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How do I highlight text in Acrobat Reader 2017 for Windows?

New Here ,
Jul 02, 2019

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I work for the Lehigh Library and Technology Services Help Desk. I am trying to assist a professor who wants to highlight text in a PDF article that he has downloaded. The highlight tool and comment tools appear to be disabled (greyed out), although the document properties seem to indicate that they shouldn't be. I don't appear to have any problem highlighting other documents. If this document is secured to prevent highlighting, how would I know?

The program is Acrobat Reader 2017 (Version 2017.011.30142 for Windows 10 Enterprise Version 1809, 64-bit). The Security Properties for the document indicate (a) "Security Method: No Security", (b) "Can be Opened by: All versions of Acrobat", and (c) "Commenting: Allowed" (in fact, all of the operations listed, except "Document Assembly" and "Page Extraction" are listed as allowed). I take this to mean that highlighting should work. I have read other posts about the PDF being images (this one seems to be text--I can select the text, I just can't do anything to it), about multiple documents being open at once (I was careful about this), and about comments being disallowed (see above). I'd like to have an answer that is an improvement on "that feature in Acrobat just doesn't work sometimes, for no apparent reason, but you won't know until you try, and you can't get a clue as to why". Thanks in advance to anyone who can help.

Doug Reese

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Correct answer by try67 | Most Valuable Participant

I got the file. It was saved as a PDF/A file, which means it can't be edited (the "/A" stands for Archive).

However, it should be possible to change it back to a "normal" PDF file. Do you not see a blue status bar at the top of the document when you first open it, with an "Enable Editing" button? If not, try going to Edit - Preferences - Documents and change "View Documents in PDF/A Mode" to "Never".

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Comment review and collaborate PDF, Windows

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How do I highlight text in Acrobat Reader 2017 for Windows?

New Here ,
Jul 02, 2019

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I work for the Lehigh Library and Technology Services Help Desk. I am trying to assist a professor who wants to highlight text in a PDF article that he has downloaded. The highlight tool and comment tools appear to be disabled (greyed out), although the document properties seem to indicate that they shouldn't be. I don't appear to have any problem highlighting other documents. If this document is secured to prevent highlighting, how would I know?

The program is Acrobat Reader 2017 (Version 2017.011.30142 for Windows 10 Enterprise Version 1809, 64-bit). The Security Properties for the document indicate (a) "Security Method: No Security", (b) "Can be Opened by: All versions of Acrobat", and (c) "Commenting: Allowed" (in fact, all of the operations listed, except "Document Assembly" and "Page Extraction" are listed as allowed). I take this to mean that highlighting should work. I have read other posts about the PDF being images (this one seems to be text--I can select the text, I just can't do anything to it), about multiple documents being open at once (I was careful about this), and about comments being disallowed (see above). I'd like to have an answer that is an improvement on "that feature in Acrobat just doesn't work sometimes, for no apparent reason, but you won't know until you try, and you can't get a clue as to why". Thanks in advance to anyone who can help.

Doug Reese

Most Valuable Participant
Correct answer by try67 | Most Valuable Participant

I got the file. It was saved as a PDF/A file, which means it can't be edited (the "/A" stands for Archive).

However, it should be possible to change it back to a "normal" PDF file. Do you not see a blue status bar at the top of the document when you first open it, with an "Enable Editing" button? If not, try going to Edit - Preferences - Documents and change "View Documents in PDF/A Mode" to "Never".

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Comment review and collaborate PDF, Windows

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Jul 02, 2019 0
Most Valuable Participant ,
Jul 02, 2019

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Some file types don't allow editing because they were digitally signed or of the way they were created.

If you could share the file with us it will be easier to give you a more definite answer...

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Jul 02, 2019 0
New Here ,
Jul 05, 2019

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try67:

Thank you. If you can provide me with an email address, sent to dsr1@lehigh.edu, I can leave the file in a secure dropbox at https://filesender.lehigh.edu for you to pick up (the email address is to notify you of the availability of the item and the code number by which to retrieve it). The file is 6,395,226 bytes long. If you have an alternative sharing method you would prefer, please let me know.  --Doug

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Jul 05, 2019 0
Most Valuable Participant ,
Jul 05, 2019

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You can send it to [try6767 at gmail.com].

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Jul 05, 2019 0
Most Valuable Participant ,
Jul 05, 2019

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I got the file. It was saved as a PDF/A file, which means it can't be edited (the "/A" stands for Archive).

However, it should be possible to change it back to a "normal" PDF file. Do you not see a blue status bar at the top of the document when you first open it, with an "Enable Editing" button? If not, try going to Edit - Preferences - Documents and change "View Documents in PDF/A Mode" to "Never".

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Jul 05, 2019 1
New Here ,
Jul 05, 2019

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That did it. Thank you very much.  --Doug

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Jul 05, 2019 0
New Here ,
Sep 22, 2020

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I have a pdf file that is secured, but in the security features I see that the commenting has been enabled. But I am still unable to highlight the text. How can I fix that?

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Sep 22, 2020 0
New Here ,
Sep 22, 2020

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Also this a acrobat reader dc for Mac

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Sep 22, 2020 0
Most Valuable Participant ,
Sep 22, 2020

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Can you select it at all using the Text Selection tool? If not, it's not real text, just an image. You can "highlight" it using other tools in this case, such as the Square commenting tool.

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Sep 22, 2020 0
New Here ,
Sep 22, 2020

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It is real text. I was able to highlight when Adobe gave me the trial
version for Adobe Pro, but since then I haven't been able to highlight it
in the basic reader.

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Sep 22, 2020 0
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Sep 22, 2020

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OK, so please describe what happens when you use the Highlight tool on this text...

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Sep 22, 2020 0
New Here ,
Sep 22, 2020

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I do not get the option to use the highlight text. It is grayed out in the
toolbar. See the snapshot below:
[image: Screen Shot 2020-09-22 at 5.33.10 PM.png]

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Sep 22, 2020 0
try67 LATEST
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Sep 22, 2020

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The image did not come through. You can't attach it to an email reply. You have to do so from the forum itself.

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Sep 22, 2020 0