two further options: 1) You can add two additional placeholders — tags and author.
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2. You can also customize how the placeholders are formatted. a) You can add double square brackets so these are automatically linked in Roam. b) You can also indent placeholders so they become nested blocks when they are pasted into Roam. At the moment, there isn’t a tab option in Roam Highlighter so indenting has to be created by adding multiple spaces. This is how Ramses formats the information he captures in Roam Highlighter.
[[Article/$TITLE]]
      Author:: [[$AUTHOR]]
      Source:: $URL
      Tags:: $TAGS
      #Highlights
            $HIGHLIGHTS
 

Specific uses

GMail

The latest version of Roam Highlighter now works with Gmail, although it can be a bit hit or miss. The extension saves the email subject and any text that you select. Sometimes the text needs some cleaning up. For example, lines between paragraphs sometimes appear as empty bullet points.

Kindle highlights

  1. This is the process for using Roam Highlighter to copy your Kindle Highlights into Roam.
  2. Go to read.amazon.com/notebook in a Chrome window or tab.
  3. Select the book whose highlights you want to copy in the left-hand sidebar by clicking on the title or cover image. The book highlights you’ve already selected in Kindle will then appear in the right-hand window.
  4. Open Roam Highlighter
  5.  The title will appear as ‘Kindle: Your Notes and Highlights’ so delete this text and add in the title and author of the book.
  6. Select the highlights you want to paste into Roam. If you want, you can also include the Kindle highlight color category and the location number.
  7. When you paste the text into Roam, there will be some junk code and notes added by the Kindle app. However it’s easy to delete these.

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