Unable to highlight text in a PDF.

New Here ,
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.

Correct answer by OℓMarcelo | Community Beginner

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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Comment markup and annotate, General troubleshooting, iOS

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Unable to highlight text in a PDF.

New Here ,
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.

Correct answer by OℓMarcelo | Community Beginner

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.

TOPICS
Comment markup and annotate, General troubleshooting, iOS

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93.3K

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Jun 28, 2015 4
Adobe Employee ,
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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Jul 01, 2015 0
Adobe Employee ,
Apr 25, 2017

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[Branching has been done through How do I add text or highlight a document? ]

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Apr 25, 2017 0
New Here ,
Apr 15, 2019

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HI,

I have always been able to highlight text from a PDF that I create in Word or received by others but this time I cannot.  I am creating a PDF this time from Illustrator.  I have selected many options when saving but to no avail.  I want people to select text from my PDF but there is no option to allow it, it seems.  What can I do?

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Apr 15, 2019 1
Community Beginner ,
Apr 24, 2019

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Yes, I just had a user who has been using Acrobat Pro for years (now Pro DC), saving Web pages out to PDF from Firefox for research and finds most times the text won't highlight. Didn't have to do much as she opened the PDF in Word instead, which allows highlighting. Not sure how much longer she'll be using Acrobat because she'll migrate to whatever works out-of-the-box.

Sorry that doesn't answer your question directly, on how to get users to open with Acrobat.

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Apr 24, 2019 0
New Here ,
Apr 25, 2019

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Not sure if someone solved this, but I had the same problem and fixed it (at least fixed what I was doing wrong) so it may help you. First, let me say I have Adobe Pro DC (paid version) so I don't know if the Free Reader has the same features.

My highlighter color somehow was switched to white (yes, you apparently can change the colors of the highlighter). So I was highlighting stuff, but couldn't see it because the page is white. Here is how I fixed it:

1. Open Adobe File

2. Click "View" at top.

3. Scroll down and click "Tools"

4. Click on "Comment"

5. Right Click on the Highlighter and click "Customize Comment Tool"

6. Scroll down and click to Add "Change Color" it looks like a Paint Can

7. Then Click that color and a color palette pops up with like sixteen different colors to choose, I picked light yellow (I'm boring like that)

8. Close Adobe

Next time you open the file it should stay the color you picked. At least it worked for me. Hope it helps.

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Apr 25, 2019 1
New Here ,
Feb 08, 2020

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Thanks! This was my issue too...

 

Why the hell it was set to white I don't know? I am 100% certain I didn't do that voluntarily - a cruel default setting...

 

I'm sure many others have that issue!!

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Feb 08, 2020 0
New Here ,
Feb 13, 2020

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Adobe Acrobat Pro XI on Mac running Mojave. 

The highlighter tool simply does not work on any documents. I have verified the properties (60% opaqueness, color yellow). When I select a section of text to highlight the selection gets a dashed lilne box around it that gets selected with the cursor, but it does not highlight. I have tried with multiple documents. Security on the documents is "none." Thanks for your help as this is a major problem keeping me locked into using paper copies of documents.

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Feb 13, 2020 1
New Here ,
Apr 26, 2020

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It doesen't work for me the previously suggested work around, earlier version was so easy to work with, but now!!!

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Apr 26, 2020 0
New Here ,
May 22, 2020

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Hi,

I am trying to highlight the PDF files which I get from saving my .docx files as .pdf files. In fact is about my CV where I tried to highlight some lines. 

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May 22, 2020 0
Community Beginner ,
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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Jun 02, 2020 1
New Here ,
Jul 08, 2020

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This is what worked for me, I was trying ti ighlight bank statements - but these speceific pdfs have some sort of protection, so this workaround did the trick.

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Jul 08, 2020 0