Now that I’m committed to using Apple Notes, I wanted a way to download my Highlights into Notes.

I like using Bookmarks as a read-it-later service and the highlighting feature is great for quickly blogging excerpts from articles. For longer-term storage, though, and integration with the rest of my notes, it is much better to have the content of the highlights stored within Notes.

So, here’s a Shortcut Highlights to Notes that does exactly this. The Shortcut checks first to see if the highlight is already captured in a note to prevent duplication. It also checks to see if there’s already a note for the webpage, just with a different highlight, and appends the highlight to that note, instead of creating a new one.

At least, that’s the idea. I’ve found these checks very unreliable. Sometimes the Shortcut finds the match and appends, and sometimes it doesn’t and creates a new one. Part of the problem seems to be that if there’s any punctuation in the content, the Notes filter fails. For example, searching for “We begin with an obstinate fact:” fails, then remove the “:” and the search work fine. I can use regular expressions to remove all punctuation, but then my notes are all mangled.

After fiddling around with this for a while, I’m just going to move along and assume it is a bug in the Notes actions for Shortcuts. Perhaps not a fair conclusion. The worst case is that I get one note per highlight, rather than just one note per article, and sporadically a note is duplicated. This isn’t so bad, and debugging Shortcuts can be a nuisance. Given this, the Shortcut is likely better used in an empty Notes folder, that is, delete all the previously downloaded Highlights first.