Literal is a textual annotation management system.

Capture ideas and phrases from text that you read. Build a digital garden of words.

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How It Works

    1. Highlight Text.

    Literal supports annotations made within web browsers, PDF readers, and more.

    2. Import the Highlight.

    Share the highlight with Literal to import it. Use the selection toolbar to share the highlighted text directly, or share a screenshot of the highlight.

    3. Annotate the Highlight.

    Add context and thoughts by adding tags and notes.

    4. Explore.

    Browse annotations grouped by tags and reflect as ideas evolve in response to new annotations and new relationships between them.

Short videos are available that demonstrate how to use Literal:


Separate signal from noise.

Interacting with text elevates the reading experience beyond one of passive consumption and into one that requires analysis and critical thought. Annotations are of equal value to the text itself.

Build bridges, not silos.

Ideas do not exist in isolation. Ideas are threads that span otherwise disparate contexts. Annotations organized strictly by their original source is an artificial limitation.

Understand the source.

Annotations removed from their original context are like a verse without a song, or a headline without an article. Given a highlight, you should frequently reexamine it within its original context.

Open by default.

Information flows like ripples in a pond, and cascades to create and amplify network effects. Data - annotations and sources, creators and consumers - should be free to move across the boundaries of systems.


Available Now

Coming Soon

We're just getting started, and there is so much work to do. Get started now, and keep in mind that we're always improving.

  • Android mobile app

  • Create highlight from screenshot

  • Create highlight from text

  • Annotation tagging

  • First-class W3C Web Annotation support

  • Annotation source viewer

  • iOS mobile app

  • Graph viewer

  • Browser extension

  • Annotation sharing and discovery


Get the mobile application.


View the blog.


Reach out to tell us what you think, ask a question, or just say hello.

Open Source

View the source code.

Privacy Policy

What data we collect and why.