PDF is known to many computer users as a convenient way of sharing file documents that are captured and sent in the exact intended format. As a result, PDF has become one of the most popular avenues for conveniently sharing documents available in the market. However, not everyone is familiar with some key aspects of editing and using PDF files. For instance, highlighting or selecting text in PDF files is often a challenge to most.

Situations that you could be having trouble selecting text or highlighting texts in PDF include:

  • Can’t find the right tool to make an annotation in pdf, or to mark up the content you are interested in while reading the pdf file. Go to Method 1.
  • A Scanned PDF. As a matter of fact, the PDF highlight text tool works with only ‘real’ text. This means that you cannot use this feature with scanned files that have been converted text to image. Go to Method 2.
  • An encrypted (secured) or protected document that cannot be easily manipulated. Security features of the PDF file make it hard for you to access the file. In the same way, an encrypted PDF file might require a password before you can access it. This will limit commenting, highlighting or copying the text in the PDF document. Go to Method 3.

Nonetheless, what if I told you there are ways to go around this? The following are steps you can take to highlight document texts from PDF in a manner that you like by using PDFelement.

PDFelement has made highlighting and selecting texts in PDF so easy that you will not struggle to use the interface when you install the application.

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Method 1. Fix Can’t Highlighting PDF Here

Step 1. Open The PDF File

Go to the PDF file that you wish to select or highlight the text and right-click on it to open a small dialogue box. Hit the ‘Open With‘ option. If you have installed the PDFelement, select pdfelement, then the file will open with this program.

Step 2. Go to The Text you Wish to Highlight/Select

If you just want to select and copy text, then you can click on the Selection tool for text and images buttonpdfelement-Selection-tool-for-text-and-images, then select text in pdf. If it doesn’t work, the pdf you open must be a scanned one or a password protected pdf. You can go to Method 2 or Method 3 to find out the solution.

If you want to make some annotations in the file,  you can go to the ‘Comment‘ tab. Clicking on it will show you a menu bar pdfelement-text-markup-toolwith the option ‘Highlightpdfelement-highlight. The best part is that you are not limited to a size of selected or highlighted text when using PDFelement. Also, you can change the highlight color and opacity from the floating menu bar or from the Properties window.

Step 3. Save Your Changes

After you have finished with highlighting your text, you can save your changes to avoid losing data and progress. Simply look for the save button. Alternatively, you can close the document but before you do it will open a dialogue box that prompts you to save the document. Save your changes and head on to the next step.


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Method 2. Select or Highlight Text in a Scanned PDF

For most regular pdf, you can use Method 1 to help you select/highlight text in pdf. So, according to the same principle, you just need to make the scanned pdf editable or searchable, then you can take advantage of method 1 to finish the job. And here are some easy steps you can take to select text in a scanned pdf.

Step 1. Launch pdfelement and drag the scanned file to the program window to open.

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Step 2. A blue prompt message will appear on the top of the file window, saying “We detect this is a scanned PDF, and recommend you to perform OCR, which enables you to copy, edit and search texts from scanned PDF documents.“You can click on the Perform OCR button on the blue bar to start OCR.pdfelement-ocr-prompt-message

Alternatively, you navigate to the Convert tab and click on the OCR buttonpdfelement-ocr.pdfelement-ocr

Step 3. Depending on the file size and the resolution of the scanned file, the OCR process may take a while. After recognizing the whole file, you can select text or make annotation in the newly converted pdf with the selection tool and highlight tool under the Comment tab.

Method 3. Highlight or Select Text in an Encrypted PDF

Likewise, as long as you remove the restriction of the password-protected pdf, you can make the file selectable or highlightable.

To decrypt a pdf, you can use a pdf password remover if you can’t remember the password. Take Wondershare PDF Password Remover as an example.

Download, install and launch the program on your PC. Then click on the Add file button and select the file to load. Finally, click on the Start button to remove the password of the pdf.

With this pdf unlocker, you can decrypt up to 200 pdf files at a time.


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In addition to highlighting, the application also allows you to make significant changes to the original PDF text. This comes courtesy of the many inbuilt editing features that come with the application. There are not many editors in the market that allow you to make changes to your PDF document the way this software does. From texts to images and other file formats, PDFelement is your best option for making changes to PDF documents.

All of the above features make PDFelement one of the best PDF editors you can find on the market.