Resources » Working With PDFs (Basics) » How to Highlight In a PDF Online

How to Use the PDF Highlighter on Text and Objects

photo illustration showing a robot with a yellow highlighter for how to highlight a pdf

In this resource article, we’ll cover how to use the PDF Editor highlight feature in PDF.Live. With this PDF editor, you can easily call out text or objects on a document. It’s perfect for proofing pages between editors and content creators, as well as students who need to remember important points. The highlight tool is part of PDF.Live and requires no special downloads!

PDFs make for one of the best file formats for reviewing and editing documents across the web. Many common features you need for reviewing docs are easy to do with a PDF. You can comment, annotate, and, yes, highlight text entirely online. No external software is needed. 

This can all be accomplished within the PDF.Live online editor, which allows you to drag and drop any PDF to convert it to an editable PDF. The editor will then open the editor tool, which has a lot of different features. While we won’t be covering all the cool stuff that the PDF.Live editor can accomplish, we will be “highlighting” the highlight feature so you can edit and review PDFs with ease. 

Free PDF Highlighter Tool

Once you’ve converted a document to a PDF and then dragged and dropped it into the editor tool, you will see your PDF displayed in the PDF.Live editor. At the top of the screen, you will see tabs displayed: Home, Edit, Comment, View, Form, and Protect. 

For highlighting features, navigate to the Comment tab. In this tab, you may not immediately see the Highlight feature. It’s stored with several other reviewing tools that allow you to make modifications to text in a PDF. It appears as a small pen drawing a yellow bar. 

When you click the Highlight, your cursor will change slightly into a text selector with yellow highlighted letters next to it. You can then select any text in your PDF to highlight it.

If you want to make adjustments to your highlight, you can drag the blue circles in or out to change the amount of text that you wish to highlight. 

The Highlight tool is next to a few additional review features that allow you to similarly select areas of text. These review features include Underline, Strikeout, and adding a Squiggly line underneath. Explore these options to better communicate issues that you notice with the PDF you’re reviewing!

But what if you want to highlight a section of a PDF that isn’t text?

Area Highlight

The Area Highlight tool allows you to draw a transparent box anywhere on a PDF that will appear as a “highlight” similar to the Highlight tool. The main difference is that the Area Highlight tool is not constrained to just highlighting text. 

The Area Highlight tool is also within the Comment tab. 

Once selecting this tool, your cursor will change into a bold + icon. You can then drag and click on the PDF to draw a box. This box will then appear as a highlight. 

You can change the constraints of this highlight by clicking and dragging the small boxes along the sides of it. This allows you to highlight a picture or any section of a PDF that isn’t text. 

If you ever want to make changes or delete highlights you’ve already made, select the Hand tool. 

This allows you to re-select highlights and make adjustments to them. While you have any highlight selected, you can always press Delete to remove it entirely.

Improving Workflow

If you want to highlight text on the fly, you can always quickly do this from any tab within the PDF.Live editor. When you have the Text Select tool active and have selected some text in a PDF, you actually have a few options available to you for reviewing text. The Text Select tool is always on the far left of the PDF.Live editor toolbar. 

With this tool active, you can drag and click sections of the text to select them. A mini toolbar will then pop up over the text with a few options available to you. 

You may already recognize the pen drawing a yellow bar that designates the Highlight tool. If you click this, the text that you’ve selected will be highlighted. With a few additional options available, including the ability to strike through, underline, and bookmark text, your reviewing workflow will be significantly improved!

Get Premium Access to Online PDF Highlighter and More

With a PDF.Live unlimited subscription, you get just that: unlimited tasks every day. Convert documents into PDFs or from PDF formats. Use the online editor to make changes, protect your PDF and much more. From any page on our site, select PDF.Live Unlimited from the main menu, and follow the prompts. You may cancel at any time (but we hope you don’t!). 

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