“Show them what’s important” – use Awesome Highlighter

We have all experienced the frustration when someone is unable to follow our directions clearly and unable find that one link/text on a web page. We have all also had disagreements with others about certain facts and have tried to provide proof that we in fact are correct in our side of the argument by referring to a web page. Or [insert scenario here where we want to show someone something on a web page]. Well Awesome Highlighter is a free web service which allows us to literally highlight selected text on a web page and show it to our friend/enemy/anyone we are talking with. It is truly very handy.

Awesome Highlighter works in a very simple way. First you go to Awesome Highlighter’s homepage:


Once at the homepage, just type in, or paste in, the URL of the website you want to highlight text on and click “Highlight Page”:


You will then be brought to the URL you entered with a Awesome Highlighter “overlay” allowing you to highlight portions of the website:


You use the 2009-07-30_110530 to select the text you want to highlight. As you select text, the text will turn yellow. If you prefer to have your text be highlighted in a different color, you can change this from the top bar:


You can highlight as much text as you want on the page (however you can’t highlight images). If you make a mistake and want to remove a highlight just left click the highlight and you will be prompted to remove the highlight.

In addition to being able to highlight the page, you can also add “notes” (you must click 2009-07-30_110907 from the top and click on the page with your highlighter for each note you want to add):


You can add as many notes as you want.

Once you have finished highlighting and/or adding notes, just click the 2009-07-30_110954 button. You will be brought to a page where a short URL will be listed which you can give to other people so they can view your highlights and notes:


You can view my example highlight at http://awurl.com/gwVF7wsGe

In addition to being provided a short URL, you can share your highlight in multiple quick-fashioned ways and/or track how many people visit your highlight via stats.

To top it all off, if you find you are using Awesome Highlighter often, you can use the Firefox plugin (if you have Firefox) or the bookmarklet if you have a different browser for quick highlighting skillz (you don’t have to visit AwesomeHighlighter.com every time you want to highlight something if you use the plugin or bookmarklet).

Lastly, if you would like to save your highlights for easy future access, you must register and login before making any highlights (NOTE: You do not have to register to use Awesome Highlighter).

So I pretty much said it all there is to say about this web service. Enough talk. Time for you to try it out for yourself. You can either head to AwesomeHighlighter.com and start highlighting your favorite web page or you can give the demo a go. Have fun.

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  • hux

    Hi guys, especially “advanced” students – (old bar-steds) :
    1. A great program for serious reseach saving: http://notepad-plus-plus.org/
    2. Go get the paid program Dragon NaturallySpeaking for speech-2-text conversion. Sell one of your kids if you have to – save 70% of your time.
    3. I still use old MS WordPad for flying notes to myself AND use highlighting in it. AND of course, do direct word-2-text input. Works great with Dragon.
    4. I also use a portable notetaker – a Sony SX57 – which works very well with Dragon. Just dump it in to Dragon and presto – converted to text.

  • Dru

    I’m glad this article was reposted as I know there’s been a lot of movement in this space over the past 2 years. I think the idea here of preserving notes and highlights should also include apps like Evernote. Can you experts share how you are managing web-based information? I like the idea of marking up web pages but web pages change, how are those markups reconciled? I don’t like the idea of MHT/offline storage–everything is preserved but then you have online resources and offline, and offline doesn’t update if information changes. What’s a researcher/info packrat to do?

  • Rob

    For those that would like to save as MHT (complete web page in a single self contained file), in Chrome or Safari –
    I have just downloaded a free program called SaveAs Plus
    After installing it into Windows, you open up either browser and drag a link into the Bookmarks Toolbar.
    You only have to do that once, and from then on it is available as a Save Button in your Bookmarks Toolbar.
    (Ctrl B or Ctrl Shift B will show/hide the Bookmarks Toolbar).
    It appears to do the job just fine.
    Now I can use any of my 6 browsers, and save as MHT
    Ain’t technology grand.

  • Rob

    Hi Ozzie,
    Does ‘Dog Ears’ store it’s data in accompanying (or elsewhere) files ?

    I have just installed CometBird (because my FF and my Opera Tabs are full).
    It is basically a faster trimmer FF
    So far, I like it. (And I can now fill up it’s Tabs.)

    It appears to take all FF extensions.
    I popped ‘Edit and Note’ in, and inserted some red text.
    I then saved it as MHT (using unMHT extension).
    I then copied the MHT file to another computer, and opened it in FF.
    ‘Lo and behold’ my red text was there.

    So the good news is, it can do what I want.
    The bad news is, it needs someone with a college education (hint), to explain how to use it.
    I managed to insert the text pretty easily, but it’s toggling in and out of Edit mode, confuses old ba..teds, who cannot remember whether they even went to college.

  • Ozzie

    Ok, I think I’ve found just the thing I was looking for! If you’re a student like me and you have to do a lot of research and that means visiting countless webpages, then copying and pasting text and transfering it to different files, then this just might be for you. It’s the free version of a note-taking tool called Smart PIM (http://smartfishsoft.com/), but it’s a bit more than that too. It allows you to create note categories and then when you see some info on a page you want to keep, you simply highlight it and click Ctrl+D and, bada-bing, it is saved into that category. I love it! The paid version has more bells and whistles, like being able to export into different formats, but the free version is just fine for my needs. Anyway, just thought I’d pass it on. Enjoy!

  • Ozzie

    This also might be worth considering: Firefox add-on “Dog Ears” (https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/4482). It marks places on web pages and allows you to easily go back and view them. I just installed it and really like it.

  • Ozzie


    Seriously (and I know you told me not to call you Seriously – damn boy, how many times have you seen THAT movie!), I agree with you on the over-reliance on bookmarking as being potentially problematic. And yes, I wish there was a tool that would enable me to just simply “render the web page, and allow one to highlight”.

    I have just started my masters degree part-time, and I am filling up my bookmarks with web pages of potentially useful information with frightening regularity. Problem is, when I call those pages back up again (knowing I must have bookmarked them for a reason), I have to trawl through them paragraph by paragraph to find what it was that I thought them so necessary to bookmark in the first place.

    So yes, this is a problem. And Wired Marker is not the be all and end all, obviously. But for the time being, and until someone can direct me to a tool more suited to the task at hand, it is working. And call me retentive in the back-end department, but fear of a comp crash and losing all that data means I do a backup of the file every night and then copy it to a flash disc. Time-consuming, yes. But what are the alternatives? Any suggestions?

    (Roger, Roger … clearance, Clarence)

  • Rob

    I must confess that Awesome Highlighter is cumbersome enough (slight PIA) that I probably won’t use it.
    Had a wee look at your link, and it worries me slightly with it’s reliance on bookmarks.
    Surely (I know you told me not to call you Surely), there must be ‘something’ that can render the web page, and allow one to highlight, which it does it by adding the appropriate html tags to the web pages source. You can then use your favorite method of saving it.
    I will do some searching later.

    On the subject of saving web pages, I feel that an image file is the lessor of the options available.
    Have you tried saving the web page as a .mht file (which IE 6 can do).
    That is a single file (no companion …._files folder), which when double clicked, later, will open in your browser. I save thousands of web pages that way.
    I also have DoPDF installed, which is a free logical printer that creates a PDF file.
    At the same time it opens it up in your default PDF viewer. Mine is PDF EXCHange Viewer, which allows me to highlight text, and/or type in notes/comments.
    I believe that viewing a saved web page (especially a long one), is better via your browesr, or PDF viewer, rather than viewing it as an image.

  • Janet

    The scroll capture is also disabled even if you highlight from the Awesome site (as opposed to using the bookmarklet).

    For a number of sites, the bookmarklet deletes all the text on the page you want to highlight. For other pages, it can’t open the page. May be because I’m using IE 6…….

  • Janet

    I was going to be clever and save my highlighted web page with a scrolling screen capture (FastStoneCapture), but the web page as seen on the highlighter page seems to disenable FastStone’s scrolling ability …:-(….I highlighted using the bookmarklet–maybe its different if you highlight by going to the Awesome site…..

  • Ozzie

    Still can’t get this to work on the latest version of Firefox. However, I did find this Firefox add-on that seems to do the same thing, as well as some additional things.


    Looks like it might be good – and it is updated to work with the latest FF.

  • Ozzie

    Thanks Rob. I just updated to the latest version of FF, so I’ll reinstall and see how it goes.

  • Rob

    That test I mentioned in my earlier post (just prior to yours), was done using the latest version of FF

  • Ozzie

    I tried to use this before and I couldn’t get it to work. I thought it might be incompatible with the latest versions of Firefox. Anyone else have the same trouble?

  • Rob

    I save tons of web pages, as .mht
    I used their service to highlight some text, and add a wee note.
    Then followed the link to the highlighted page.
    Then saved it as .mht
    And lo and behold, my saved copy has the highlight and the note.
    I think I am pleased ? (my little voice is nervous for some reason)
    Thanks for the ‘heads up’