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I'm having trouble finding an efficient way to gather info I find while researching a particular topic on the web. First, I used to hightlight pieces of information and paste into Word but that wasted a lot of time since I have to click on Word; paste; close etcetera.

Then I looked into Onenote and Evernote. Well, I can just right-click and save the whole page or bits to Evernote. But every new bit I collect saves in a new document. So, I end up having lots of documents with one-liners. Does Evernote have a way to correct this?

What I'm looking for is a method/software which allows me to collect selected lines of text from a webpage in a streamlined way. I don't want to have to open and paste every time I want to save something. Also, I need a program that allows me to gather info in the same single document for the whole session of reasearch on one particular topic.

Any tips, programs or methods?

share|improve this question
Is the content you are trying to save follow any type of known pattern? IE, content in bold, uses certain words, is a select size (one line, one paragraph) – ehime Dec 5 '11 at 23:38
Sometimes just a line, sometimes a paragraph. No known pattern. – verve Dec 5 '11 at 23:51
Do you want to preserve formatting, or is plain text okay? – iglvzx Dec 6 '11 at 0:18
Plain text is fine. Having both as an option is good too. You got an idea? – verve Dec 6 '11 at 21:59
Well, I always use IE 8--that a pattern? – verve Dec 6 '11 at 22:08

Basically you have two ways of easily collecting text to the same file.

Use a scripting program like AutoHotkey

In order to collect text, I started out with a simple AutoHotkey script. AutoHotkey is an amazing tool. Just put a bit of effort in learning the basics and you will be able to make your computer work a lot easier. The main point of using AutoHotkey for most users is creating hotkeys for common tasks. Here's an example for a hotkey that will copy the selected text and paste it at the end of the file mynotes.txt without opening it.

^+c:: ; Control-Shift-C as a hotkey
Sendinput ^c ; copy selection, mimicks control-c
Sleep 1000 ; wait 1 second until clipboard is full, use at least 300
FileAppend, `n`n%clipboard%, C:\folder\mynotes.txt ; Add clipboard content to the end of a text file. Insert 2 new lines before inserting the clipboard with `n`n

This works very reliably. Save the code above in an ahk file and place it in your startup folder. This way it will run when you boot your computer. Realize that you have to change the file path from C:\folder\mynotes.txt to the path where you will want to save your file. Vary the file path according to your own needs.

If need be, you can expand the AutoHotkey script to include a time stamp and/or the website the text was copied from (making it similar to Evernote). If you want to know how to do that, I suggest you read up on AutoHotkey basics

For would-be users of AutoHotkey I recommend reading this tutorial over at eHow:

Use a ready made app like ClipTrap

And one more thing: I've just remembered a small freeware tool that does something very similar. It's called ClipTrap and it is for Windows: There are no configuration options, though. And it does not save any formatting (like HTML or RTF), though the AutoHotkey script does not either.

share|improve this answer
I have no idea whatsoever on how to run "scripts"! People talk about it a lot but I still have no idea on how to implement them. – verve Dec 6 '11 at 22:04
I have edited my answer to make it more understandable to non-technical users – user 99572 is fine Dec 6 '11 at 23:13
@user99572_is_fine +1 for AutoHotkey. – iglvzx Dec 7 '11 at 2:12
I understand more now. So, the script will only work if I highlight the text and at the site itself... I right-click copy + paste and it will autotomatically send it to the open Notepad file? How does it know which file to go to if there are many open files? I have a dictionary program that shoots up when I press Ctrl + C; will that interfere? – verve Dec 9 '11 at 1:57
The sample script has been set to react on Ctrl-Shift-C. It will press Ctrl-C, as I see no other way of copying text with AutoHotkey. There might be a conflict with your other program. The script will know which file to paste the text into because you have told it the file path in the 4th line under FileAppend. – user 99572 is fine Dec 9 '11 at 9:17

I don't know of anything for IE, but in Firefox I use a plugin called Zotero. It's specifically designed as a research assistant. You can create notes in it and paste right into it without having to tab out. If you're open to using a different browser, you might look into that.

share|improve this answer
What is "tab out"? – verve Dec 5 '11 at 23:50
Hold ALT press tab, release ALT, it will quickly switch between open windows. Other control keys are CTRL + C to Copy, CTR + V to paste. – ehime Dec 5 '11 at 23:56
Ah, I didn't realize you weren't doing that. Just using alt+tab will speed things up quite a bit. – SaintWacko Dec 6 '11 at 16:15
Except the fact that I have 60 sites open at any given time. – verve Dec 6 '11 at 22:06
Do you have the sites open in different windows? – SaintWacko Dec 6 '11 at 22:12

Similar to @user99572_is_fine's answer, I wrote an AutoHotkey script:


MD5 checksum: ccddf19d1eb440660b074682c8e8de6c



WinGet, target, ID, A
WinGet, targetProcess, ProcessName, A
MsgBox The target window [%targetProcess% %target%] has been set.


if target =
        The target window has not been set.
        Press Alt+V to select a window.

IfWinNotExist, ahk_id %target%
        The target window [%targetProcess% %target%] was not found.
        Press Alt+V to select a new window.

WinGet, original, ID, A
SendInput ^c
Sleep 500
WinActivate, ahk_id %target%
SendInput ^{End}
SendInput {Enter 2}
SendInput %clipboard%
WinActivate, ahk_id %original%


  1. Go to the window of the program you want to paste to.
  2. Press Alt+V to set that window as the target window.
  3. Go and select your desired text/data.
  4. Press Alt+C to copy the data. The script will then open up the target window, paste the data at the end of the file, and then return you back to where you were.
share|improve this answer
So, I download the "Auto..." program and then somehow input what you wrote above into it? Any guide available? So, how does the script know which site I want to go back to after pasting? Can this script be used with any program, even Evernote? – verve Dec 9 '11 at 1:48
The script knows which window to go back to because it is programmed to remember these details. It should work with any program that has a window or shows up on your Taskbar. If you would like a quick guide, I can edit my answer to get you to where you need to be to run and use my script. :) – iglvzx Dec 10 '11 at 0:10
Yes please. Thank you. What happens if I have !0 programs open? Will it go back to the right program? – verve Dec 13 '11 at 21:11
@verve I have updated my script to check if the target window has been set or if it is no longer available. Also, I included a link to download the compiled script (.exe). Try it out, and let me know if I should make any changes. – iglvzx Dec 14 '11 at 19:24
Thanks. Let me see if I can figure the program out. – verve Dec 14 '11 at 21:47

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