How to highlight a PDF.

A man uses a stylus and an iPad to highlight a PDF file in a meeting with two co-workers.

Learn how to make a few lines or an entire column of text stand out on your PDF with a highlighting tool.

Even as workflows become more and more digital, there’s still a need for traditional markup tools, such as the ability to highlight important text.The highlighter feature allows you to translucently color text in an electronic format, just like you would with a marker on standard paper. Let's look at some quick and easy ways to use this handy tool.

Highlight your PDF document online.

For many organizations and employees, work now happens in a variety of circumstances. Gone are the days when conducting business was restricted to a brick and mortar office. Many people find themselves needing to work from home, on the road, or both. And while this setup definitely has its perks, sometimes it can mean employees have limited access to systems, tools, personnel, or other resources that would otherwise be available.

Adobe offers online tools that are perfectly suited for this scenario and more. You can highlight text within your PDF from anywhere in the world — and on any device — with an online editor. Simply go to Adobe Acrobat online services from any web browser and follow these three easy steps:

  1. Select the highlighter tool from the horizontal toolbox located at the top of the PDF editor.
  2. Select the desired color of your highlighter tool.
  3. Click and drag the cursor to select the text area to highlight, releasing when you’ve finished.

Acrobat online gives you the flexibility to work wherever you are while maintaining the standards of excellence and ease of use you’re looking for.

Highlight your document with PDF software.

If you work with PDFs often — such as for business workflows — you might find it easier to work with your documents offline using the full functionality of dedicated PDF software, such as Adobe Acrobat. The PDF file format is effective at preventing unwanted changes to the file, but that doesn’t mean it can’t also be used for editing and markup.

While the tools for editing a PDF aren’t as widely known as with some other formats, they are just as simple and straightforward once you know where to look. Learning how to highlight your PDF digitally will let you interact with your documents in a way that utilizes your files more effectively, improves collaboration and communication, and speeds up workflows. Here's how easy it is to highlight important text directly in a PDF:

  1. Open your PDF in Acrobat.
  2. Click and drag the cursor to select the area of text you want to highlight.
  3. A small toolbox will appear above your text. Select the highlighter tool icon and it will automatically highlight your selected text.
  4. To modify, click on the highlighted area, and a new tool box will appear. This toolbox allows you to add a note to the highlighted text, change the highlight color, or remove the highlight.

How to print highlighted text in a PDF.

Once the document is highlighted and marked as you want it to be, you may need to print it to send, present, or continue to edit it tangibly. Printing a PDF defaults to a setting which will only print the document — not including your markup. If you want to include your highlights in the printed file, follow these simple steps:

  1. Select Print from the File menu or use the keyboard shortcut (Ctrl+P for PC and Command+P for Mac)
  2. In the Print pop-up window, select Document and Markup from the Comments & Forms dropdown menu.
  3. Adjust any other desired print settings.
  4. Click Print.
  5. Begin the conversion. Finalize your PDF by selecting a save location and renaming it.

In addition to highlighting your text, you can also edit, underline, and strike through text, as well as explore other capabilities such as converting PDFs. You can also add comments and notes, draw suggestions, compress the file to make it easier to share, and much more.

See everything you can do with Acrobat to leave pens and highlighters behind and stay productive anywhere.