Collect Text During Research

Hi, I am looking for a good way to collect text from browser, pdf etc when researching a topic. I thought about a second clipboard, but the named clipboard can hold only one clipping. Is it possible to create clipboard folders and have a hotkey to copy a text to that folder? Or any other idea how I can organize my research?

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Hey Igor,

  • What browser?
  • What kind of text?
    • Rich text?
    • Plain text?


Hi, any kind of browser like chrome or safari. I just want to collect text snippets, rich or plain, on the fly.

Okay, what I would do is write the text to a file.

Here's how to extract the selected text from Google Chrome:

Google Chrome ⇢ Extract Selected Text v1.00.kmmacros (7.7 KB)


Keyboard Maestro Export

You could pop-up a Prompt for User Input action, enter a title, and then write the text to a file with that title in a given folder.

You could automatically create folders with the domain of the page being researched.

You have many choices...


Thanks, I will try it out. Do I understand it right, that it works only with chrome and not in any other application which has text?

I am not sure if I am using it the right way. I highlight a text in Chrome, press the hotkey but nothing happens.


If you want more universal function then use the clipboard.

Have you made sure both the macro and its container macro-group are enabled?

Yes, both are active.

Make sure Allow JavaScript is on in Google Chrome:


Now it works, but where is the text going to? where is it saved?

The text is saved to a local variable – from there it's up to you.

Local variables are only saved as long as the macro is running. You have to do something with it like write it to a file, as I suggested earlier.


That's exactly what Napkin does (although it does more). Toss text snippets at it and it stores them in dated entries in a text file you specify.

Hi @Igor_Itkin. I created a tool you might find useful: Log It—Quickly Save Plain Text Snippets to One or More Log Files

Here's a video demonstration that I created when I shared the original version: Log It, v1.0 Demonstration

There have been several enhancements since, but everything in the video still applies. One recent enhancement that you might find useful is that text no longer has to be saved to the clipboard—just selected. Oh, and Chrome is now fully supported. (Safari is used in the demonstration video.)

If you have any questions after checking it out, feel free to contact me.

I @_jims I will try it out. Meanwhile I found the app called "ClaroCapture". It can capture the exact source and even the page number of the pdf. But I am still not so happy with it. It looks like that:

@Igor_Itkin, Log It can capture a SafariURL (or ChromeURL) and combine it with the SafariTitle, Selection, Clipboard, and/or some text you type.

Log It

Also, as you are doing research I think you'd find this macro by @ComplexPoint to be useful: Copy as Markdown Link

It's a great tool that I use often.

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You're unlikely to find any tool for this job that makes you completely happy. Some are significantly better than others, but so far I've seen nothing close to a panacea.

@_jims and @mrpasini have gone to the trouble of building their own solutions, so they can add features according to their personal preferences (within the limitations of the available software).

They have also generously made those solutions available to the public free of charge.

You can use their solutions as is, or you can examine/dissect them and gather ideas for your own personalized solution.

But – don't be surprised if a significant amount of time and effort is required...


@ccstone's disclaimer is generally applicable to the macros shared on this forum (and, of course, normally the priority of the authors).

However, when users have provided feedback that I think others might also enjoy (including myself :grinning:), I sometimes update and redistribute the macros. This has certainly been the case with Log It.

Partially because I've learned so much from others in this forum, I try to share my macros when I think they might be generally useful. I suspect this is the motivation of most that share.

Finally, I will add that the forum administrators like @ccstone are very generous with their time and expertise!

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