How do i neatly highlight text in Acrobat?

New Here ,
May 28, 2016 May 28, 2016

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Hi, I'm wondering if something has changed in the program.  In the past i was able to click and drag over pdf text (after it was converted) to neatly highlight blocks of text.  Now, the highlight tool is operating freehand and it's making my documents messy.  Is there a setting or way to change it back? 

Thanks for any assistance!

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correct answers 1 Correct Answer

Adobe Employee , May 30, 2016 May 30, 2016
Hi michaeldifeo,The highlight tool is improved in the latest release and now you can highlight even on Scanned Pdf and images.On Scanned pdf and images the highlight will work same as freehand with a new cursor (Ball shape)  icon to identify it . For normal Text  highlight will work in old manner with a different cursor icon (I shape) when you hover mouse on text.Please reply  back if you see any issue.ThanksNitish

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Adobe Employee ,
May 29, 2016 May 29, 2016

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Hi michaeldifeo

Could you please let us know the dot version of Adobe application and OS you are using.

Please also share the screen shot for the same.

Regards,

Meenakshi

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Adobe Employee ,
May 30, 2016 May 30, 2016

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Hi michaeldifeo,

The highlight tool is improved in the latest release and now you can highlight even on Scanned Pdf and images.

On Scanned pdf and images the highlight will work same as freehand with a new cursor (Ball shape)  icon to identify it . For normal Text  highlight will work in old manner with a different cursor icon (I shape) when you hover mouse on text.

Please reply  back if you see any issue.

Thanks

Nitish

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New Here ,
Jun 02, 2016 Jun 02, 2016

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I have to say that I don't think it is "improved". The ball shape is not easy to use and is messy. And it doesn't work on the iPad, only on the desktop version. Please go back to the old version. It was much easier to use and cleaner looking!

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New Here ,
Jun 10, 2016 Jun 10, 2016

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I agree, now I have scraggly lines instead of nice straight highlights!

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New Here ,
Nov 14, 2018 Nov 14, 2018

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I agree as well.  Very messy. Why would they change it?  The "BALL" is too wide and hard to control.  Looks like a grade school paper. The highlight does not look neat or professional to us professionals who use it for referencing information.

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New Here ,
Feb 21, 2018 Feb 21, 2018

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Your going backwards in quality. I really shouldn't have to create a product in MS Powerpoint or Word first.

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New Here ,
May 31, 2018 May 31, 2018

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Suggestion to Adobe:

A simple solution to the issue with messy highlight lines on scanned text in Acrobat would be, if you by pressing 'Shift' would lock the highlight marker to draw a straight, horizontal line, from starting (click) point to end (release) point. In cases where the scanned text appears slightly rotated on the page, pressing 'Ctrl' + 'Shift' could allow the user to draw a straight line in the same manner but in any direction.EL_text.jpg

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New Here ,
Sep 12, 2018 Sep 12, 2018

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I'm trying to highlight pertinent paragraphs of text in pdf documents while studying for my masters degree. Prior to subscribing to Creative Cloud, highlighting text was easy: select using the cursor and right-click to select highlight. The "hold shift and draw a line" option has slowed down this task considerably - and it still looks stupid. Please, please, PLEASE change this back or at least give us the option of simply selecting text! This is the most irritating "upgrade" since Microsoft's Clippy Office Assistant. I'm very frustrated right now and I do not have time to spare slowly and carefully dragging my cursor along multiple lines of text! GRRRRR!!!

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Sep 13, 2018 Sep 13, 2018

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@TFrancois: It sounds like you are trying to highlight text from a scanned document. The "Hold Shift" highlighter tool doesn't always behave as one would expect. Try running OCR on your document and then you should be able to highlight text more easily. You should get the behavior or the highlighter that you are expecting, where it has a text cursor icon (as opposed to a circle) when you mouseover the text to hover.

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Community Beginner ,
May 19, 2019 May 19, 2019

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That doesn't work.  You guys need to fix this and stop dodging the question.  What problem were you trying to solve by switching to big yellow puffy clouds instead of highlighting text?!

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New Here ,
Mar 28, 2017 Mar 28, 2017

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Is there a setting to restore box highlighting?  The ball tool is very messy.

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Adobe Employee ,
Mar 28, 2017 Mar 28, 2017

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Hi chrisd95375108,

Sorry to say that there is no option to change the freehand highlighting tool for scanned PDF's.

However, you can highlight the normal text in the same old manner.

Regards,

Meenakshi

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New Here ,
Jul 17, 2017 Jul 17, 2017

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I don't  like the ball icon, you can't highlight text in a straight line.  I have paid subscription and I want to use the marque tool.

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Adobe Employee ,
Jul 17, 2017 Jul 17, 2017

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Hi catherinep78230132,

It seems that you are using highlight tool on scanned PDF.

When you highlight text using the ball icon, the highlight auto straights after you select the text.

Please check if the application is updated to the latest patch released.

You may refer this help document for more information on this Release Notes | Adobe Acrobat, Reader

Let us know if you are referring to something else or need any help.

Regards,

Meenakshi

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New Here ,
Aug 18, 2017 Aug 18, 2017

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I also do not like the new "ball" highlightling tool. It makes legal documents look messy and unprofessional. Please reverse this back to the old format. Those of us who are paying for monthly subscriptions should get what we want, not what Adobe thinks is better.

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Most Valuable Participant ,
Aug 18, 2017 Aug 18, 2017

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See above. That only happens if you're trying to highlight something that isn't really text.

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New Here ,
Aug 09, 2019 Aug 09, 2019

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Actually it does NOT always convert to a straight line which is the frustration. If it always converted to a straight line then you wouldn't be seeing all these entries about HATING the free form highlighting.

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New Here ,
Oct 10, 2019 Oct 10, 2019

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anyone know how to adjust the size of the highlight cloud? The default is as large as five lines!!

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New Here ,
Jun 30, 2019 Jun 30, 2019

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This is driving me crazy.  I can't figure out a way to highlight text.

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New Here ,
Sep 04, 2017 Sep 04, 2017

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I have to agree.  I have no idea what you guys have done or why, but I was able to highlight text in my document neatly and accurately. Now, i get the majority of the document highlighted - the text is apparently irrelevant.  Back to a REAL highlighter. Whatever you have done, recognises text in a different manner - or rather doesn't recognise text correctly. And what is with the rounded edges?

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New Here ,
Oct 04, 2017 Oct 04, 2017

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I am using Pro DC and have the same issue.  I have a document that was downloaded from the internet and I can't highlight the text.  The marker is not even highlighted for use.  How can I use the highlighter in this case.  I can't revert back since this is a company computer and they have a Standard Desktop that everyone has to use.

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Oct 04, 2017 Oct 04, 2017

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If you cannot even access the highlight tool (it's grayed out), then the document is protected and you cannot modify it. This has nothing to do with the version of Acrobat or Reader you are using, it's a property of the document that you've downloaded. You can verify this by bringing up the document properties, and then selecting the "Security" tab. You will very likely see that this document has usage limits applied (e.g. no changes allowed).

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New Here ,
Oct 30, 2017 Oct 30, 2017

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I also agree.  I hate the ball highlighter.  It only straightens out if you are trying to highlight a couple of words.  I have to highlight in legal documents and there is no clear way to get it to change to the I shaped icon.  I get it to work by luck sometimes.  For now I have to export the file to Word, which always has errors or print and highlight manually with an actual marker.  Help!

Devon

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Oct 31, 2017 Oct 31, 2017

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It's not perfect, but maybe try using the drawing tools with some transparency. It's not perfect, but it will let you highlight in a straight line. Here is an example of how I use that tool on a spreadsheet chart (of sorts), but it offers a great explanation of how to adjust the settings for various purposes: Document Geek: Adobe Reader XI for Knitters

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