What is this about?

Amazing Kindly Clipper is a free tool created to make Amazon Kindle user’s life easier. Essentially, it is a parser that organizes the highlights, notes, and bookmarks from ‘My Clippings.txt’, letting you sort, search and filter your clippings, with exporting capabilities to CSV, TXT and HTML. Available here for Windows.

Note: Screenshots below belong to the 0.1 version, instructions are quite the same for 0.2 with very small changes.

Find the 0.2 version info here: http://www.gottabegarabi.com/blog/amazing-kindle-clipper-0-2/

How to use Amazing Kindly Clipper

You’re totally going to need three things: .NET 4.5 , the program and your clippings. This software  comes in two formats:

  • Installable, that also installs .NET 4.5 for you. Just install the file and look for a new Amazing Kindly Clipper entry in your Start Menu.
  • Executable, to be used only if you’re positive that you have .NET 4.5 installed. Unzip it into any folder of your choice and run it to go.

AmazingKindlyClipper

In both cases, your antivirus software might stop the program due to a false positive. Feel free to mark the program as safe or halt your antivirus during the installation, Amazing Kindly Clipper does nothing to your computer at any level, apart from writing files to your desktop on export (and only if you want to do that).

  • Clippings:  Going back to the requirements, you’ll also need your notes, highlights and other clippings. In order to obtain them, connect the Kindle to your computer via USB, find the device on the explorer, and then navigate to the Documents folder. There you should find a  ‘My Clippings.txt’ file (or, as stated, ‘Mis recortes.txt’ for Spanish models). Copy this file, and paste it on your desktop or any other folder at hand. In case you don’t have your file available or it is empty, two example files (one in Spanish, another in English) are provided here, so you can try the program anyway.

You’re now ready to run Amazing Kindly Clipper, so hit the executable file with a double click (executable format) or click the start menu entry to start the process (for the installable one). Once on the main window, you have to perform three really simple actions:

  1. Click the browse file button, and select your clipping’s file (remember, the one you copied, preferably not the one from your Kindle). You should be able to see a preview of your file in the preview text block if you picked a TXT file (even if it’s not a Clippings file, but I’d rather wouldn’t do that!).
  2. Select the language of your Kindle device, and click the confirm button. This step is very important: Spanish and English parsers are very different, and choosing the wrong parser might lead to errors and exceptions (AKA program crashing).
  3. Click the Start Parsing button to start the process. Remember to wait a few seconds if your file is really big (+500 clippings), the program is running even if it looks unresponsive. For standard files in normal conditions, the parsing should be carried out instantly.

AmazingBrowseClippings

Clicked the parsing button you should see some dialog boxes with information, and a confirmation dialog with how many clippings have been added to the database. After that, the Browse Clippings window will appear. You’ll see now a grid with the Book Name, Author, Clipping Type, Page, Location, Date Added and Text of each clipping. Some of the cells might be missing (due to the clipping lacking said field, or to the parser not having been able to read it) so definitely don’t worry about that. In order to filter your results, select the category you want to filter in the dropdown called Filter by, type your search time in the Search field and click enter; your results should be showing immediately after. Again, it’s just one category to filter each time, you can not refine later ur user additional filters (I’m perhaps adding this feature in the future, but I am happy with the current implementation). If you want your full database back, just remove the search time and hit enter. Also, you can sort every category clicking on the name of the column, so even if you can’t filter by dates yet, you definitely can sort clippings by date and take a look manually. Fabulous, huh?

So now we have results filtered, you probably want to export them for further manipulation. Two different options:

  1. Copy and paste! If you just wanted to search for a given keyword or find some detail of a single clipping, you can just select the columns or rows of your choice, use mouse right button and select “Copy”. Then you paste elsewhere! Easy and nice.
  2. Use the built-in exporter. Also very easy: just bear in mind that the program will export all the visible grid. You can export the whole database if you don’t type any search term, or a set of filtered results. In both cases, it’s as simple as ticking all the formats that you want to export, and then clicking the Export button to make them magically appear on your desktop. For the best results, I recommend exporting .CSV to be used on LibreOffice Calc (a magnificent free and open source office suite), allowing you to manipulate the data in countless new ways.

A note on using .CSV: make sure to use UTF-8 as character set, and ‘Comma’ as the separator options, as you can see in the screenshot below. Other configurations could lead to a weird layout.

And that’s all! I really hope it helps you organise your notes. Any feedback you might have or problem you want to report, feel free to reach me through Twitter or e-mail. For all of you fellow programmers interested in the technical bits, I plan to write a short article covering my experience and most valuable lessons later, it will be done as soon as possible. Thanks to everyone contributing with their feedback, ideas, programming guidance and .TXT files! Also big thanks to designmodo for their icon, used under a CC BY 3.0 license, and Sara Shaw for the article header image.

Known issues

A few warnings apply here: first, Amazing Kindly Clipper it’s been written in C# using WPF, and thus it is only available for Windows. Second, it has been tailored for my own clippings and of those who contributed testing (English and Spanish languages, ‘My Clippings.txt’ and ‘Mis recortes.txt’ from Kindle, Kindle Touch and Kindle Paperwhite); since the variability of the .TXT is really high even within the boundaries of a same format and language, this program might just simply not work for you. Sorry for that, feel free to contact me if that’s the case, I’ll do my best to take a look at it. Third, it is my first “big” project on WPF, and it all started just for the sake of curiosity towards the platform and having the very learning process as the ultimate goal, not a perfect program. So, sadly, no results guaranteed (aside from the huge lessons that I got from this process, but I’ll try to share those in the other scheduled blog post). Source code is not provided (yet) but I will more than probably release it in an upcoming revision, hopefully after several bugs have been fixed and code refactored.

Last but not least, my program includes some code from Ed Ryan’s “KindleClippings” parser (you can find its source code here), and you should probably take a look at any of the several other approaches to what Amazing Kindle Clipper does, such as Klipping and DaleyClippings. The latter is a derivative from the first that allows custom patterns, virtually accepting any format as long as the user invest the time to get acquainted with it, learning to set up everything correctly. Not as straightforward as my program, but definitely worths a shot if your format is not compatible and you want to manage your clippings!

To sum up, expect:

  • Beta version, many bugs to be found yet.
  • Files in any language apart from English and Spanish are not recognized.
  • Not all formats are recognized.
  • Many date formats parsed as 01/01/0001.

The boring but necessary part: license

This is free and unencumbered software released into the public domain.

Anyone is free to copy, modify, publish, use, compile, sell, or
distribute this software, either in source code form or as a compiled
binary, for any purpose, commercial or non-commercial, and by any
means.

In jurisdictions that recognize copyright laws, the author or authors
of this software dedicate any and all copyright interest in the
software to the public domain. We make this dedication for the benefit
of the public at large and to the detriment of our heirs and
successors. We intend this dedication to be an overt act of
relinquishment in perpetuity of all present and future rights to this
software under copyright law.

THE SOFTWARE IS PROVIDED “AS IS”, WITHOUT WARRANTY OF ANY KIND,
EXPRESS OR IMPLIED, INCLUDING BUT NOT LIMITED TO THE WARRANTIES OF
MERCHANTABILITY, FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE AND NONINFRINGEMENT.
IN NO EVENT SHALL THE AUTHORS BE LIABLE FOR ANY CLAIM, DAMAGES OR
OTHER LIABILITY, WHETHER IN AN ACTION OF CONTRACT, TORT OR OTHERWISE,
ARISING FROM, OUT OF OR IN CONNECTION WITH THE SOFTWARE OR THE USE OR
OTHER DEALINGS IN THE SOFTWARE.

For more information, please refer to <http://unlicense.org>.