Friday, January 22, 2010

Q&A on the Kindle's My Clippings file

Mike M. wrote to ask some questions about the My Clippings file and suggested I could respond in the blog -- a very good idea, so here are his questions.

Q:  If I remove an Amazon book from my Kindle are my marks and bookmarks deleted from the "My Clippings File"?

No, they remain in that file.  The marks (notes, highlighting, and bookmarks) are copies of what you did for your books and are actually retained in the My Clippings file even when the book is no longer on the Kindle, as that is a detailed log of the marks that you make for all your books, in chronological order, for your use in editing or printing (from a computer).

 So, even when the book is inadvertently deleted, copies of the annotations and bookmarks are still on the Kindle in straight-text format for your use.
  (This is why, in the infamous '1984' incident here, the notes taken for homework actually were still on the kindle.)

  The actual marks that are used with your Kindle book are kept in a small associated file for each book, for reference by the Kindle when the book is opened.

  The My Clippings 'book' file is a pure-text file (unlike the book's associated marks-file, which has placement coding in it).  The My Clippings file is made so that the customer can edit or print, at any time, the clippings that were saved while reading.

  To do that, you attach the Kindle to your computer, via the USB cable that is part of your power cord, and use the file manager to copy that file to your computer.  You can then edit or print that copy as you would any text file.

Q:  If I delete a non-Amazon book from my Kindle are my marks and bookmarks deleted from the "My Clippings File"?

No, those also remain in the My Clippings file, which is a separate file kept for you so that you can work with it, apart from your book.  Each note or highlight that you make is automatically copied to that file for use in editing and printing.

 When editing a copy of the file, I recommend highlighting, copying and pasting the file's text to a WORD doc or any text-editing program you use that allows you to retain the bolding for the headings, which look like this:
      " Your highlight at location 1596 "
as that will make your actual notes easier to differentiate from the headers.

Q:  Once I load the "My Clippings" text file onto my computer:
  Is there an easy way to assemble all the clippings and marks from a single book into one location?

Unfortunately, there's no Kindle utility for that.  However, there is a WORD macro made by a Professor that will sort the file and display the notes BY book. From the professor's description:
Here’s what the macro does:

* Creates a table of highlights, notes and bookmarks.
* sorts the table by book and location in book
* removes a (now useless) column
* changes the font to a smaller one
* adjusts the column sizes
If you try it and like it, let him know.

Q:  Can I delete some of the information and copy the altered My Clippings file back on my kindle?

Yes, you can, and it's a good idea.  However, if you decide you prefer to start afresh and you remove the file from the Kindle, the Kindle will create a new one the next time you make an annotation or a bookmark.  Anyone doing that should definitely keep a backup-copy on the computer of what was done in the past in case it's ever needed.

Q:  If I delete the My Clippings file and start fresh, will I still be able to view marks previously made in a book by searching the "My Marks" from the book menu?

As long as your book remains on the Kindle, yes, you'll be able to do that because the actual marks referenced by the book you open are in the small marks-file that is associated with the book.

As a bonus -- although it's not a feature that Amazon advertises -- a private, password-protected annotations webpage is made at Amazon for each customer, if the customer has Annotations Backup enabled.  This feature backs up, to Amazon servers, annotations for books purchased from Amazon but not annotations for any of your other books or personal documents.

  You find that Kindle setting with Menu button/Settings/Menu button.

  If you delete an Amazon-purchased book (which then just retains it in your Archives at your Amazon page) and then decide you want to download it again, your annotations will also be archived along with the book and will be downloaded as well whenever you need to re-download that book.

  I've written a detailed explanation of how to use that very useful Amazon annotations webpage tool.

  (However, if you ever want to permanently delete an Amazon book from your Amazon highlights -- you'd need to re-buy the book if you wanted it again -- that's also possible.  Some found they hated some books they'd bought and strongly requested that permanent-removal feature.)

Hope that helps!

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  1. Great info! I did try the Word Macro from Professor's Notes site (by Steve Brady) and it did work to sort and organize the My Clippings content by book. Very helpful, thanks!

  2. Gary,
    Thanks for getting that info back to us.

    My own 'My Clippings' file is now half a gig, on my little K2 (I also have a DX which I use more) and it's amazing how much room I still have on the K2 with something like 150 HOME entries on it.

    I hadn't used the Macro because I mainly use the search capability but will go ahead and use it soon.

    What some don't know is that you can write yourself memos on it by opening it, going to the end, and making a note. I preface them with key names such as TODO so they are easy to search. One can also edit current notes and expand them so I do that too.

    I have one that's 'groc' which means groceries I need to remember. I should probably mention this in Tips :-)

    Am looking fwd to apps we can get later for really nice notes though!

    Thanks again!

    1. This has been very informative. my problem is though that I wrote a lot of my notes in my clippings file... foolishly to prevent them from getting lost. Was wondering if they should appear in my clippings file...?

  3. I have edited the text in "my clippings" but the changes do not appear when I look on my kindle....Did I do something wrong? Thanks - I'm a newbie.

  4. Julene
    Did you copy the file to your computer to edit it?

    If so, did you copy back to your Kindle the edited file ?

    It has to go under 'documents' again.

    I don' know what drive it was in when you edited it -- whether it was still in the Kindle and you edited it directly (probably not) or you edited it on your computer, saving it to a known folder on the computer, and then copying that over to the Kindle...

  5. Thank you Andrys. I tried both ways. I connected the kindle via usb and edited the file in documents on the kindle. Then I tried copying the file to another file on my computer, editing it there then putting it back in documents.Maybe I messed it up...

  6. Well, you said that you couldn't see the changes, so it's probably not harmed.

    When you edited it, did you make sure you saved it in a specific folder? With the first try, just editing the file that is on the Kindle, all you would have needed to do was to just 'save' and it should have worked.

    Is the copy on your computer changed?

  7. I looked in the file in "documents" on the kindle. The changes are readable there, but when I look at the note, it's not there. Maybe that's it. It's a numbered footnote, not a clipping.... Does that make it different even though it's in the clippings file?

  8. Yes. As I mentioned in this writeup, the My Clippings file is just a COPY of the annotation you made, so that you can edit it or print it (or even email it) from your computer.

    The BOOK's annotations (the real, original ones) are in the book's associated file that keeps the marks we make. Those are not pure text files but they are referenced when you open the book.

    What you need to do is open the book, go to that place in the book where you made a note you want to change FOR your actual book notes(if you want the changes to be made to the actual -book- )
    and then press Menu button to go to "My Notes & Marks"...

    When you find the note, and put your cursor there, you get the choice at the bottom of the screen to 'Edit' it ---and it lets you into the notebox to edit it if you press the 'Enter' or 'Return' key as shown at the bottom...

    I hope that works for you... Let me know.

  9. Thank you SO MUCH for the tip about
    That is an exceptional resource and it's kept up to date whether notes are made by my Kindle or iPad. I don't understand why Amazon doesn't make this resource more visible to users. Clearly they've invested a lot of effort in it.

    Thanks for sharing your time and knowledge for the benefit of others - much appreciated!


  10. Ken,
    Sure thing. We've had it for a year but they had plans for the page. In the coming software update version 2.5 due to be received by most by the end of May, they are now 'highlighting' the annotations webpage feature because the highlighting portion is part of the new popular aggregate (and anonymous) highlighting for any Amazon book. I will turn off seeing the "popular highlighted passages" on the Kindle though. Not interested in seeing that while reading.

    They're starting to show up on the webpage though.

  11. There's actually a website that converts your kindle clippings into Microsoft Word, Excel, PDF files. Check it out, it's fantastic:

    It's very user friendly, and best of all it's for free. I love it, and use it loads as I'm a student - clippings make great study notes!

  12. Anonymous,
    It takes me maybe a minute to convert My Clippings to a doc file but I seldom want to convert it to an Excel file. However, there is a very useful Macro file that converts the file to one that is organized by BOOK instead of all the notes in chron order and uses Excel format. If you search on 'clippings macro' in one of the two search boxes on the page, it'll bring that up.

    I wrote once about cutepdf tool - in which you can print anything 'to pdf' and it converts it to that.

    The front page of this conversion tool should change the word "Adode" to "Adobe."

    Will try it out someday and anyone reading this post + comments can try it out.

    As a student, why do you want study notes in Word doc format? Or Excel? The MyClippings file has an odd format and layout for that... I'm probably missing something obvious though.

    Any automated tool can be useful, though. Thanks for the tip.

  13. Greetings! I know this is somewhat off topic but I was wondering if you knew where I could find a captcha plugin for my comment form? I'm using the same blog platform as yours and I'm having trouble finding one? Thanks a lot!

  14. Anonymous,
    You use the same platform? It's Google's or ...
    The Captcha comes with it, and you can customize it in your Settings.

  15. Fr. Michael,
    There seem to be some glitches right now. I have a report that the notes appear on an actual Kindle if you have one but that they don't always make it to the online site.

    The kinds of things they're trying to do are really complex, which is why other ereader makers don't attempt them, and I think there will be oddities like this.

    It's supposed to go in your online annotations page, at least if done on your Kindle. But it should work with annotations done on Kindle for ___ apps also. They're saying that what works with a purchased book from Amazon should work with a library-borrowed one.

    Will be watching this. Let me know if you find out more, if you don't mind.

  16. Another quite useful trick is converting your Kindle clippings to more common formats such as Excel, Word, or PDF file. I think such formats are more convenient as they can be opened/edited/viewed, etc more easily using common and a wider range of devices.

    You can use simple tools such as clippings converter ( to convert your clipping files.

  17. I'm not sure if this comment section is still being observed, but I was wondering if I could get some help on My Clippings:

    I saved my clippings to a document and then deleted the data off the original in hopes that I could start afresh. But now when I highlight/ take notes through my books, they don't appear in My Clippings. Is there a way to fix this? Thanks in advance.

    I have a Kindle Touch (WiFi only).

    1. Anonymous,
      I guess your Clippings file isn't being recognized and may be corrupted. Did you really just delete the data from the original, editing it on the Kindle? Or, on a computer and then sending back the file to your Kindle with data erased?

      It's best to copy it to your computer for archiving or editing and if you don't want it on your Kindle *remove* the file from your Kindle. Then a new My Clippings file will start up and should behave normally.

      Have you tried going to to check out your books and annotations that are saved with them? That probably works only when your Kindle's My Clippings file works, though, but I don't know.

      Let me know how this turns out for you.

    2. Thanks for responding!

      This whole process took place on my laptop. I saved the content to my laptop, went back to My Clippings, deleted the content, and saved.

      Just now, I deleted My Clippings and then I highlighted a quote and a new My Clippings started. However, I still can't see the quote I highlighted (or place I bookmarked) when I'm looking on my Kindle. But when I connect my Kindle to my laptop and check the file, I can see my bookmark/ quote.

      On, my quotes are registering, but again, I still can't see it on my Kindle.

      Thanks for your time! I shall keep trying to fix this bug and let you know how it turns out.

    3. Anonymous,
      That's so odd. Maybe try the 'Restart' your Kindle. It's Menu / Settings/ Menu / Restart. (Avoid the reset to factory defaults.)

      OR, you can just hold the power button for 21 seconds and then let go and go away for about 10 minutes while it cleans up any memory problems and then restarts.

      Your My Clippings file, when you open it on the Kindle, is just a blank page?
      Is your font size maybe very large? If so, reduce it to see if it helps.

      That's all I can think of though. Let me know :-)

    4. I'm a different "Anonymous" but I've got kind of the same problem. As was suggested in the above Q&A blog, I deleted the file "myClippings.txt" in order to start afresh, reassured by the statement that the kindle would automatically create a new one as soon as I make annother annotiation. IT DIDN'T, THOUGH, and henceforth I got only a blank in "May Clippings". Fortunately I had saved a copy of that old "myClippings.txt"-File on my Computer, and after copying that back to my Kindle, there they were again, including the new ones I created thereafter. The function for markings, however, reacts somewhat strange since then, for example when I try to delete a single marking from the list - which sometimes works and sometimes doesn't. I hope I haven't permanently damaged my Clipping function, since it is a very important feature for me. Do you perhaps have an advice here?

    5. Different Anonymous :-), Blogger seems to not encourage people to use even a first name ... Anyway, it is bizarre, of course, that deleting the My Clippings file would result in a new one that did not show the notes you're taking after its creation. Kindle models have gone through a lot of changes and Kindle developers may not be aware that this is happening for at least a couple of you.

      First, the actual notes are put into a file that's associated with and linked to your book file. The "My Clippings" file is just a general notes log file that gets another copy of the book note or highlight into a special log for you.

      Once you deleted the old log, it seems as if the Kindle team is creating a brand new My Clippings file in a slightly different format without realizing it.. I think Kindle development team should be made aware of this.

      With respect to the file you copied back, it should have been saved in pure DOS .txt format - no extended character set etc. - to be 100% compatible with the Amazon one but, who knows? Maybe they added a function in there that doesn't work seamlessly with your copied file. BUT it works better with yours than it does with its own created one (!)

      The main clipping text, as mentioned,is in the associated ".mpb" file (or this is the name of the associated file they did it at the time I wrote this blog article). That has a more flexible limit than the extra log My Clippings file -- and the Cloud version of your annotations is taken from that.

      There is one other thing. If you did not disallow in settings that Amazon backs up your notes (and if you can see them on the Cloud in your annotations webpage) then you do allow them, they are safely on the Amazon servers in your personal area. I would use your computer to back up the Kindle book and associated ,mpb file to your computer even if it is already saved on the Amazon servers.
      Then REMOVE the book file from the Device (eReader). Re-download the book from the Cloud, and your annotations file will come down with it. That might maybe sync up better with your My Clippings file, but that's a long shot.

      But the Clippngs log that creates itself on your Kindle SHOULD work, and it's not, apparently.
      First, I'd write to two places at Amazon:
      They will forward your note to Development team who should try to analyze the problem and may already know about it happening and they may have a better fix on this.,

      2. If you're in the U.S. -- and best on a weekday during work hours so you have a higher chance of catching 2nd level customer support in Seattle, call Kindle Support at 866-321-8851 (rather than a call center in another country)
      You can usually reach someone within 30 seconds to a minute

      3. Use the Contact Me form - they will phone you within a few seconds.

      Let me know how it goes.

  18. Hi -

    Any idea why my "my clippings.txt" file doesn't show all my notes/highlights? I've got 55 visible on the kindle clippings page, but just 22 for a specific book in the txt file. This behavior is consistent across all my kindle books. Could it be that I am reading on both iPad and Kindle Paperwhite? Does my clippings.txt only contain clippings made on the specific device it lives on?


    1. Dan, yes, the 'myclippings.txt' file IS device-specific. The file is made on the device from books read there and you can copy the file to your pc/mac, if wanted, to edit or print from it or to combine it with other ones.

      HOWEVER, ALL your annotations for any specific book(s) will show up when you access and choose 'books' and at least in one place choose 'highlights' ... These are annotations and other info for the books you have on the Cloud.

      But Amazon has hurt this feature in that you used to be able to easily sort your books by various categories and click on the book to get the annotations for that book.

      Now everything is incredibly awkward and Highlights feature has only one clumsy sort (most recent) while it's hard to get to a book you want the highlights on.

      On one book that I made a lot of highlights on, I see only two now.

      I think they're trying to discourage active use of the annotations part of the website for whatever reasons, via the now ridiculous navigation to even get to a book to disply your own annotations. Sad to me.

  19. Hello. I just received a kindle paperwhite yesterday as a gift. I was wondering if the my clippings file can be used to "jump" to any of the listings in the file?

    1. Mike, the MyClippings file can't be used that way as it doesn't have hyper links. But those same location notes are in your actual books and they do go to the linked location in the book.

      To see your clippings for ALL your books, go to your personal, password-protected annotations page at Amazon and choose "Your highlights." You'll find them all there and the notes will offer a link to the location, but to open any of those you have to have one of the Kindle apps (for PC or for Mac or iPad, Kindle Fire, Android, etc) to open a Kindle book you own.
      See how to do get your web annotations-page, at here.

  20. hello. what ebook viewer can i use to see my kindle books (not kindle purchased, so i can't go through on my PC with all my marks?

    1. Anonymous on Sept.10,
      Do you mean your Kindle books were not purchased for an actual Kindle device? If so, that's common. You just use a "Kindle app" for PC.

      See to see what to do. Hope that's what you meant.

    2. sorry, I mean I converted my own books into Kindle format (or compatible) to be able to read on my Kindle. While reading I bookmarked, highlighted, and noted. Now, is there a way to view my document with its marks back on the PC, for further use? Also, would I be able to copy/paste from on the viewer?

    3. Anonymous, Sept 11
      Yes, the Kindle app for pc that I mentioned lets you see your notes and highlights in the books it shows you on your pc.

      Also, you have a personal, password-protected annotations page - info at

      That should get you going. Sorry for the delay in replying.

    4. First of all, I wanted to thank you for all your help, and for this very informative page. I downloaded Kindle for PC, and did a little searching, and I think I know why it didn't see any of my books: I am in the Middle East and was gifted this Kindle.... so I'm outside the service range. Don't suppose there is a solution for this one. But I thank you for all your help.

    5. Anonymous, it's hard to know. You received the Kindle as a gift but did the books come with it? Is it perhaps not registered to you?

      There is likely no 3G wireless connection possible in your country for getting your books on the Cloud (servers) and your device synchronized. You don't say what kind of Kindle it is. Some don't have 3G and some don't have WiFi. With WiFi you could do it.

      You should be able to use the Kindle with books also on your Kindle management page at Amazon if your device is registered, if you have WiFi capability on your device..

      BEST thing to do is, with your pc, go to their special contact page here This page can also be reached via the yellow 'Contact us' button on many Amazon Kindle pages.

      You can email them there (I don't think they make phone calls to the middle east as Kindles are not sold in many places there) but write them about your problem. Be specific -- what Kindle you own so they know whether you have WiFi or not and what to do about getting your Kindle's books registered on their servers so you can see them on your PC. Let me know what happens on this.

  21. Andrys, this is a very insightful post, thanks for sharing. I'm not sure if this may interest you but there's an app, Snippefy, that syncs to the Kindle and allows users to read, share, and export their highlights and notes. It can be found here:

    1. Anonymous, It's an app that extends a Kindle feature even if only for Apple devices but it's nicely rated. iOS users may well be interested. Is the app maker going to make something similar in an Android app? Also, any Kindle owner should be sure to look at what can normally be done (that most don't know about) at Your Kindle notes & highlights at your own Amazon annotations page. .

    2. Anothe anonymous here.
      I have been using the old Kindle for pc for over a year and the highlights and notes were always stored within my own pc in .mpb files. The test highlighted and notes could be recovered from these files with a conversion program. the old Kindle for PC would also run pdf and doc files and it was a great way to annotate those files and recover the highlighted text and notes much as is now done for the cloud reader annotations. However, while my onboard Kindle for PC still operates with highlights and all, every single mpb file has suddenly disappeared from my computer.
      either the notes and highlights are stored in another format now or the storage site has gone offsite, or what?? Can you help?
      Thanks. This is an important research tool for me

    3. Anonymous, I'd not heard that the separate .mpb files were no longer available, at least not on the newer Kindle for PC app -- it was an important resource for those who wanted to go beyond what was allowed in the basic MyClippings file (on actual Kindle devices).
      I personally go to the Amazon webpage for annotations page to get my notes for copying and editing/printing when I want, but then I am not relying on Kindle for PC app. Still, it's the easiest way to just get the norwa for any book all together and transfer them to your PC. Is there a problem doing that ? (For others reading, the annotations webpage is explained at

    4. The sequence "norwa" in my reply above should have been "notes" :-) Sorry to confuse.

  22. I love the search feature in the Kindle, where i can search for a word or words in all the books on my kindle, but i can't find that feature in the Kindle for PC, and the Kindle android app. Am i missing something? or, can this feature be added?

  23. TIP You can extract and manage your Kindle highlights for free using

  24. Thanks for posting this article. I'm a long time reader but never been compelled
    to leave a comment. I subscribed to your blog and shared it on Facebook.

    Thanks again for the great post


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