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21839398_809f276553 WebNotes is a company I’ve covered before here Make The Web Your Notepad With WebNotes (+100 Invites) Make The Web Your Notepad With WebNotes (+100 Invites) Read More at MakeUseOf, and one I’m a big fan of – it’s an application that lets you highlight, annotate, and save web pages to make your research easier. No more digging through pages to find the six words you needed – you can save it as a highlighted page, or just save the highlights themselves. There’s notes taking, sharing, and much more, all within the WebNotes service.

Last week, WebNotes released a new product called “WebNotes Pro.” It may not be the most cleverly-titled project ever, but WebNotes Pro offers some fantastic new features for a whole new demographic of users.

Whereas the original WebNotes (which still exists, is free, and works great) was designed for a more social group, allowing you to share annotations and use WebNotes as something of a social-bookmarking service, WebNotes Pro is geared more toward the professional user.

As WebNotes sees it, the professional or student doesn’t need to share notes and highlights, they just need to be able to find and access them again, quickly and easily. To that end, you can create multi-colored highlights (fantastic if you’re cross-researching or stumble across something interesting but unrelated), as well as add sticky notes to pages.


Notes and highlights are automatically saved to your WebNotes account as you go – no saving or refreshing necessary. From your WebNotes box, you can view the original web page, the page with your annotations on top, or just your notes and highlights. If you don’t want to highlight anything, WebNotes can just be a bookmarking service.


Once you’ve got a bunch of annotations and notes, WebNotes lets you easily compile them into a document that you can share with your friends or colleagues – it creates a nice, simple page that you can email or distribute.


But I’ve saved the best feature for last – PDF markup. For students or professionals, reading PDF is an all-too-frequent occurrence. Memos, books, and the like all seem to come in the ubiquitous PDF format, leaving you with two options – either waste the paper printing, or go without any highlighting or markup. In order to do either of those things on a PDF, you’d need Adobe Acrobat, which isn’t exactly cheap.

With WebNotes Pro, you can now mark up PDF files to your heart’s content, in exactly the same way as you would any other Web page. PDFs are saved to your organizer, which creates for a browsable, annotation-friendly interface for all your PDF documents.

WebNotes Pro comes in one of two formats – either a toolbar (for Firefox or Internet Explorer) or a bookmarklet (which works with most browsers). Either one is simple to install, and makes annotating and saving pages much easier.

Annotated PDF document

For me as a student, WebNotes Pro is a fantastic tool – it’s great for taking notes on reading, doing research, and keeping all my relevant material in one place that’s accessible from anywhere. As a professional, it’s nice to have a way to organize and mark up the PDF documents and websites that are relevant to what I do. WebNotes has brought me even closer to being totally paperless, and is saving me tons of time daily.

WebNotes Pro costs $9.99/month (again, there’s still the great free product), and there’s a two-week free trial. Students with a .edu email address get an automatic 50% discount.

And YOU, as a MUO reader, get an even better discount – we’ve got 100 invites for 3 free months of WebNotes Pro. Try it out, decide how you feel, and either sign up or drop back to the free option.

The first hundred people to click this link, will be taken to the WebNotes website, where you can activate your 3-month subscription, courtesy of your friends at MakeUseOf!

What do you think? Are you sold or are you sticking with Evernote? Share with us in the comments.

Photo: Megapixel Eyes

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  1. Jits
    May 31, 2009 at 6:07 am

    Looks like a very useful tool.

    I use Diigo which combines annotating and highlighting with a powerful bookmarking system. This, IMO, makes it a killer application.


  2. Martin
    May 31, 2009 at 1:19 am

    Great article David, I'm a student so I really appreciate all the tips and tricks I can lay my hands on.

    Can I correct you on the following quote though? You said

    "...either waste the paper printing, or go without any highlighting or markup. In order to do either of those things on a PDF, you’d need Adobe Acrobat."

    There is a pdf reader that does these for free. Highlighting and comments are available as a standard feature in the free version of Foxit Reader, though saving a document with either of these additions will add what they call an "evaluation mark". What that means is they add a few lines of red writing to the top of the first page of the pdf (and only the first page) which says

    Edited by Foxit Reader
    Copyright(C) by Foxit Software Company, 2005-2009
    For Evaluation only.

    It's a little annoying, but at least it's not on every page. A small inconvenience for a great full-featured free pdf reader. Not to mention how nice it is not to have to install overly bloated software like Adobe's.

    • David Pierce
      May 31, 2009 at 5:21 pm


      Excellent point - thanks for mentioning Foxit! It's a terrific program, but for some reason I never got the annotation tools to function properly. Guess it's time for another go-around. Thanks!