Adobe Reader: How to Highlight (or Unhighlight) Text in a PDF File

   Posted November 22, 2010 by Lê Hoàng in Internet

Highlighting texts or lines in a document allows users to identify important information quickly and easily. This tutorial describes how to highlight or remove highlighting of text within a PDF document. How to highlight text in the same document with different colors is also described.

Note: Works on Adobe Reader 10.

To highlight texts and lines:

1. Open your PDF file with Adobe Reader.

2. Choose Highlight text from the toolbar.

or choose Comment->Highlight Text.

3. Highlight important texts and lines by holding the left mouse.

To remove a highlight from text and lines:

1. Right click on the highlighted part.

2. Choose Delete.

To highlight texts and lines with different colors in a same document:

1. Choose Comment from the toolbar.

2. Right click on Highlight Text->Tool Default Properties.

3. In Highlighter Tool Properties window, click on Color, set your color and hit OK.


About Lê Hoàng

When not creating exciting new Android games, Lê Hoàng is here crafting tutorials, tweaks, and fixes for your enjoyment.
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The Conversation

Follow the reactions below and share your own thoughts.

  • Anonymous

    Is PDF-XChange Viewer easier (and better) ?

    • Anonymous

      This depends on your purpose.

      Both are good for basic reading. If you want to creat PDF files, choose Adobe Reader (Pro version).

      PDF-XChange is a bit lighter than Adobe Reader. Give both of them a try and let me know what you think 🙂

      If you ever need a free PDF reader that can also create PDF file, go for Nitro PDF.

      Hope this help 🙂

  • luister

    But on my computer the sticky notes and highlight text are grayed out. I can’t do anything…. Help!

    • Haelli Ferrari

      > Hi I know its not that interesting and another person has already commented, but my highlighter and comment box are unhighlighted and grey so I am unable to use them. Do you know why?

      I have uninstalled and installed again and I have one document where the highlighter is functioning normally.

      Could it be an error from the person who sent me the document?

      Many thanks

  • Sidhu

    how to save highlight test in adobe reader file permanently in that file

  • James

    Is there a shortcut key(s) to highlight text using Adobe 10.1.0?

    ie, if I select text using the arrows and shift key is there a quick way to highlight the text without using my mouse?


  • Terre

    Can you comment/highlight in Adobe Reader 9.4.5? I have been trying to enable both of them and it will not work, how do I do it?

  • Lê Hoàng

    @Terre: Please upgrade to Adobe Reader X 🙂

  • Richard

    How do you get out of the highlight tool once you’ve highlighted something? I need my cursor back!

  • salman

    Hi, is there any way to remove all highlights in a pdf file at once?
    I have mana\y pdf files that are highlighted, I want to remove all of them, but it’s very difficult to select the highlighted text and remove them one by one, is there any way to remove all of them.

  • Sarai

    Just double click anywhere. It took me forever to figure that out. So frustrating.

  • Sumi

    Um…. what should u do if it still doesn’t work….. it’s like i pressed sth, and now it just cannot highlight…… pls help me

  • winnie

    1. how do I get out of highlight mode? I want my cursor and control back 🙁
    2. what did I do to get myself “stuck” in this mode? i.e highlighting whatever I clicked on instead of manually selecting the text that I wanted to highlight?

  • John

    In Adobe Reader X … To get out of highlighting mode, right click within the document and choose the “Select Tool”.

  • B Joab

    Thank you for a very helpful posting!

  • George Newmen

    Thank You !!!!!
    I searched for this and found so many articles that did not help.
    The time you took to create this article is greatly appreciated. You have an excellent way of clearly showing how to do something. I know that it must have taken you allot of time, and I wanted to let you know that your time and valued knowledge is so greatly appreciated. Thank You so very much, and I hope you continue to share your knowledge, wonderful people like you make this World a Much Better Place,

    Sincerely Geroge Newmen

  • Anon

    Thank you, this helped me fix it on my reader for pc I have.. works almost the same way when removing it. I wouldn’t have highlighted except I needed to mark my place in case I forgot where.. from now on I’ll just type a note in the bookmark telling me where I’m at like I did before.

  • Midrar

    I can delete by this way if I highlighted text, how do I delete if received file is having some test highlighted?

  • trifi labrador

    Thank you for posting: how to highlight and unhighlight pdf text. This is truly helpful and the way you presented it so simple to understand. The graphics are great.

  • Patrick

    Why can I highlight certain documents, but not others? I’m using PDF X-Change viewer. Any suggestions?

  • Phil

    Why can I highlight certain PDF documents, but not others? It seems completely unpredictable. I’m on a Mac Pro with OS X 10.6.8. Everything is up to date.