[Tech] Mrunal’s Auto NoteMaker for The Hindu & PDF files: Grab Data by Mouse, Make Notes without typing!

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Imagine that you’re reading a newspaper or book. All you’ve to do is just keep highlighting important lines and phrases, and someone automatically copies them and prepares a separate note for you, in other words an Auto Notemaker!
Convenient, time saver, miraculous. And yes, it is possible-  as long as you’re reading anything on computer- webpages or PDF files (on Microsoft Windows XP, Win8).

  1. Introduction
  2. Situation A: want to make notes out of PDF files
  3. Situation B: Auto Notes making from Website
  4. Converting Notes into Mindmaps
  5. Troubleshooting the Scripts
  6. Eye Strain
    1. Notepad ++
    2.  Foxit PDF reader: Changing Background Color

Introduction

Consider this example, I’m copy pasting an article from The Hindu

http://www.thehindu.com/sci-tech/technology/anticollision-trial-of-trains-successful/article4002191.ece

………The Indian Railways successfully tested a path-breaking technology called Train Collision Avoidance System (TCAS), about 150 km from Hyderabad, on Tuesday.

The TCAS technology, based on a combination of GPS and Radio Frequency enabled technology, applies brakes without the intervention of the loco (train) pilots once it detects another locomotive on the move or stationary on the same track and avoids collision. The technology includes installation of some electronic gadgets on the trains, in the stations and along the tracks.

……….Sources stated that the TCAS would not only help avoid collisions due to human errors in signalling and invisibility of signals due to heavy rain or fog, but alerts about fire on trains and warns about damage to the tracks during natural calamities or sabotage.

End of Copy Paste.

Now, from exam point of view, the topic is important but this article is very verbose and lengthy = not good for revision. But we can easily summarize the crux of the whole article by highlighting certain phrases, which are as following:

  1. Train Collision Avoidance System (TCAS)
  2. combination of GPS and Radio Frequency.
  3. applies brakes without pilots
  4. avoid collisions due to human errors, rain or fog, natural calamities or sabotage.

So how would you create such neat and crispy revision notes from newspapers / PDF files?

You’ve three options:

  1. Read the article, Manually type those phrases in notepad or MS word file =extremely tiresome and time consuming.
  2. Highlight every phrase, press “ctrl+C” (copy) then goto MS word or notepad Window and Paste “ctrl+v” (paste). Repeat this activity like 500 times for one stupid article = again waste time.
  3. Save the whole webpages for later reading and making notes in pen-paper format. = still inconvenient.

To solve this problem, I’ve created an automated computer script. It’ll automatically copy the selected phrases/keywords from a webpage or PDF file and store it in the notepad document.

Basically  the principle is Option B cited above, but You don’t have to press ctrl+C/ctrl+V or switch between windows. That work is done in background via my computer script.

Instructions

Download and Install following softwares (free)

  1. Autohotkey (Lexicos Build) (Free) Link: Click ME (new webpage opens up, there is download button in it)
  2. Foxit PDF reader (Free): Click ME
  3. Save following Script Files anywhere on your desktop, harddisk or any folder.
    1. Mrunal’s Auto Notemaker for PDF: Click ME
    2. Mrunal’s Auto Notemaker for Web: Click Me

Situation A: want to make notes out of PDF files

  1. fox XP Double click on “Mrunal’s Auto Notemaker for PDF”. For Win7/8, right click on its icon “Run as Administrator”.
  2. Now You will see the green icon in the taskbar, near the clock.
  3. Open any pdf file in Foxit PDF reader. For the Demonstration,  I’ve opened India Yearbook 2011.
    1. If you’re using Foxit PDF reader’s “Classical toolbar” mode, then goto “Tools Menu”>>Text Selection Tool.
    2. If you’re using Tabbed Toolbar mode in Foxit PDF reader then >>Basic Tab >>Text Selection Tool. (otherwise text will not be selected)
  4. Mrunal's Auto Notemaker for PDF files & The Hindu
  5. Now read the Pdf file as per your convenience, and whenever you feel that some keyword or phrase is important, then just highlight it using your mouse cursor. (But make sure that you’ve selected “Text Selection Tool”)
  6. You’ll see that my script is copying those highlighted lines and you’ll receive ballon-tray notifications.
  7. Mrunal's Auto Note Maker for PDF files & The Hindu
  8. Continue the activity until you’ve finish the topic/chapter in the given pdf file.
  9. Once you’re done reading the topic/pdf file, then right click on the green icon in taskbar -> “Pause Program”
  10. Now again Right Click on green icon > “Open Storage” and you’ll see the notepad file containing all the phrases that you had highlighted during reading.
  11. Mrunal's Auto Note Maker

    Click to Enlarge

  12. Copy paste the content of this notepad file into another MS Word document / Notepad / Evernote / Onenote or any other software, as per your requirement.
  13. Close this notepad file.
  14. Right click on the green icon >> Empty Storage. (plz note, it’ll remove the content from that notepad file).
  15. If you want to continue making notes, then continue highlighting lines in Foxit. And repeat above steps for number 4 onwards.
  16. If you’re done, then exit the program by right click>>Exit program

Situation B: Auto Notes making from Website

  1. Launch google chrome.
  2. Double click on “Mrunal’s Auto Notemaker for Web”. Now You will see the green icon in the taskbar, near the clock.
  3. Just select the phrases/highlight phrases while reading any article or website and they’ll automatically get copied in background.
  4. Once finished, Right click on green icon > “Pause Program”
  5. Now again Right Click on green icon > “Open Storage” and your data will be there. Copy paste it in separate word file, evernote, freemind or any other software as per your requirements.
  6. Other instructions are more or less the same like Situation “A” for PDF files.
  7. You may also use this script for copying from MS Word, Notepad etc fileformats.

Converting Notes into Mindmaps

Suppose after copying from here and there, you’ve gathered following lines

  1. Train Collision Avoidance System (TCAS)
  2. combination of GPS and Radio Frequency enabled technology
  3. applies brakes without the intervention of the loco (train) pilots
  4. avoid collisions due to human errors,heavy rain or fog, natural calamities or sabotage.
  5. NATIONAL SCHOOL OF DRAMA
  6. set up by Sangeet Natak Akademi
  7. totally financed by Department of Culture.
  8. an autonomous organisation
  9. to train students in all aspects of theatre
  10. training course at NSD is of three years duration

The  first four lines are from The Hindu newspaper (web) and remaining lines are from India Yearbook 2011 (PDF). I’ve made this list using my scripts. (I did not manually type above list)

  • Now I want to properly arrange this data into a mindmap for quick revisions.
  • So, Copy that list. (please  copy such lists from a notepad text file or MS word file, because if you directly copy paste it from a webpage, then the list may not display properly in the mindmapping program.)
  • Anyways, after copying the list, Open either Freemind or Mindjet Mindmanager.
  • Create a new Mindmap.
  • Now select Central Note (the gray circle titled “New Mind Map”) and press Ctrl+V (Paste)
  • You’ll get this result.
Mindmap example UPSC

Click to Enlarge

Now hold down Shift key, and using arrow key, select the point number 2 to 4 and drag them into point number 1. And you’ll get this result:

Mindmap yearbook

Click to Enlarge

Lastly, I’ve added some fancy formatting to beautify the mindmap and here is the final result.

Mindmap Final

Click to Enlarge

 

Troubleshooting the Scripts

  1. I’ve tested this on XP SP3, working without problem.
  2. Tested on Win8 (64-bit). As long as you launch the program via right click “run as administrator”, should work fine.
  3. This does not work with just ‘any’ version of Autohotkey software. This works only with a customized version of Autohotkey software, known as “Lexicos’ build. (Autohotkey_L)” So if you’re having any issues, uninstall your autohotkey, then download and install following file: http://l.autohotkey.net/AutoHotkey_L_Install.exe
  4. If you got the error window that “—> 023: Run,%A_scriptdir%\Temporary_Storage_File.txt...huge piece of code” This happens when you launch the script for the very first time and directly click on green icon >> open storage. This error happens because system has not yet created that “Temporary_Storage_File”. So solution is simple: relaunch the script, Selected a few lines  in PDF/Webpage only for testing and then Green icon > right click > Open Storage.
  5. Sometimes it doesn’t detect the lines selected by cursor. So either restart the program or try again. If you drag your cursor too fast or too slow, then the script may not detect and copy the text. In the Web script be extremely cautious while moving your mouse in dragging and highlighting lines, else it might copy the whole web instead of a single phrase :)
  6. Will not work if the PDF file is “copy-protected” or if it is just a scanned image of a document without OCR. Same goes for Non-English PDF files
  7. Mrunal’s Auto Notemaker for Web, tested on firefox, internet explorer and Chrome. (Although Chrome would most reliable). If problem then disable other Plugin/addons.
  8. Better “Empty Storage” after work is done. i.e. right click on green icon >>Empty Storage.
  9. Better close/exit the script when not in use. Otherwise script might unnecessarily keep copying the text while you’re surfing websites for non-study purpose.
  10. May or may not function properly if you’re using Vista or Win7 or Windowsblinds themes (because of the “ Balloon Traytip” feature)
  11. Donot launch both scripts simultaneously. Use only one script at a time.
  12. Donot use this in combination with Clipmate or Clipcache or similar clipboard modifier programs.

How to Report Bugs/Errors

If you run into any trouble, don’t hesitate the post the comment below.
But For faster diagnosis of problem, please describe it in following format.

  1. Name of your Operating System: Win XP, Vista, Win7, Win8
  2. Are  you using Autohotkey “Lexicos Build”?: Yes/No. 
  3. Script : PDF or Web?
  4. Name of the web browser (if problem in Web script): Internet Explorer, Google Chrome, Firefox
  5. Description of the problem and what solutions have you tried:

Eye Strain

Notepad ++

  • My script copies the data in a .txt file (notepad file)
  • But the default notepad has white background and black text = very uncomfortable for eye, if you consciously work for more than 10 minutes.
  • Therefore I suggest you use Notepad++ (free download: CLICK ME)
  • Open notepad++, click on Settings >> Styler Configuration >>Change theme according to your liking.
  • To make Notepad++ as your default alternative to Notepad, you need to goto Notepad++ >> Settings Menu >>Preferences >>File Associations >>.txt
  • Compare the screens:


 Foxit PDF reader: Changing Background Color

  • When you’ve to read lengthy PDF files, with white background + black text = very uncomfortable.
  • To solve this problem, Goto Edit>Prerences (or press Ctrl+K on your keyboard)
  • Now select “Accessibility” and replace the document colors (for example black background and yellow text).

Mrunal recommends

493 Comments on “[Tech] Mrunal’s Auto NoteMaker for The Hindu & PDF files: Grab Data by Mouse, Make Notes without typing!”

  1. Operating System: Win7
    Are you using Autohotkey “Lexicos Build”?: YES
    Script : PDF or Web? BOTH
    Name of the web browser (if problem in Web script): Chrome
    Description of the problem and what solutions have you tried: when i select any text at the beginning; this program copies the previously available text in the clipboard. then again I select the same text to copy this. it is copied this time by the program. Now if I want to copy another text instead of coping that text it copies the same text that I previously selected. and this thing repeats again and again.

    I tried to re-install the program but the problem persists.

    Please Help!!

    1. Hey ! I am facing the same issue. Did you resolve it ? Please help :)

  2. Name of your Operating System: Win8
    Are you using Autohotkey “Lexicos Build”?: Yes http://l.autohotkey.net/AutoHotkey_L_Install.exe
    Script : Web
    Name of the web browser (if problem in Web script): Google Chrome
    Description of the problem and what solutions have you tried: PDF script working perfect…web script copies random/previously selected text….read and tried all solutions u have suggested in above comments…none of them worked for web script…plz help.

    1. First uninstall Every thing and follow steps below

      1.) Go to http://ahkscript.org/download/1.1/AutoHotkey111504_Install.exe (you found direct download starts)

      2.) Than download both 1. Mrunal_PDF_AutoNoteMaker and 2. Mrunals_WEB_AutoNoteMaker download again and put any where

      3.) Install AutoHotkey111504_Install.exe

      4.) Now run Autohot Key as Administrator ( from start>>autohotkey>>right click>> Run as administrator (If you can not find autohot key than TYPE autohot key in start menu anywhere ) than run as administrator)

      5.) After runing autohot key as admin run one of the script (1. Mrunal_PDF_AutoNoteMaker OR 2. Mrunals_WEB_AutoNoteMaker) AS ADMINSTRATOR.

      Make sure in foxit reader you’ve selected TEXT SELECTION TOOL. If not than select it and than try again

      wallah enjoy it I am running it on windows 8.1 also

      1. thanks a lot. it worked!!!

  3. Sir Any software or script like this for Mac Os(Apple macbook)?
    Please suggest me.

  4. Problem in downloading mrunal auto maker soft ware

  5. Mrunal…,
    sir i am facing problem with windows8 ..the softwares are not being successfully installed ..could u please send send me links of softwares suit for W8 and sequence i should follow to successfully launch program..
    give instructions

  6. Dear Sir,

    I am running web browser Safari with operating system OS X 10.9.4 for Macbook. I could not install Autohotkeys. Would you kindly suggest how to run it in Mac?

    Regards,

  7. I am using win 7.i have installed lexicon build hot key.in mrunal web auto maker I am facing error no 42.in mrunal pdf auto note maker I am facing storage file programme.

  8. Name of your Operating System: Win8
    Are you using Autohotkey “Lexicos Build”? : Yes.
    Script: Web
    Name of the web browser (if problem in Web script): Google Chrome
    Description of the problem and what solutions have you tried:
    Mrunal Sir, I installed autokey and autonotemaker (both pdf and web) along with foxit. But pdf autonoke is working fine but when I try to run script for web autonote maker, the below error message is prompting.

    Error at line 32.

    Line Text: #If Win Active(“ahk_class Chrome_WidgetWin_1”)or
    WinActive(“ahk_class MozillaWindowClass”) or Win Act…
    Error: This line does not contain a recognized action.
    The Program will exit.

    1. First uninstall Every thing and follow steps below

      1.) Go to http://ahkscript.org/download/1.1/AutoHotkey111504_Install.exe (you found direct download starts)

      2.) Than download both 1. Mrunal_PDF_AutoNoteMaker and 2. Mrunals_WEB_AutoNoteMaker download again and put any where

      3.) Install AutoHotkey111504_Install.exe

      4.) Now run Autohot Key as Administrator ( from start>>autohotkey>>right click>> Run as administrator (If you can not find autohot key than TYPE autohot key in start menu anywhere ) than run as administrator)

      5.) After runing autohot key as admin run one of the script (1. Mrunal_PDF_AutoNoteMaker OR 2. Mrunals_WEB_AutoNoteMaker) AS ASMINSTRATOR.

      wallah enjoy it I am running it on windows 8.1 also

  9. unable to run .ahk file
    mrunal sir plz help

  10. win7 sp1 64bit
    using the lexicos build u provided(autohotkey 1.0.48.05) and the web version when clicked shows “error at line 42” wala error.
    pdfautonotemaker software opens and still copies the text but when i open the storage it says this shit “the current thread will exit” and “specifically:the windows cannot find the file specified”
    google chrome
    Previously i was using a different version of win7(not sp1 as of now) then it was working. But then i formatted the pc n now i dont know whats happening. I also have win8 32bit that too shows the same error.
    plz reply yaa… thnx in advance

  11. win7 sp1 64bit using the lexicos build u provided(autohotkey 1.0.48.05) and the web version when clicked shows “error at line 42” wala error. pdf software opened and still copies the text but when i open the storage it says this shit “the current thread will exit” and “specifically:the windows cannot find the file specified” google chrome Previously i was using a different version of win7(not sp1 as of now) then it was working. But then i formatted the pc n now i dont know whats happening. I also have win8 32bit that too shows the same error. plz reply yaa… thnx in advance

  12. Thanks very much Mrunal Sir. Your script on autonote maker is very good.

  13. Sir,
    if a copy any text on webpage,
    1). the text is being copied multiple times
    2). below msg is being coping 3-4 times for every copy task
    —————————
    Reload
    —————————
    C:\Users\Temporary_Storage_File.txt

    This file has been modified by another program.
    Do you want to reload it?
    —————————
    Yes No
    —————————

    plz tell me the solution to avoid this issue.
    thanks,
    Mahipal.

  14. Hi Mrunal,

    Thanks for this excecllent blog on UPSC preparation. It is very helpful. I tried downloading your file “Mrunal_PDF_AutoNoteMaker” . It is a .ahk file and npt exe. I am not able to execute/install it in my machine. I am on windows 7.

    Can you please let me know if i am missing any steps.

    Thanks & Regards,
    Jayashree

  15. Name of your Operating System: Win8.1
    Are you using Autohotkey “Lexicos Build”?: Yes
    Script : Web
    Name of the web browser (if problem in Web script): , Google Chrome
    Description of the problem and what solutions have you tried: one message of error is shown when try to run after download. It read as follows:

    “Error at line 32.

    Line Text: #If Win Active(“ahk_class Chrome_WidgetWin_1″)or
    WinActive(“ahk_class MozillaWindowClass”) or Win Act…
    Error: This line does not contain a recognized action.

    The Program will exit.

    Bhai please do something. I have tried many times but no success. hope you solve it soon.

  16. Hello,

    Pls help me , im unable to download and run the auto note maker.im using windows 8 version.when im trying to copy from pdf ..it is copying in the auto note maker but later showin some error message..

  17. Name of your Operating System: Win7
    Autohotkey “Lexicos Build” installed.Not sure just downloaded the version. just followed the link given at the top of u r page.
    Script : Web
    Name of the web browser (if problem in Web script): Google Chrome

    problem is that the web script isnt running.
    error message is

    #If WinActive(“ahk_class Chrome_WidgetWin_1”) or WinActive(“ahk_class MozillaWindowClass”) or WinActive(“ahk_class Chrome_WidgetWin_0”)………………..

    this line does not contain recognized action.

  18. @mrunal sir i want to join classes for upsc i will join whole course in sri ram or go for individual classes like neetu singhfor geography g.s.,upendra for science and tech

  19. Name of your Operating System: Windows 7 Professional
    Are you using Autohotkey “Lexicos Build”?: I could not get Lexicos build as the site says it’s nomore available but I think Autohotkey is working fine. I think my issue relates to somewhere with notemaker script.
    Script : PDF
    Name of the web browser (if problem in Web script): Google Chrome

    Description of the problem and what solutions have you tried: The error highlighted by you at point no. 4 in troubleshooting (“…-> 023:Run,%A……”) is appearing everytime I do right click and open storage at (Mrunal notemaker script) “H” icon near clock. Even after many efforts as suggested by you (removing and reinstalling all of it and copying again and again), I could not resolve it. However, I found that copying text from pdf highlights flag message below “….the text is copied..”, also it makes the temporary file in the folder where I have saved Mrunal Note Maker and the temporary file on opening via notepad also contains the copied text(although first text selected is copied twice), but the same content is not shown when I do open_storage at “H” icon near clock instead everytime the same error message is shown as highlighted above.

    Thanks and Regards

  20. Further, on using Script for web i.e. Mrunal_web_autonotemaker.ahk, following error message is seen:

    ” Error at Line 42
    Line Text: #If WinActive (“ahk_classchrome……………

    Error: this line does not contain a recognized action”

    pls help

    1. Try this

      1 Right click on the file
      2 Edit script
      3 Remove the ‘#’ from line 42
      4 Save it and run again.

  21. In mrunal_pdf_autonotemaker

    #IfWinActive ahk_class classFoxitReader if replaced with
    #IfWinActive ahk_class AcrobatSDIWindow

    works for Adobe 10 pdf …

    no need to download FoxitReader :)
    thanks mrunal ..awesome contribution

  22. OH MY GOD!! This is SOOOO Awesome! I can’t believe how convenient it has made studying large amount of materials in soft copy. While I am not preparing for Civil services I was planning on pursuing a PHD and was just wondering how one can possible makes notes from all one reads to use later in writing one’s thesis?! and now i have t he answer!! Thank you Mr. Mrunal. Huge service to all students you are doing!

  23. I m using iPad , is there any auto note maker software for iPad?

    1. Same 4 me…any suggestion for using it on ipad?

  24. Sir I have downloaded the link as provided above. foxit reader is working pproperly. text is copying in dialog box displaying near task bar. but no notepad file is creating after pausing and oprening the storage…..a error box in coming..plz help

    1. I fixed this problem, I’m a developer too :D

  25. Hello Guys,

    Who ever has problem with the AutoHotKey NoteMaker in installing in your system, shoot a mail describing your problem to “[email protected]”, I have fixed all the problems that I had with this.

    I will let you know the necessary steps that are to take for individual problem. I was a JAVA developer, for to fix this issues with learnt this scripting and fixed the issues with this. I’m also an UPSC aspirant. This copying is going to rock the preparation.

    Thank You Mrunal. It is awesome tool.

    1. whatever I am highlighting in foxit it is getting pasted two times or more in notepad… how to resolve it??

  26. whatever I am highlighting in foxit it is getting pasted two times or more in notepad… how to resolve it??

  27. Mrunal sir please correct the link of autohotkey. The link you provided redirects to older version of autohotkey which are not Lexikos build. For Lexikos build there is other website http://ahkscript.org/ and download link is http://ahkscript.org/download/ahk-install.exe. Scripts are working fine as you provided but everyone is suffering because they are installing older version of Autohotkey.

  28. AJ thanks for you support……………

    1. thanks for solution…autonote maker with PDF running good here after searching for solution…lession learnt…”search before asking”///everything is available here…

  29. windows 8
    not working autonote maker
    when i installed autohotkey.. it shows some error..and not installing..
    what to do now??

  30. Hi! Can anyone help in Installing the entire thing on my laptop. I have installed everything but seems the configuration are compatibility with my system. I am ready to share my screen

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