Simple Highlighter (SH) is a great Chrome extension allowing you to select text on webpages and highlight it with various colours. You can save your highlights and add notes to them. And that’s just perfect – you save these highlights for later use – the extension remembers your highlights so next time you load the same page, you will easily find your marked locations, well unless the page is not changed.
I love SH, I use it for my studies, I study at work (sometimes) and at home, of course. Thus I need to share my highlights among my computers – the office desktop running Windows 7 and my notebook running Windows 7 and Linux Mint. It would be just perfect if the extension’s settings and data got synchronized automatically, but they don’t. Well, there is an option in SH that should allow you to export your highlights from one computer and import them on another. BUT, this option doesn’t seem to work for me. So here’s my solution which is not really straightforward, but it works. Automatically, no export – import hassle.
In short, we will synchronize Chrome’s “Local Storage” folder using Dropbox. “Local Storage” is the place where Chrome and it’s extensions save their data. To achieve our goal we will need:
- a Dropbox account, obviously
- the Dropbox desktop application
- the mklink command built in to Windows 7 or the junction utility from Sysinternals on Windows and/or the ln command on Linux
Install the Dropbox desktop application on all the computers involved if you haven’t done yet. On a computer with a restricted user account you will have to use the portable version or the alternative portable version of Dropbox.
Make a new folder in your Dropbox, in my case it’s “Simple Highlighter”. Move the folder “c:\Users\kuzba\AppData\Local\Google\Chrome\User Data\Default\Local Storage” to this new folder and create a link in the original location:
mklink /D "u:\Documents\Dropbox\Simple Highlighter\Local Storage" "c:\Users\kuzba\AppData\Local\Google\Chrome\User Data\Default\Local Storage"
Now, on a restricted user account most probably you won’t have sufficient rights to use the mklink command so you have to use the junction command from Sysinternals suite which, surprisingly, works with user rights. The syntax is pretty much the same:
junction "u:\Documents\Dropbox\Simple Highlighter\Local Storage" "c:\Users\kuzba\AppData\Local\Google\Chrome\User Data\Default\Local Storage"
In Linux, don’t delete the whole directory, as the ln command can make links to files. Just delete or rename the two original files chrome-extension_hljnlfolmbmibdjaikiaepgepgnldclj_0.localstorage and chrome-extension_hljnlfolmbmibdjaikiaepgepgnldclj_0.localstorage.journal and make links for them from the Dropbox:
ln -s ~/.config/google-chrome/user data/default/local storage/chrome-extension_hljnlfolmbmibdjaikiaepgepgnldclj_0.localstorage ~/dropbox/Simple Highlighter/Local Storage/ chrome-extension_hljnlfolmbmibdjaikiaepgepgnldclj_0.localstorage ln -s ~/.config/google-chrome/user data/default/local storage/chrome-extension_hljnlfolmbmibdjaikiaepgepgnldclj_0.localstorage.journal ~/dropbox/Simple Highlighter/Local Storage/ chrome-extension_hljnlfolmbmibdjaikiaepgepgnldclj_0.localstorage.journal
That should do!