How to Highlight a PDF on Mac Using 5 Free and Easy Methods

Last updated on June 20, 2024

Summary :

Discover the five simplest ways to highlight PDFs on a Mac, complete with step-by-step instructions and detailed screenshots demonstrating various color options.

Table of Contents

How to Highlight PDF on Mac

How to Highlight PDF on Mac

PDF highlighting is the process of marking text in a PDF document using various tools, such as highlighter pens or digital highlighting features. This technique allows you to make important information stand out from the rest of the text.

Modern PDF readers also allow users to add notes to highlighted sections and copy and paste text directly from these marked-up documents.

Now check out the easiest methods to highlight PDF on Mac, all tested and completely free.

Highlight PDF on Mac with Preview

Preview is an inbuilt PDF reader app on Mac devices, and it comes with a PDF highlighting feature. Using Preview allows you to highlight your PDFs on Mac without software installation.

However, the Preview app on Mac isn’t perfect. You only get 5 colors for highlighting, and scanned documents are not supported.

Highlight PDF on Mac Preview

Highlight PDF on Mac Preview

Step 1. Right-click and open your PDF in Preview, and select the text you want to highlight with your mouse. 

Step 2. After selecting the text, click on the “Highlight” button located on the top toolbar of the screen. 

Step 3. If you want to change the color of the highlight, click the arrow next to the highlighter icon. Once you’ve selected a color, any text you highlight will be marked in that color until you modify it again.

Step 4. Once you’ve finished highlighting, save your edited PDF by clicking “File” > “Export.”

 If you want more colors and extra editing tools, give PDFgear a try. It’s a totally free PDF editor with lots of useful features.

Highlight PDF on Mac With PDFgear

PDFgear is an all-in-one PDF editor that provides you with the ability to edit, annotate, and highlight PDF files easily, all within one program. It works well on both Mac computers and Macbooks.

As one of the best free PDF editor software, PDFgear is free to use, and it provides you with many benefits from the software installation. Click the button below to download PDFgear.

PDFgear – Free PDF Editor

PDFgear is the top choice for highlighting PDFs on Windows, macOS, and iOS, no subscriptions, registration, or watermarks are required.

Step 1. Open PDF in PDFgear

First, click the button above to insall PDFgear on your Mac device for free. Open PDFgear on Mac, and hit the Open File button to import.

Open PDF in PDFgear on Mac

Open PDF in PDFgear on Mac

Step 2. Highlight the PDF

Once the PDF is loaded in the preview screen, select the text you intend to highlight, and a highlight menu will pop up on your mouse. Select Highlight from the dropdown.

Highlight PDF on Mac Using PDFgear

Highlight PDF on Mac Using PDFgear

Step 3. Change the Highlight Color

You are also allowed to change the highlight color for PDF if needed. Select the highlighted text, and the highlight color menu will show up on the menu bar. Click to choose a favored color from the color board.

Change Text Highlight Color in PDFgear

Change Text Highlight Color in PDFgear

Step 4. Save the Highlighted PDF

When you are satisfied, be sure to hit the upper-left Save button to save your changes. If you are not satisfied with the changes, right-click on the highlighted section and select Remove the highlighted section from the PDF.

Highlight PDF on Mac in Chrome

If you have a Chrome web browser on your Mac device, another practical method is using a PDF highlighter Chrome extension.

Chrome PDF highlight extensions are browser-based tools that allow you to import and highlight PDF documents within the Google Chrome browser.

There is an ocean of PDF editor Chrome extensions, and what we recommended is SmallPDF, which is a reputed company in the PDF industry.

Step 1. Go to SmallPDF for Chrome on the Chrome Web Store, and hit the Add extension button.

Install Extension Chrome

Install Extension Chrome

Step 2. Once the extension is installed, launch it by clicking the icon in your browser’s toolbar> Click the “Edit” button to go to the SmallPDF online PDF editor tool > Hit CHOOSE FILES to upload your PDF document.

Open PDF Chrome

Open PDF Chrome

Step 3. Now that your PDF is open in the extension, click the “Highlighter” button to select a highlighting color. You can then highlight the text that you want to emphasize and save your document by clicking the “Download” button in the extension.

Highlight PDF Chrome

Highlight PDF Chrome

Highlight PDF on Mac With Adobe Acrobat Reader

Acrobat Reader is a free PDF reader by the software magnate Adobe. In our earlier post, we mentioned that you can’t directly edit PDFs in Adobe Acrobat Reader, the PDF editing features require an Adobe Acrobat Pro subscription that starts at $14.99/month.

However, if you’re only looking to highlight PDFs, Adobe Acrobat Reader does help you with that, with 18 basic colors supported (get more colors with the Opacity setting).

Step 1. Download Adobe Acrobat Reader, and install and launch it on your Mac computer.

Step 2. Go to File and select Open to import the PDF document that you want to highlight.

Open PDF in Acrobat Reader

Open PDF in Acrobat Reader

Step 3. Next, select the text you wish to highlight. and hit the Highlight button from the upper ribbon.

Highlight Text in PDF in Acrobat Reader

Highlight Text in PDF in Acrobat Reader

Step 4. If needed, you can click on the highlighted text to change the highlight color. Or hit the Highlight button to choose a preferred color and adjust the Opacity.

Change PDF Highlight Color in Acrobat Reader

Change PDF Highlight Color in Acrobat Reader

Step 5. When it’s done, go to the File tab and click “Save as” to save the highlighted PDF on Mac.

Highlight PDF on Mac Online

PDFgear provides a variety of online features which include an online PDF editor. It allows you to highlight PDFs online for free. It’s easy to use, cross-platform, and doesn’t require any sign-up or registration. PDFgear is also the perfect tool for anyone who needs to draw on PDFs, annotate PDFs, and sign PDFs.

Step 1: Upload PDF to PDFgear

First, navigate to PDFgear online PDF editor and click “Choose files” to select the PDF that you wish to highlight. Once your file is uploaded, you will see a preview of it on the screen.

Upload PDF to PDFgear

Upload PDF to PDFgear

Step 2: Select Text for Highlighting

Once your document is on the screen, click on the Add or Edit annotations feature on the upper-right side, use your mouse to select the text that you want to highlight, and select “Highlight” from the top left corner.

Highlight PDF Text Online

Highlight PDF Text Online

Furthermore, PDFgear supports adding comments on the highlighted text by double-clicking.

Comment the Highlighted Part

Comment the Highlighted Part

Step 3: Change Highlight Color and Opacity

If needed, head to the upper menubar and you’ll find options to change the highlight color and opacity.

Change Highlight Color

Change Highlight Color

Step 4: Save the Highlighted PDF

When you are finished highlighting your document, you can download it to your computer by clicking “Download file” at the top right of the screen. You can also choose to print the PDF which helps flatten the PDF.

Save Highlighted PDF

Save Highlighted PDF

How to Highlight a PDF: FAQs

Why Can’t I Highlight PDF in Preview

There are several reasons that you can’t highlight PDF on Mac using Preview:

  • The PDF is password-protected, learn how to unlock PDFs without a password.
  • The PDF is a scanned document, you’ll need to make it searchable and selectable.
  • The Text Selection tool is not selected. Go to Tools > Text Selection.
  • Drag and drop not working: Go to Mac > Accessibility > Pointer Control > Trackpad Options > Enable dragging > Select three-finger drag.

How to Highlight PDFs on MacBook?

There are a few different ways that you can highlight your PDF documents on MacBook, such as using the default Preview app or a paid PDF editor like Adobe Acrobat. You can also use a free online PDF editor like PDFgear to highlight your PDFs.

Are there any Free PDF Highlighters for Mac?

Absolutely! There are a number of free PDF editors that you can use to highlight your PDF documents, such as PDFgear and Preview. You can also use a Chrome-based free PDF editor like Smallpdf to highlight your PDFs.

How to Highlight a PDF Image on a Mac?

If you have an image of a PDF document that you want to highlight, you can do so using Preview on Mac. To use this method, you should open Preview, tap on the image of the PDF file, and then click on the annotate button in the toolbar. In that way, you can highlight a PDF image on Mac successfully.

The next method to highlight a PDF image is to use online tools. There are many free online tools that allow you to highlight PDF images directly in your browser, such as PDFgear. Upload your image to one of these tools to get started!

How to Highlight a Scanned PDF on Mac?

If you have a scanned image of your PDF document, it can be difficult or impossible to highlight the text. However, PDFgear works well. Upload the PDF to PDFgear > Navigate to the Annotate toolbar > Click Area Highlight > Box out the area you desire to highlight. Alternatively, you can use the online PDFgear editor to highlight a PDF by adding shapes.

Conclusion

Highlighting text in PDF documents can be a great way to emphasize important points and make your document easier to read. Fortunately, there are a number of tools available to help you highlight PDFs on your Mac. Whether you want to use the default Preview app or a paid PDF editor like Adobe Acrobat, there is a method that will work for you. So why not give highlighting a try today and see how it can improve your PDF documents?

More Related Articles

arrowtop