Do you need to highlight portions of text in a PDF document? Well, I don’t see where the problem is: you just need to use a viewer for this type of file and take advantage of the appropriate internal function used for the purpose. A few examples. I’ll settle you immediately.
If you give me a few minutes of your precious free time, I can show you all the ones that, in my humble opinion, are the best programs to highlight PDFs on the square, both for Windows, macOS and Linux and for Android and iOS. In the end, you will see, you will be able to tell yourself very happy and satisfied with what you have learned.
How do you say? Don’t feel like downloading and installing new tools on your devices? This does not constitute a difficulty. In fact, you should know that there are also some useful online services in this sense, which can be used on any OS directly from the browser. Put them to the test: I’m sure they will satisfy you. But now just chat and let’s take action!
- Programs to highlight PDF on PC and Mac
- Edge (Windows 10)
- Preview (macOS)
- Acrobat Reader DC (Windows / macOS)
- PDF-XChange Editor (Windows)
- Programs to highlight PDF on tablet
- Foxit MobilePDF (Android / iOS)
- Adobe Acrobat Reader (Android / iOS)
- File (iOS)
- Programs to highlight PDF online
Programs to highlight PDF on PC and Mac
Let’s start this excursus among the programs to highlight PDFs starting from those for PC and Mac. Below you will find all the resources that, in my opinion, constitute the best solutions in the category available for computers: try them now!
Edge (Windows 10)
If you are using a PC with Windows 10 installed, I am happy to inform you that Edge, the default browser for the latest operating system from Microsoft, integrates a PDF reader that not only allows you to open these types of documents, but also to edit them various changes, including the ability to highlight texts.
To use it, just double-click on the icon of the PDF file of your interest, select Edge from the list of programs you want to use in order to open the document and click OK. Once the browser window is displayed with the PDF on the screen, click on the pen icon located in the toolbar at the top and select the one with the yellow highlighter located even higher.
Now, move the mouse pointer to the starting point of the portion of text you want to highlight, click and, while continuing to click, draw the highlight. Then release the “grip” when you are done highlighting.
To save the changes made to the current file, click on the floppy disk icon, located at the top right. To create a new modified document without affecting the original one, instead, click on the icon with the floppy disk and the pencil, indicate the name you want to assign to the new file and the location in which you want to archive it and that’s it.
Even if you’re using macOS, to highlight your PDF files, you can avoid resorting to using extra software. In fact, you can do everything with Preview, the “standard” program of Apple-branded computers, thanks to which you can view and edit both images and documents in PDF format.
To use it, double-click on the icon of the PDF in relation to which you are interested in intervening, in order to open it. Alternatively, start Preview by clicking on its icon (the one with the photo and the lens ) in the Launchpad and select the file of your interest from the window that opens.
Once the document is open, click on the button with the highlighter located on the toolbar at the top, click on the adjacent arrow and choose the color you want to use for the highlighting from the menu that appears. Then, hover the mouse cursor, clicking and continuing to hold down, on the portion of text to be highlighted, and then release the “grip” when you are done.
To apply the changes made, simply close the document by clicking on the red circle located in the upper left part of the window: the changes will be saved automatically. If you want to save the modified document as a new file, instead, click on the File menu located at the top left, select the Export as PDF item, indicate the name and position you want to assign to the PDF and click on the Save button.
Acrobat Reader DC (Windows / macOS)
Now let’s move on to third-party tools. Acrobat Reader DC is undoubtedly one of the most popular PDF highlighting programs in the world. If you’ve never heard of it, it’s the “official” software for opening and editing PDF files made available by Adobe. It works on both Windows and macOS and is free, but some features, such as the ability to convert files, are reserved for subscribers of the Pro version (which costs 18.29 euros/month, but can be tried for free for 7 days).
To download the software to your computer, visit its website and click the Install Now button. If you are also offered the installation of extra programs (eg Chrome ), remove the check from the relevant box.
Once the download is complete, if you are using Windows, open the .exe file obtained and, in the window that appears on the desktop, click on the Yes button. Wait for the installation procedure to start and, once completed, press the Finish button.
If, on the other hand, you are using macOS, open the .dmg package obtained and start the .pkg file inside it. In the window that opens, click on the Continue button (twice in a row) and then on the Install button. Then type the password of your user account on macOS, press the Install software button and, finally, the Close and Move buttons.
Now that, regardless of the OS used, you see the Acrobat Reader DC window on the screen, click on the File menu located at the top left, select the Open item and open the PDF you want to highlight. Once displayed, click on the Comment button located on the right, press the icon with the highlighter located on the toolbar, at the top, and select the portion of the text of your interest, holding down the left mouse button at the point starting and releasing it at the endpoint.
If you want to change the color of the highlighter, click on the colored ball located at the top right, always on the toolbar, and make your choice from the menu that is shown to you.
When the changes are complete, to save the changes, click on the floppy disk icon located in the upper left part of the program window and indicate the location and name in which you want to save the highlighted PDF.
PDF-XChange Editor (Windows)
Another useful software for highlighting PDFs is PDF-XChange Editor, available only for Windows. It is in Italian and allows you to view and edit PDFs in just a few clicks. Note that it is also available in a portable version, which does not require installations to be used. Basically it is free but by purchasing the paid version (with costs starting from 48.00 euros) you can unlock additional functions, such as the ability to create and edit fillable PDF forms.
To download the software on your PC, go to its website, click on the arrow next to the Download button and select the Editor Portable Version option.
Once the download is complete, extract the ZIP archive obtained in a folder of your choice and open the .exe file that is inside. Now that you see the software window on the screen, click on the yellow folder icon located at the top left and select your PDF. Alternatively, drag the document directly into the program window.
At this point, start the tool to highlight, by going to the Home tab located in the upper left part of the screen and then clicking on the Highlighter item, always at the top. Then click on the starting point of the text you want to highlight and keep holding it down until the endpoint.
If you wish, you can also change the color used for the highlighter: to do this, click on the Format tab at the top and select the color you prefer from the menu that is shown to you. If the color you are looking for is not present, click on the Fill color menu and make your choice from the box that appears.
Once all the changes have been completed, save the final result by clicking on the floppy disk icon located in the upper left part of the window. Easier than that?
Programs to highlight PDF on a tablet
And on tablets and smartphones? Which PDF highlight programs can you use? Well, what questions: the ones that I have indicated below. In the following steps, in fact, you will find a bunch of useful apps that you can use to intervene on your PDF documents, both from Android and iOS. Try them and I’m sure they will be to your liking
Foxit MobilePDF (Android / iOS)
The first of the apps useful for highlighting files in PDF format that I invite you to consider is Foxit MobilePDF: it is a free solution, available for both Android and iOS, which allows you to view and make various types of changes to PDF. Eventually, on iOS it offers in-app purchases (at a cost of 11.49 euros/year) to unlock additional functions, such as the ability to sign documents and protect them with a password.
To download it on Android, visit the relevant section of the Play Store and press the Install button. To download on iOS, on the other hand, go to the relevant section on the App Store, press the Get button and authorize the download via Face ID, Touch ID or Apple ID password.
At this point, open the location or app where the PDF to be highlighted is located, select the icon for sharing and then the Foxit MobilePDF icon, to import it into the app. Subsequently, press for a few moments on the initial part of the portion of text to be highlighted and, continuing to hold down, select all the part relating to which you intend to act. Then, choose the Highlight option from the menu that appears.
To save the changes made, tap the […] button located at the top right and choose the Save item from the menu that opens, or the Save as option if you do not want to affect the original document and create a new file.
Adobe Acrobat Reader (Android / iOS)
Adobe Acrobat Reader, the program I told you about in the previous lines, is also available as an app for Android and iOS. Even in this case, it is a resource through which it is possible to view and edit PDFs, taking up all the main features offered by the variant for Windows and macOS. Note that basic is free, but offers in-app purchases (starting at 9.99 euros) to unlock additional features, such as the ability to export documents.
To download it on Android, visit the relevant section of the Play Store and tap the Install button. On iOS, on the other hand, visit the appropriate section on the App Store, press the Get button and authorize the download using Face ID, Touch ID or Apple ID password. Then, start the app by pressing the Open button that appeared on the display or by selecting the relative icon that has been added to the home screen.
Now, go to the File section at the bottom and select the PDF document you want to highlight, taking it from the device or from the cloud. Once the file is open, tap on the button with the pencil located at the bottom right, select the Comment option from the menu that appears and press the icon with the highlighter located on the toolbar at the bottom.
At this point, hold down at the point where the text you want to highlight is present and use the cursors that appear on the display to select the entire portion of your interest. If you want, you can also change the color of the highlighter, by tapping on the colored ball located at the bottom right and choosing the one you prefer from the menu that is shown to you.
When you are done, tap on the check symbol, located at the top right, and the changes made will be saved. Done!
If you have an iPad (or an iPhone ), you can highlight the files in PDF format on the device also using File, the app developed by Apple itself for its devices thanks to which it is possible to manage and organize files saved locally and saved on supported cloud storage services. Among the various features offered, there is the one that allows you to view and edit PDF documents.
To use it, start File on your device, by tapping on its icon (the one with the white background and the blue folder ), present on the home screen, select the Browse tab and go to the location where the PDF is. If, on the other hand, you need to import a PDF into File (for example from Safari or a messaging app ), after opening it and after tapping on the icon for sharing, choose the Save to File option.
Now that you see the document on the screen, to highlight it, press and hold for a few moments on the first part of the text you are interested in, then drag your finger across the screen to the final portion of the same. Then, select the item Highlight from the menu that opens and that’s it.
By default, highlighting is done using yellow. If you want to change it, select the one you prefer from the menu that is proposed to you.
Finally, remember to save the changes made by touching the word Finish in the upper left part of the screen.
Programs to highlight PDF online
As I told you at the beginning of the post, if you do not have the possibility or the desire to download new programs to highlight PDFs, you can also do everything directly and comfortably via browser, using ad hoc Web services. If the thing interests you, try the ones I have reported below.
PDFzorro is a free and easy-to-use online service that allows you to edit the content of PDF documents in various ways: highlighting texts, underlining them, adding notes, etc. It should also be noted that to use it it is not mandatory to register for the service.
To use it, visit its website and press the Upload button, then select the PDF on which you intend to intervene from your computer. Alternatively, drag the file directly into the browser window, in correspondence with the box located in the center of the screen. If your PDF is online, you can also download it directly from there, providing its URL, by clicking on the link or load from URL, or you can upload it from Google Drive, by clicking on the link click here, to open PDF directly from Google Drive.
Once the upload is complete, click on the start PDF Editor button, select the page of the document containing the text to be highlighted from the left side of the editor and click on the Mark tool in the box on the left. Then, draw the highlight in correspondence with the portion of text you are interested in, by clicking at the starting point and continuing to hold down until the endpoint.
Once all the changes have been completed, click on the Save button on the left, then press the Finish / Download button which is always on the left and choose, after clicking on the buttons that are now shown on the screen, whether to download the highlighted PDF on your computer, whether to save it on Google Drive or whether to send it by email.
PDFescape is another web application through which you can edit PDF documents online using any browser and not being forced to install additional software on your computer. It allows you to add text, annotations, arrows and many other objects to PDFs and, among its functions, there is also the one to highlight documents to highlight the most significant passages. It is free and registration is not required.
To start using the service, visit its home page, click on the Choose file button, to select the PDF of your interest from your computer, and press the Upload button to start uploading it. Alternatively, drag the file of your interest directly into the browser window, corresponding to the Drop PDF Here box.
once the upload is complete, access the tool to highlight the texts attached to the editor that is shown to you. To do this, click on the Annotate tab, located at the top left, and click on the Highlight button. Then bring the mouse pointer to the portion of text you want to highlight, click and, continuing to hold down, draw the highlight. Release the “grip” when you are done.
Finally, save the changes made to the file by clicking on the button with the floppy disk, located on the left. To proceed with the download of the modified file, instead, click on the button with the green square and the two white arrows, located just below.