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Extracting PDF Highlights

August 17, 2012

Eric Blue’s Blog » Learning Faster – Automatically Extract Highlighted Text from PDF Documents

If you have the money, Adobe Acrobat has many features that let you view and print all of your annotations (notes, highlights, etc.).  Although not significantly cost prohibitive most people (myself included) don’t really want to spend money if you can find a comparable free or open source solution.  Adobe Acrobat Reader (the free version most people use) does allow you to view the highlights in a summary pane, but doesn’t allow you to extract and print (You’ll notice that if you don’t create the annotated note with your highlight the entry will show blank.)  The best free PDF viewer that I experimented with is Foxit Reader and it allows you to easily create a PDF summary of your highlights.  Simply go to Comments -> Summary Comments and you’ll be prompted to save a new PDF file that only contains the highlighted text along with the page number.

UPDATE: The above solution does not work (as attested to in the Comments section and by yours truly) however, one of the other Commentators recommended GoodReader. Now I just happen to use that application on my iPad and it created a wonderful synopsis of my highlights for a document that was resisting the ZotFile plugin.

3 Comments leave one →
  1. October 28, 2013 10:37

    There is a really simple yet robust tool for extracting highlights and notes from your pdf-files available at: . Not only it supports various advanced features like selective extraction or predictive extraction, but it also allows you to save extracted highlights into TXT or DOC files. It supports all browsers and operating systems. Does not need installation. And yes, it is for free. Try it out 🙂


  2. jakub permalink
    January 2, 2014 19:58 is not for free, free account is limited. if you want to have more than 50 highlights extracted you have to pay


  3. November 30, 2014 08:55 extracts all your highlights and annotations from multiple PDFs into a single report from which you can click through to the PDF containing each annotation.

    If you sync your tablet/ipad/kindle with your desktop using something like dropbox, then all your ipad pdf annotations will be reportable from your desktop.


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