Take Note(s): Highlighting your Google eBooks

Thursday, December 08, 2011 at 9:03 AM




Like many of you, we love to highlight and mark up our books, capturing insights, important notes to remember, or even gathering opinions to later share with our favorite authors. Starting today, you'll also be able to break out the colored highlighters and pens with Google eBooks in the Web Reader.


To start adding notes, first open your web browser and find your Google eBooks in your My eBooks bookshelf (make sure you are signed into your account at the top right hand corner of your screen). If you don’t have any ebooks yet, you can start your collection with a free classic from Best of the Free bookshelf, or purchase an ebook from our eBookstore. Then, click on the book to open it in the Web Reader.

You should be able to select the text you want to comment on by dragging or double-clicking with your mouse. A context menu will appear, and you can then click on "Add Note".


A notepad will be displayed where you can write down your notes and pick a highlight color too. In addition, you can add multiple lines of notes, and format them with bold or italic font style. To make text bold, place the text between two asterisks (*), and to italicize text, place it between two underscores (_). For instance:


When you click the "Save" button, you will create a new note. Then, when you bring that note up, it will display the formatting you specified:



You can also just pick a color from the bottom of the original context menu to highlight the text, without adding notes:


After adding notes, you can conveniently see all your notes in the ebook by clicking on the "Margin Notes" icon at the top right of the Reader. The menu will show you all the text you've highlighted text and the notes you've made on them. You can click on each result to go to the corresponding page in the book.


To edit or delete a note, hover your mouse over the highlighted text until a pop-up menu appears. Then click on the "Edit" or "Delete" button to make the change.

These new features are currently only enabled for ebooks available in "flowing text mode", and highlights or notes can't be added to ebook samples. We are also working hard on bringing these features to your mobile devices and eReaders, so stay tuned!

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14 comments:

Carson Gallo said...

Coming soon to Mobile Apps?

Aba said...

Is Google working on note sharing? See the beginnings of a relevant discussion at https://groups.google.com/a/googleproductforums.com/d/topic/books/u29eGPTOikw/discussion

Andres Ivan Ramos said...

please, add underline in colors...asterisks in colors...more colors to choose

AyRoo said...

This is going to be very helpful, thanks! I like the way of using asterisks and underscores instead of markup. It's definitely going to be much easier this way :)

blindowl79 said...

great feature..and it is perfect that even a book is removed from the library, the notes do not go away and become available again once the book is added to the library.

Rebeca said...

Can't wait to see it in your mobile apps.

Please consider the following:

1) Adding an option to export notes.
2) Sharing specific notes or all notes with specific people (maybe via Google+ integration).
3) Adding some form of this feature to scanned pages.

Caity said...

It'd be great if we could share notes on Google plus, to share with friends our thoughts on a specific part of a book.

AlexonHE said...

Finally! Thank you! The only thing that is lacking is the ability to see ALL your notes from ALL your books in one place! Please make this a feature! By signing into your kindle account you can see EVERY note you've ever made in ALL of your books, all in one place. PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE make this a feature! Thank you!

Chanda said...

I still won't buy any Google Books until I can annotate them on my iPad.

Michael Gottsegen said...

Is it possible to copy, paste, or print out one's notes and highlighted text? One can do this on Kindle. If one cannot move one's notes into another program -- like MS Word -- then Google's eBooks are not really ready for academic prime time or for college students who need to mark up the books they buy and who would love to be able to transpose their notes.

Hannah said...

I am getting "oops! there is a problem" responses every time I try to add a margin note or highlight text. Help!

DEB said...

Won't highlight my text anymore. This is useless for me. I want my money back for the book i just bought as it will not do want its supposed to. Damn you Google!

Enlightened Horsemanship said...

This feature is not working correctly for me. I can add a note, but cannot edit or delete the note. Also cannot click on the note to take me straight to the text. And finally the highlighting feature simply does not work at all. And yes, I have flowing text version. Any help much appreciated.

sstambo said...

Any word on this for the Android app? I'm getting the Nexus 7 and I really need this feature! If it's coming then I'll be patient. If not I will have to choose Kindle. :-(.