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26

Cannot highlight text in a PDF.

New Here ,
Jun 28, 2015 Jun 28, 2015

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Too hard??  I have been using Adobe products for 20 years and never had a single problem highlighting a pdf.  Today I find I can't highlight a PDF and I really need to.  I have spent the entire day, its now 3:30pm, trolling the internet trying to find out how to highlight and Adobe PDF document.  Epic fail Adobe.

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Comment markup and annotate , General troubleshooting , iOS

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2 ACCEPTED SOLUTIONS
Adobe Employee ,
Jul 01, 2015 Jul 01, 2015

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Hi willm26591030,

Are you using the desktop app on a Windows/Mac computer or the mobile app on an iPad/iPhone or Android tablet/phone?  (Your forum post appeared in the mobile forum.  But it is not clear which app you actually use.)

It sounds like you have a different problem.  The other users in this forum thread had questions about how to find the commenting tools in the new mobile Reader app - Adobe Acrobat Reader for iOS or Android.

Your problem may be caused by the type of your PDF document.

Here are the most common cases.

(a) Scanned PDF document containing no real text

Try selecting text instead of highlighting text.  If you cannot select text at all (no matter how hard you try), your PDF document is likely a scanned PDF.  You can only add Text Markup annotations (Highlight, Underline, Strikeout) to real text, not to image of text.  You need to run OCR (Optical Character Recognition) software to turn images of text into real text.

(b) Secured/protected PDF document

The security settings or restrictions of the PDF document explicitly disallow commenting.  The author/distributor of the PDF document does not want you to add comments to it.  All of the commenting tools will be disabled in this case.

(c) Encrypted PDF document

When security settings (e.g. password, certificate) or restrictions are added to a PDF document, the document becomes encrypted.  Unlike the desktop version of Adobe Reader, the mobile Adobe Acrobat Reader apps (for iOS, Android, Windows Phone) have the known limitation where changes cannot be saved to encrypted PDF documents.  Therefore, users are not able to make any changes to encrypted PDF documents.  The easiest way to work around the problem is to use the desktop version of Adobe Reader.

Pleas let us know if you would like us to examine your PDF document to identify the particular reason why you cannot highlight text.

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Community Beginner ,
Jun 02, 2020 Jun 02, 2020

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The same happens to Adobe Acrobat Reader DC desktop version and I use a workaround:

• Click on Comment icon to enable the tools.

• Click on Draw Rectangle tool,

• Click on Change Color tool, choose the color and set opacity to about 40%,

• Click on Change Line Thickness tool and set to 0 pt,

• Draw a rectangle around the text you want to highlight.

If you are not satisfied with the color and opacity then right click the rectangle, click Properties and change its appearance.

This will also highlight over the character itself and the effect is not as good as the real Highlight.

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Adobe Employee ,
Nov 24, 2023 Nov 24, 2023

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Hi @Paul Vinger, Voice Actor,

 

Sorry for the experience. 

 

Anything specific that you would like to share with us to investigate? Like, is the issue related to a speicifc file, do you see any error messages, or a screen recording of the entire event happening for better understanding.

 

Look forward to hearing from you.

 

-Souvik

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New Here ,
Dec 28, 2023 Dec 28, 2023

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The solution is to print to pdf from the document you are trying to highlight.  The 'print' action changes the format to recognizable text!  Now you can highlight!

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New Here ,
Feb 17, 2024 Feb 17, 2024

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In my case, I had to chance the opacity of the highlight, which was set to 0%.

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