export-highlights for Instapaper
Sat Feb 06, 2021 · 275 words

What’s the need?

The key need is to be able to quickly export highlights from articles bookmarked in Instapaper at the command-line.

What’s the approach?

The approach is to leverage the Instapaper API to quickly extract the highlights from a bookmarked article into a text stream.

What are the benefits?

Leveraging Instapaper’s programmatic API makes exporting highlights effortless. Generating a text stream means this output can be piped to other tools or apps and manipulated in an infinite number of ways.

What are the alternatives?

One alternative is to use a Chrome extension called Instapaper highlights exporter which partially addresses the need by exporting an HTML file containing all Instapaper highlights.

The basic idea is to load the Instapaper Notes page, use the browser extension to export and then get the exported file into a format that can be easily manipulated.

A second alternative is to leverage IFTTT as in How to Automatically Save Your Instapaper Highlights to Ulysses. IFTTT is triggered when a new highlight is added and the note can be exported to Dropbox.

It might be possible for IFTTT to provide some other export mechanism. Regardless, the disparate files would need to be aggregated together into a text stream for manipulation by other tools or apps.

A third alternative is to leverage Readwise to pull in highlights. Readwise has integration with Evernote, Roam and Notion. It appears Readwise can also export to CSV and Markdown formats.

While all these alternatives are viable, they require multiple steps and introduce multiple points of potential failure.

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See also

  1. Elaborate by thinking, writing and connecting
  2. The ultimate guide to summarizing books

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