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I read on iBooks, and some other resources and gather my notes in EverNote. When I copy a text from iBooks to keep it as a note in some other external application like EverNote, it keeps pasting the source info which is so annoying and I have to keep deleting them after every copy-paste. For example:

“To bind this class using Ninject, I specify the value of the constructor parameter using the WithConstructorArgument method in the AddBindings method, as shown in Listing 6-20.”

Excerpt From: Adam Freeman. “Pro ASP.NET MVC 5.” iBooks. https://itunes.apple.com/WebObjects/MZStore.woa/wa/viewBook?id=4CB3769B56E7D2A905C0332D53D7E31D
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10 Answers 10

40

Here is a solution that requires no third-party software and lets you keep using the standard C shortcut to copy text in Books.

1. Create a Quick Action “Copy without Citation in Books”

  1. Open Automator and choose File > New (N).
  2. For the type of document, choose Quick Action. This will allow us to create a keyboard shortcut for it later.

    Choose Quick Action as the type of document in Automator

  3. Configure the workflow as follows:

    • Workflow settings

      • Workflow receives current [text] in [Books]
      • (Leave the other three settings at the default)
    • Add in the actions list:

      1. Copy to Clipboard

    contents of the Automator workflow

  4. Use S to save the Quick Action. Name it “Copy without Citation in Books”.

The “workflow receives current text in Books” setting in the workflow bypasses the clipboard-modifying behavior of Books. Thus, the workflow needs no extra action to strip the text added by Books.

2. Give the Quick Action a keyboard shortcut of C in Books

  1. Open System Preferences > Keyboard. View the Shortcuts tab and select App Shortcuts on the left.
  2. Click the + button to add a new App Shortcut.
  3. Fill in the sheet as follows:

    • Application: Books
    • Menu Title: Copy without Citation in Books
    • Keyboard Shortcut: C

    Adding an App Shortcut for “Copy without Citation in Books”

  4. Click Add. You will see the shortcut appear in the list:

    App Shortcuts: “Copy without Citation in Books” is mapped to ⌘C in Books

And you’re done. From now on, when you want to copy your selected text in Books, just press C and the exact text will be copied.

13
  • Thanks to stassats in this Hacker News comment for the idea to use “workflow receives current text in Books” to bypass Books’s clipboard modification. Feb 20, 2020 at 4:47
  • OMG this is such a jewel! If I could upvote by 10 votes I would right now. I am so tired of removing those stupid oddly formatted attribution lines. Sigh of relief!
    – Rich
    Apr 22, 2020 at 9:35
  • 1
    @freennnn To copy without text formatting, the first solution that comes to my mind is using the free app Plain Clip to strip the formatting after copying. To make the Automator action do this automatically: 1. Install Plain Clip (by dragging the app in the DMG to Applications). 2. In the Automator workflow, after the “Copy to Clipboard” action, add a “Launch Application” action and choose Plain Clip as the application. May 16, 2020 at 7:08
  • 4
    Setting to Cmd-C didn’t work (still used the regular copy action), but Cmd-Shift-C did. Mar 20, 2021 at 22:46
  • 1
    Note that the menu command created in 2. must have the same exact string as the name of the Services Action you create in 1. You can't, for instance, name the second "Copy without Citation" if you called the first "Copy without Citation in Books". If the names don't match, the keyboard command will fail. Oct 31, 2021 at 21:20
16

This blog post gives an example of how to do it using an Automator script with a keyboard shortcut.

In Automator, create a new Quick Action that receives no input. Give it these three actions:

  1. Get Contents of Clipboard
  2. Run Shell Script
  3. Copy to Clipboard

Put this in the Run Shell Script action:

# strip out iBooks citation
sed -E -e 's/^[ ]?[0-9]* //g' | sed -E -e 's/“[ ]?[0-9]?[ ]?//g' | sed -E -e 's/”$//g'  | sed -E -e 's/^(Excerpt From).*//g'

“Remove iBooks citation” service in Automator

After saving the service, you can assign a shortcut to this action, such as I, in System Preferences > Keyboard > Shortcuts > Services. Then you hit that shortcut before you paste if you want to get rid of the text that iBooks added.

2
  • Even oilerplate may change, this technique documented here is very useful. If you can’t copy different, you need to transform the text in the clipboard before pasting it…
    – bmike
    Feb 5 at 16:34
  • some how this script not working for me so I use this insted input="$(</dev/stdin)" print $input | tr '\r\n' ' ' | tr -s " " | sed -E -e 's/Excerpt.*//g' | sed -E -e 's/“[ ]?[0-9]?[ ]?//g' | sed -e 's/\”//' May 10 at 17:00
5

You could use Keyboard Maestro to trigger the following AppleScript:

set original_clipboard to the clipboard
set paragraph_count to count of paragraphs of original_clipboard
-- assuming the last two paragraphs are what you want to strip out--
-- that is, the blank line and the attribution
set new_clipboard to paragraphs 1 thru -2 of original_clipboard as string
set the clipboard to new_clipboard
-- now you can paste

With Keyboard Maestro you would make a new macro, triggered by some keystroke (maybe Command-Option-V), and the first step would be an "Execute an AppleScript" (in the Execute section) using the above script. The next step would be a "Paste" (in the Clipboard section). You would copy your text, then click where you want to paste it, then press Command-Option-V to have it pasted in without the last two paragraphs.

Other macro programs would work too as long as they know how to execute an AppleScript.

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4

Below are steps for copying text from iBooks:

  1. Highlight the passages you wish to copy.
  2. A popup will be opened automatically or you must open a popup using a right click on selected passages.
  3. Select the 'Add Note' option from the popup.
  4. The selected/highlighted text will be shown on the left pane.
  5. Right click on the passages in the left panel and select the 'Copy' option.

I have created a video to show how it works: https://youtu.be/ZQLl_Gl9TMw

Happy coding!

1
  • > The selected/highlighted text will be shown on the left pane. What left pane? This is wrong. No any left pane exsts
    – Green
    Sep 20, 2019 at 11:38
4

Starting from macOS Monterey, Apple made the Shortcuts app available on Mac, so if you don't want to fiddle with Automator, you can create a shortcut:

enter image description here

NOTE: It doesn't seem possible to trigger this shortcut with ⌘C (it doesn't override the built-in logic in Books) or to make it specific to Books.

NOTE 2: Whenever a shortcut is triggered, macOS shows an icon in the system menu bar (which stays visible for a few minutes). This is annoying, but not the end of the world.

The script for the Run Shell Script action:

sed -E -e '1h;2,$H;$!d;g' -e 's#.*“([^”]*)”.*#\1#g'

The first -e makes sure sed works with multiline input (huge thanks to the person who posted this answer).

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  • The top rated answer here didn't work for me in Monterey: apple.stackexchange.com/a/382603/91480, so I used this new answer that worked.
    – Ray Shan
    Jan 23 at 19:58
  • Hey @andrii, sorry but it seems there is a problem with the regex. It works well with a regular sentence such as "Nonetheless, you can still make the types explicit if you wish". But as soon as the copied text has special characters, it doesn't work anymore. Example: “it’s safe for a reader to assume that the closure is likely to be working”. That single "'" is already confusing the regex, at least to my understanding. Can you confirm and maybe help? Regex is a pain for me anyway :-)
    – Rainer
    Jan 30 at 8:53
3

I have created a script for ClipMenu (macOS clipboard utility) to strip unwanted information:

return clipText.replace(/^“/, '').replace(/”\s*Excerpt.*iBooks\.\s?$/, '');

Save as /Users/USERNAME/Library/Application Support/ClipMenu/script/action/iBooks.js

3

Here is how to set up a Keyboard Maestro macro to strip the extra text, including the quotation marks, the moment the text is copied from iBooks.

First, create a macro group called “iBooks-specific mapping” and add iBooks within “Available in these applications”. (In more recent macOS versions, the application will be named Books instead of iBooks.)

“iBooks-specific mapping” group in Keyboard Maestro

Then create a macro named “Copy Without Citation”. Assign it the hot key C. Give the macro the following actions:

  1. Clipboard > Copy
  2. Clipboard > Search and Replace
    • Search: System Clipboard
    • for: Regular Expression (case sensitive)
      • ^“
    • and replace with:
      • (leave empty)
  3. Clipboard > Search and Replace
    • Search: System Clipboard
    • for: Regular Expression (case sensitive)
      • ”\s*Excerpt.*Books\.\s?$
    • and replace with:
      • (leave empty)

This is how it will look in Keyboard Maestro:

“Copy Without Citation” macro in Keyboard Maestro

Now any text in iBooks copied using that keyboard shortcut will have the extra text stripped from both ends.

3
  • Thanks to Filip Suk’s answer for the regular expressions. Mar 17, 2019 at 16:20
  • For those whose iBooks was replaced by "Books", just modify the last RegEx with ”\s*Excerpt.*Books\.\s?$
    – Tim N.
    Oct 15, 2019 at 1:14
  • @TimN. Thanks. I updated the answer and screenshots to use that regex, since that regex should work for both app names. Oct 17, 2019 at 21:34
2

from Amir Raminfar's answer. this is a way if you want copy directly without Command C to save content to clip board.

just change Workflow receives current to: "text" in "Books.app" and disable get contents of Clipboard.

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  • Welcome to Ask Different. This is a comment on a previous Answer and not a stand-alone Answer. It shouldn't be it's own Answer. Please see How to Answer for tips on providing answers here. - From Review
    – fsb
    Jul 8, 2019 at 18:54
1

An altogether different approach is to abandon iBooks (/Books) and use a different eReader. Having spent a long time failing to implement several of the above solutions, I think it is a valid alternate to choose an eReader that does not pollute the clipboard contents with the citation, curly quotes and invisible control characters. My suggestion to you is Calibre. Calibre's main purpose is to convert between book formats, but it has a competent viewer which has all the features you get on the Apple product, albeit not as beautifully presented.

https://www.calibre-ebook.com/

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  • Calibre doesn't support reading on mobile. It's a deal breaker for a lot of people. Dec 1, 2021 at 18:13
  • Best solution for me by far
    – Anthony
    Dec 6, 2021 at 10:51
  • This answer might work better on a post asking for alternatives for the app and not how to transform text copied from this specific app.
    – bmike
    Feb 5 at 16:35
1

On my machine running Catalina, the solution in https://apple.stackexchange.com/a/382603/449477 worked beautifully. However, this was not the case when using the same solution on my other machine running Monterey.

I attempted to follow the solutions proposed above, but the biggest barrier was working with regular expressions passed to sed - I'm not great with regular expressions and ran out of patience. I figured I'd be a lot happier if I could get the clipboard contents (with the citation) into Python where I could then use some tools I'm a bit more comfortable with to strip the citation.

This involved creating a Shortcut as shown below:

enter image description here

This passes the clipboard contents to the script, which can easily read this input using sys.stdin.read() and then manipulate as needed. The particular implementation shown below to remove the citation is not very elegant, and may break depending what I try to copy out of Books, but it works for now. The important part is that should it ever break, I'm much more confident that I can quickly fix in Python rather than going back down the regex rabbit hole. The contents of copy-from-books-without-citation.py are below:

import sys

data = sys.stdin.read()

remove_citation = data.split('“',1)[1].rsplit('”',1)[0]
print(remove_citation)

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