How to export annotations on Kobo Aura

January 22, 2018 • news, Reviews

[update April 15th, 2019]

Go ahead and read the original post if you wish, but I wanna thank Arex that in the comments suggested an even better method.
He linked a Reddit thread that works like magic. OMG. Thank you thank you. My post is older than the Reddit one, so I’m glad someone pointed it out to me. I just wonder how many features are hidden in our Kobos…
Here’s Arex’s comment.

“Add the following to to “Kobo eReader.config” file:

[FeatureSettings]
ExportHighlights=true

With this, the long press menu of a book will have an extra option, “Export highlights”.

*******

I bought my first e-reader in 2013, it was a glorious Sony Prs-T2. After 2 very intense years of reading it died, so I replaced it with a Kobo Aura (the original model).

I love it, at the moment the reading stats show 145 books finished and 1238 hours read (in 30 months), and it’s still going strong.

It does everything I want to, and I’m happy because I don’t want a Kindle for a whole set of ethical and functional reasons.

The only thing that annoyed me a bit was the annotations feature. Ok, it’s still way better than the Sony’s one, but since I underline a lot I found the impossibility of transferring the annotations on my computer quite frustrating (just browsing annotations from the Aura is too slow, and I want them saved and backupped on my pc/evernote anyway).

I had found a few blog posts like this one on the web, but I’m not a computer geek and I couldn’t exactly figure out what I needed to do… So I asked my personal guru, Roberto “Kalamun” Pasini, to find a foolproof solution, and here it is.

(He has an older Kobo mini and it works on it as well, it should work fine on every Kobo but I’ve actually tried only on my Kobo Aura and his Kobo mini)

+————+

Edit 23rd July 2018

This method works on the Kobo Clara HD as well, as noted on this review.
If you try it on other Kobo models I’ll add them here.

+————+

Edit August 8th 2019

It works on the Kobo Forma as well (thanks Mike in the comments)

+————+

Edit October 2nd, 2019

It works on the Kobo Libra H2O as well (thanks Ajay in the comments)

+————+

Edit 12th September 2018

As Elizabeth rightly pointed out in the comments, this trick won’t work on a Mac. But it should be no problem anyway, if you’re using a Mac you’re very likely using a Kindle as well.

+————+

Here are the instructions, something I wish I had when I bought my Kobo!

  1. Download this folder (Google drive link) on your computer
  2. Connect your Kobo, enter the “.Kobo” folder inside it and copy the “KoboReader.sqlite” file in the “Kobo” folder from step 1
  3. Open the “Kobo” folder, double click on the “work” file and… voilà! A .doc file (named “Annotations”) will appear, and it contains all the annotations in your Kobo, ready to be copied and pasted wherever you want.
    They include the book title, and so on, if you wanna remove these…
  4. Download Notepad++ (it’s free)
  5. Right click on “Annotations” >> Edit with Notepad++
  6. Click CTRL+H
  7. Set everything as the following screenshot, and click “Replace all”. You’re done!

– Matteo Pezzi

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28 commenti a “How to export annotations on Kobo Aura”

  1. Dall April 26, 2018

    Nice, it worked exactly has described!

    As I was struggling with extracting kobo annotations for a while and couldn’t find any viable solution so far, your post has been super helpful to me. Many thanks!

    1. matteopezzi April 26, 2018

      Thank you Dall!
      It’s been a game-changer for me… Saved me so much time!

  2. robiroboter May 25, 2018

    What a cool and simple way to read the highlights 😯 Oh man, you’ve just saved my EACH AND EVERY day 😀 😀 😀 Thx a lot.

    1. matteopezzi May 25, 2018

      You’re welcome! I think it’s the smallest action that saved the most time in my life!! 🙂

  3. Robert J. Sawyer June 30, 2018

    Thank you so much for this! On my Kobo Aura and Kobo Aura HD, rather than seeing the actual title of Kobo purchased books, I’m instead seeing an alphanumeric string, for example:

    0b170c53-8c6f-490c-b198-535898303cc

    or

    150e1e64-7275-452f-a568-81054dcdaee

    These match the file names (lacking any extension) for the purchased ebooks, in the folder on the Kobo ereader named \.kobo\kepub

    It’s only for side-loaded ebooks (loaded by Calibre, rather than by synching with the Kobo bookstore) that I see book titles, such as:

    file:///mnt/sd/Morton, Oliver/Mapping Mars – Oliver Morton.kepub.epub

    The “/sd” refers to a book stored on the external microSD card; a sideloaded book in main memory, is listed as “/onboard” instead:

    file:///mnt/onboard/Lowell, Percival/Mars and Its Canals – Percival Lowell.kepub.epub

    I don’t suppose there’s a way to have the exported annotations actually list the book title for purchased Kobo books which have been synched directly from the Kobo servers?

    Many thanks

    1. matteopezzi July 1, 2018

      Hi Robert, glad it’s useful! It was a game changer for me.
      I can’t help you because I’ve never bought a single book from the Kobo store, I buy/donwload them elsewhere and always pass through Calibre first and keep Calibre as my main library.
      I keep the Calibre library directory on a Dropbox folder so when I drag a book on Calibre I automatically have an online backup.
      On my Kobo I only keep books I’m reading/will read, and when I finish them I donwload the notes, organize them and put them on Evernote, and then delete the ebook from the Kobo as I don’t like to have it full of read books.
      The notes browsing on the Kobo is such a pain in the ass that I wouldn’t read them anyway, I’d rather read them on Evernote.
      On a normal day I have on my Kobo 2/3 books that I’m reading + around 20 books I might wanna read soon.
      A side solution to your problem though, come to think about it, might be this:
      – open the .doc file on Notepad++
      – select the alphanumeric string, let’s say “0b170c53-8c6f-490c-b198-535898303cc”, and copy it
      – click ctrl+H
      – in “find what” (see pic on the post) paste the string
      – in “replace with” write the book title
      – click “replace all”
      Should work I think, but let me know, I’m curious!
      Have a good sunday, Matteo

    2. Elizabeth Ü September 6, 2018

      Hi Robert – I just had the same experience using this method to export annotations on Library books on my Kobo Aura One. The good news: it exports annotations from ALL books that ever were on the device, including those from library books that already returned themselves on their due dates! (I was expecting this would be the case as I know that when you check out a book again, all your annotations remain intact, so they must be stored on the device.)(Now that I’m writing this I’m realizing I can’t vouch for books that I’d side-loaded and then removed from the device, as I haven’t voluntarily removed any books yet.

      Matteo – thanks so much for asking your friend to create this system for you, and for sharing it with us! I’m totally happy finding/replacing to get the right book titles in there 🙂

      My only suggestion for this post: maybe indicate somewhere in your instructions that you need to have a PC for this to work. I’m super nerdy in many ways but not when it comes to scripts and such, which meant that I tried to run this first on a Mac, then a Chromebook, and finally resorted to asking my partner if I could try it on his PC… third time’s a charm!

      1. matteopezzi September 12, 2018

        Elizabeth thank you very much! Glad you use this solution!
        And you’re right, I hadn’t mentioned in the post the Windows/Mac issue, will add it! Probably it’s just because if it were up to me I would just make a huge bonfire with everything that comes out of an Apple factory, and so much for them 🙂
        Ciao!

        1. Jan Darr February 5, 2019

          I use apple products but have been a Kobo user for over a decade. Has no one worked out a way to export annotations on to an iPad or a MacBook? What exporting to Evernote?

          1. Matteo Pezzi February 6, 2019

            Hi Jann, unfortunately I have no good news for you, as far as I know the only solution for you is either ditch Apple or Kobo. But I’m not very up to date with the Apple world, so there might be something out there.
            Cheers

  4. Zislon January 9, 2019

    Merci beaucoup Matteo !

    1. Matteo Pezzi January 10, 2019

      De rien!

  5. Arex April 14, 2019

    Add the following to to “Kobo eReader.config” file:

    [FeatureSettings]
    ExportHighlights=true

    With this, the long press menu of a book will have an extra option, “Export highlights”.

    https://www.reddit.com/r/kobo/comments/7swz6v/exporting_highlights_and_comments/dtnxr2r?utm_source=share&utm_medium=web2x

    1. Matteo Pezzi April 15, 2019

      OMG Arex thank you so much! I’ll add it to the post with due credit!
      I wonder how many “secret” options are hidden in our Kobos? :^)

  6. tiboenshort June 20, 2019

    Ciao, thanks for the tip 😉

    The result is a bit cleaner than this other solution :
    – Going to files : KoboeReader / Digital Editions / Annotations / “Book name”
    – then drag/open the .annot in Word or TextEdit
    – it’s possible to use the search tool Ctrl+F with “text” to find the annotations easily.

    But is there a solution with yours to export with the page numbers ?
    It would seem a pretty useful tool for research/thesis/writing purpose.

    Cheers

    1. Matteo Pezzi June 27, 2019

      Hi, I don’t know, sorry!
      -Matteo

  7. Petter Uren July 8, 2019

    Hi.
    I am an artist and draw and paint portraits. I have many e readers among them hd clara. I look at the e reader while drawing. Is it somehow possible to import photos to the clara. Today I just use photos on web pages, but the clara is my goaround pocket solution because of the size. I can put my photos into a private web page and watch them there, but is there an easier way to export photos from phone or computer to the clsts
    Regards. Petter Uren

    1. Matteo Pezzi July 8, 2019

      Hi Petter, I never tried but according to the official specs, https://us.kobobooks.com/products/kobo-clara-hd, the Clara reads jpeg files so you could just drag and drop a jpeg pic in the main folder and it should work. Never tried though.
      -Matteo

  8. Chelsey July 17, 2019

    Hi Matteo,

    Thanks so much for this solution! I’m having a bit of trouble executing the step though, I’m hoping you can provide some insight…

    1. Download this folder (Google drive link) on your computer

    2. Connect your Kobo, enter the “.Kobo” folder inside it and copy the “KoboReader.sqlite” file in the “Kobo” folder from step 1
    ***HERE***: When I right click and click “copy” on the KoboReader.sqlite file, it seems as though nothing happens. If I try and drag and drop the KoboReader.sqlite file into the google drive kobo folder, it won’t allow me. I also tried assuming the file copied into the kobo file (that maybe it worked although it seemed like nothing happened), but when I click the work.bat file, nothing happens and no annotations doc appears.

    Any help you could offer would be GREATLY appreciated!!

    Open the “Kobo” folder, double click on the “work” file and… voilà! A .doc file (named “Annotations”) will appear, and it contains all the annotations in your Kobo, ready to be copied and pasted wherever you want.
    They include the book title, and so on, if you wanna remove these…

    1. Matteo Pezzi July 20, 2019

      Hey Chelsea, sorry but your comment ended up in the spam folder. Do you use a Mac or a Windows?
      In any case, forget the G Drive method. Use the one suggested by Arex in the comment and linked at the top of the post: it’s much faster and way more practical.
      Cheers
      -Matteo

  9. Mike August 14, 2019

    That’s great! Thanks for sharing, it’s a lifesaver. I can confirm it works for Kobo Forma too.

    Are you aware of any similar method to export bookmarks? Annotation on PDF files is not possible (Kobo Forma renders PDF very nice) so I am using bookmarks on PDF files instead,

    1. Matteo Pezzi August 16, 2019

      Hey Make great to her thanks.
      Mmh no I’m sorry, I don’t use bookmarks and I only read pdf files on my old tablet

  10. Francisco Ferreira September 21, 2019

    Hi!

    I’ve just launched a new website that allows you to store your highlights and annotations from your Kobo. Please check KoboNotes at https://thekobonotes.com. It’s easy to use and after loading your notes, you can read them anywhere and from any device. Hope you enjoy!

    1. Matteo Pezzi September 22, 2019

      Hi Francisco, I’ll leave the comment but I don’t see the point in putting the highlights on someone else’s website when you can do it very easily with the “export highlights” function, but to each his own and some might like it so here’s your free publicity spot

  11. Finny September 25, 2019

    Thank you so much! Both Matteo and Alex! I read a lot of non-fiction books and make lots of highlights. Up until your posts, it was a pain to get them to be easy to use! Thanks for making my day! 🙂

    1. Matteo Pezzi September 25, 2019

      Glad it’s useful for you 🙂

  12. ajay t October 1, 2019

    I can confirm that this feature also works on the Kobo Libra H2O with newest firmware. The only difference from the article is that it offers to output a .txt file (instead a .doc) when I hit “Export Highlights.”

    1. Matteo Pezzi October 2, 2019

      Thanks for telling me, I’ll add it to the post 🙂
      Actually it’s normal, with “Export highlights” it creates a .txt file, with the other method a .doc

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