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 β€œWe begin with an obstinate fact:” fails, then remove the β€œ:” 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.