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Adobe Acrobat Pro DC: Highlight tool changes from freehand to text select.

New Here ,
Mar 23, 2017

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I need to backcheck some pdf drawings and to do so, i highlight my original markup if its been picked up. While doing this, ive noticed there are two forms of the highlight tool. Both come from the same tool button the "highlight tool". One form is a circular cursor that does freehand highlighting. The other is a vertical bar like a capitol letter "I" that only highlights text. I cant determine why, but the version of the tool that i get to use varies between pdf's. Is there a way to set the freehand tool as default?

Thank you for the help!

You probably have worked this out by now, it took me a while to figure it out as well. If it is a scanned pdf then you need to do/run a text recognition/image recognition on the page (or you can also choose the entire document).  Once you do that it recognizes the individual sentences and then the text cursor appears.  I use the Comment tool, select with the text cursor then click on the highlighter symbol to highlight the selected text.

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Comment review and collaborate PDF, Windows

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Adobe Acrobat Pro DC: Highlight tool changes from freehand to text select.

New Here ,
Mar 23, 2017

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I need to backcheck some pdf drawings and to do so, i highlight my original markup if its been picked up. While doing this, ive noticed there are two forms of the highlight tool. Both come from the same tool button the "highlight tool". One form is a circular cursor that does freehand highlighting. The other is a vertical bar like a capitol letter "I" that only highlights text. I cant determine why, but the version of the tool that i get to use varies between pdf's. Is there a way to set the freehand tool as default?

Thank you for the help!

You probably have worked this out by now, it took me a while to figure it out as well. If it is a scanned pdf then you need to do/run a text recognition/image recognition on the page (or you can also choose the entire document).  Once you do that it recognizes the individual sentences and then the text cursor appears.  I use the Comment tool, select with the text cursor then click on the highlighter symbol to highlight the selected text.

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Comment review and collaborate PDF, Windows

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Mar 23, 2017 0
Most Valuable Participant ,
Mar 23, 2017

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When you hover with the mouse above text it will automatically switch to the text selection mode. If you want it to always be in "free form" mode hold down Ctrl while using it.

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Mar 23, 2017 1
New Here ,
Mar 23, 2017

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This is a scanned document, so there is no text. Also i tried holding control when highlighting and it did not make it the freehand highlight tool.

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Mar 23, 2017 0
Adobe Community Professional ,
Jun 06, 2017

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Are you on Mac or PC? I tried using that trick, but I can't get it to stay in freeform mode. I am on a mac.

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Jun 06, 2017 1
New Here ,
Jun 07, 2017

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I am on PC running windows 10.

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Jun 07, 2017 0
New Here ,
Mar 23, 2017

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Also, I am sure someone will provide this workaround. I am aware that i can change the drawing freehand tool to mimic a highlighter. I would just prefer to have the freehand highlighter instead of a workaround.

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Mar 23, 2017 0
Most Valuable Participant ,
Mar 23, 2017

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If there's no text in the file then the text selection option will never appear... Maybe someone ran Text Recognition on it at some point?

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Mar 23, 2017 0
New Here ,
Mar 23, 2017

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I think my issue just might be an outdated software. Is this correct?

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Mar 23, 2017 0
Most Valuable Participant ,
Mar 23, 2017

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Could be... It's usually a good idea to have the latest version installed.

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Mar 23, 2017 0
New Here ,
Mar 23, 2017

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Tell that to our IT... Well ill see if i can get them to push an update out. Thanks again for the help.

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Mar 23, 2017 0
New Here ,
Apr 25, 2017

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I have Adobe pro dc. I received a pdf file of 200+ pages. I want to highlight some entries. All I can find is the freehand O shaped icon that makes it look like a 5 year old or a drunk highlighted it. So how to I mark text and then color it?

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Apr 25, 2017 0
Adobe Community Professional ,
Apr 26, 2017

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Use Tools > Enhance Scans

Then you can select text and highlight it.

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Apr 26, 2017 1
New Here ,
Jun 01, 2017

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Nope that don't work either. No it seems to be only on this document I downloaded. It is OCR, I have edited and saved as a different file. I optimized it stil only the O and the selection tool the cross

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Jun 01, 2017 0
New Here ,
Mar 19, 2018

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Right click on the highlighter pen.  Click on Show Properties.  Click on keep tool selected.

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Mar 19, 2018 0
New Here ,
Mar 26, 2018

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Nope it still creates an Oval rather than just highlighting the area/text you select. Any other ideas?

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Mar 26, 2018 0
Adobe Employee ,
Apr 06, 2018

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Hello Stephanieh,

Sorry for the delayed response and inconvenience caused. Would you mind sharing a screenshot of the Oval shape highlighter? To share the screenshot, refer to https://forums.adobe.com/docs/DOC-7043#jive_content_id_How_do_I_attach_a_screenshot

Have you tried with another PDF file or is it specific to this PDF file?

Also, check for any pending updates of Acrobat from help>check for updates, reboot the machine after installing the updates and see if this brings any difference.

Also, what is the dot version of Acrobat installed on your computer? To identify refer to Identify the product and its version for Acrobat and Reader DC

Let us know how it goes and share your findings.


Regards,Anand Sri.

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Apr 06, 2018 1
New Here ,
Aug 08, 2019

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Anand Sri - I'm having the same text highlighting problem you addressed here. I want to keep the highlighter tool as a text highlighter NOT freeform. I didn't see you give a specific answer, though. Help?

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Aug 08, 2019 0
New Here ,
May 12, 2018

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You probably have worked this out by now, it took me a while to figure it out as well. If it is a scanned pdf then you need to do/run a text recognition/image recognition on the page (or you can also choose the entire document).  Once you do that it recognizes the individual sentences and then the text cursor appears.  I use the Comment tool, select with the text cursor then click on the highlighter symbol to highlight the selected text.

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May 12, 2018 0