How can I customize the bulk Markdown Export?

One of the most powerful features of the Readwise to Markdown integration is the ability to customize the formatting of exactly how you'd like your highlights/notes formatted individually. You can customize the formatting of your notes with the below options:

  • Page Title
  • Metadata (such as author, url, category, title, image)
  • Highlight header (parent of your new highlights added)
  • Sync notification (file that summarizes which files were added/updated on every export).

You can customize your export by going to the Markdown Export Preferences page and toggling on "Use custom formatting". 

At a high level, the way the customization works is that each section of the export has a "template." You can customize each template string to format exactly how you like. The template uses the Jinja2 templating language. As you tweak the templates, you'll be able to see a live preview of what your notes will look.

The explanations below should illustrate how customization works and give some useful examples:


Customizing Page Title

By default, Readwise will append "(highlights)" to each page so you can differentiate a Readwise created page from your own. Here's the default template:

{{ title }}{% if not is_new_page %} (Updated {{ date }} at {{ time }}){% endif %}

Notice the {{ title }} variable. When a note is, that {{ title }} will be replaced with the book/article/tweet's actual title and {{ date }} with the current date.

You also have some other variables available to you. For example, here's how you can prepend each title with the category (i.e is this a book, article, or tweet?)

{{category}}/{{title}}

If you want all of your Readwise highlights to just show up in one page (though we don't recommend this), you could set the template to a non-variable string such as this:

{{"All Highlights"}}

Of course, you can customize the title significantly further, using inline-if statements, Jinja2 filters, and much more. The templating language is quite powerful!


Customizing Page metadata

From the Markdown Export Preferences page, you can also edit your page metadata, such as author, url, category, title, image, as well as anything else you want to show up when each new book/article/tweet is imported.

Here's the default template:

{% if image_url -%}
![]({{image_url}})
{% endif -%}
### Metadata
- Author: {{author}}
- Full Title: {{full_title}}
- Category: #{{category}}
{% if url %}- URL: {{url}}{% endif %}

You can customize how the Header text above each set of synced highlights is formatted. By default, each time your highlights are synced they will be sub-bullets of this default header:

{% if is_new_page %} Highlights first synced by #Readwise [[{{date}}]] {% elif has_new_highlights %} New highlights added [[{{date}}]] at {{time}} {% endif %} 
<br>{% if is_new_page %}
Highlights
{% elif has_new_highlights %}
New highlights added {{date}} at {{time}}
{% endif %}
<br>

Note the if statement used above. By default we format the header differently for when the highlights are for a newly synced page, or if they are new highlights on a previously synced page.

A common usecase may be that you don't want the highlights backlinked to the date (the day they are synced). If that's the case, you can simply remove the [[]] wrapping the date, e.g:

Highlights synced by #Readwise: {{date}} at {{time}}

Customizing the Sync Notification

Finally, every time you export your Markdown highlights, we can optionally generate a special markdown file which summarizes which files were added/updated. 

This setting is off by default, but can be especially useful in note-taking apps which can e.g create a page for the date the highlights were exported and linking to that.