27 Replies Latest reply: Apr 5, 2015 1:07 PM by colinob1 RSS

    Copy Highlighted Text in Pdf file

    Sleighon Community Member

      Hi everyone,

       

      Recently I downloaded the Adobe Reader X (version 10.0). This version allows me to highlight text (in yellow colour). However, If I want to copy a highlighted block of text (for instance to paste into a Word document), I am not able to do this. When I select the highlighted text and click on the right mouse click, it doesn't give me the opportunity to copy this text. Therefore, I was wondering whether I can copy the highlighted text in another way?

       

      Thanks in advance for a reply.

       

      Kind regards,

       

      Sleighon

        • 1. Re: Copy Highlighted Text in Pdf file
          What will work? Community Member

          Same problem here. This is a nuisance.

          • 2. Re: Copy Highlighted Text in Pdf file
            Bernd Alheit MVP

            When I select the highlighted text and click on the right mouse click, it doesn't give me the opportunity to copy this text.

            Which options did you get?

            • 3. Re: Copy Highlighted Text in Pdf file
              AbhigyanModi Adobe Employee

              Select the text (not the highlight) and press Ctrl+C.

              • 4. Re: Copy Highlighted Text in Pdf file
                geexploitation Community Member

                I have this problem too. The problem is that I CAN'T "Select the text (not the highlight)". If I have a paragraph of text highlighted in a PDF and the selection tool enabled, when I mouse over the highlighted text my cursor changes from a standard cursor to four-sided arrow. If I click on the block of highlighting, the block itself is selected (not the text beneath it).

                 

                So, to repeat, how does one select the text if it is already highlighted?

                • 5. Re: Copy Highlighted Text in Pdf file
                  Spire8 Community Member

                  Agreed. More than a nuisace, hindering productivity. Any solutions appreciated.

                  • 6. Re: Copy Highlighted Text in Pdf file
                    sarahhelen123 Community Member

                    It's not very practical, but I got around this by selecting a larger area than the highlighted text I wanted to copy, i.e. starting before the part I wanted and finishing after it. Then pasting the whole lot, and deleting the parts I didn't want after pasting it.

                     

                    I don't understand why it's not possible just to copy highlighted text though, it seems ridiculous to remove the option!

                    • 7. Re: Copy Highlighted Text in Pdf file
                      g4tay Community Member

                      I don't understand why it isn't possible to copy highlighted text either.  The suggestion to expand the area beyone the highlighted section is great but, again, it is inconvenient and hampers productivity.  Simply put, it is a nuisance in adition to being stupid.  Not a characteristic that is often attributed to Adobe products!!!

                      • 8. Re: Copy Highlighted Text in Pdf file
                        pwillener ACP/MVPs

                        I do not see what the problem is...

                        1. highlight some text
                        2. right-click on the document and click Select Tool
                        3. select the (highlighted) text you want to copy
                        4. Ctrl+C to copy
                        5. paste it anywhere, e.g. in Word
                        • 9. Re: Copy Highlighted Text in Pdf file
                          kaemus78 Community Member

                          It seems you don't understand where the problem is. APPLY a highlight to the text, which is to say select it and use the Tools function to highlight the text. The text you've highlighted now remains yellow. Now, choose the same chunk of text you've highlighted and go to Edit, under which you will notice that the Copy function has been disabled. Once a section of text has been Highlighted the Copy function is disabled for that section of text. This makes no sense at all and is a considerable impediment to productivity for folks who use these functions together on a regular basis. Even with Adobe Pro XI this issue has not been resolved, when simple programs like Kindle apps get it right.

                          • 10. Re: Copy Highlighted Text in Pdf file
                            Test Screen Name MVP

                            Interesting problem. I think it's because annotations always see clicks in preference to the underlying page. Almost always.

                             

                            It's quite easy to select text which begins outside or ends outside a highlighted section.

                             

                            Click outside the highlight (or just before the beginning, or just after the end).

                            Release the mouse (this isn't a drag action). The flashing cursor should appear.

                            Now Shift+click inside the highlight. Text between the two points can be copied.

                             

                            I noticed this because for me it's a faster more accurate way of selecting text which works in almost all apps, so I often use it.

                            • 11. Re: Copy Highlighted Text in Pdf file
                              kaemus78 Community Member

                              Yeah, that's one way to get around a flaw in the program, but it's inconvenient as it requires deleting the additional text when pasting. Also, if you want to copy a chunk of text that is embedded within a longer highlighted section it's even more of a nuisance.

                              • 12. Re: Copy Highlighted Text in Pdf file
                                pwillener ACP/MVPs

                                kaemus78 wrote:

                                 

                                It seems you don't understand where the problem is.

                                Indeed, I do not understand what the problem is.  When I tested it yesterday (using Reader 11.0.1) I actually took some screenshot, but I didn't think it necessary to post them.  I'll do it now.

                                 

                                Opening a random PDF from My Documents

                                hlc1.png

                                then highlight some text

                                hlc2.png

                                apply the Select Tool (using right-click)

                                hlc3.png

                                select the same highlighted text

                                hlc4.png

                                copy (Ctrl+C) then paste it into an empty Word document

                                hlc5.png

                                 

                                Ok, the highlighting did not get copied over - is this the problem?

                                • 13. Re: Copy Highlighted Text in Pdf file
                                  kaemus78 Community Member

                                  Perhaps the problem is that I use Mac, but this doesn't work with my system. Any highlighted text that I select cannot be copied. The copy function is disabled with any highlighted text. I don't know if this has any connection, but when I right click on highlighted text there isn't a Select Tool option. Still, when my cursor is in Select Tool mode (via the tool bar), and I select highlighted text, the copy function is disabled.

                                  • 14. Re: Copy Highlighted Text in Pdf file
                                    kaemus78 Community Member

                                    I have the same issue with both Acrobat Pro 11.0.1 and Reader 11.0.1.

                                    • 15. Re: Copy Highlighted Text in Pdf file
                                      pwillener ACP/MVPs

                                      kaemus78 wrote:

                                       

                                      Perhaps the problem is that I use Mac, but this doesn't work with my system.

                                      Ah, that's indeed a possibility - that the defect exists only on the Mac version.  I use, as you have noticed, Windows.

                                      • 16. Re: Copy Highlighted Text in Pdf file
                                        cryptdecrypt Community Member

                                        This is possible because you can put the cursor outside of the highlighted text. Now, try highlighting from somewhere in the middle of a paragraph, and using select tool, and try to select the higlighted line exactly. No more no less. You can't. You have to resort to selecting extra words along with the one in the highlighted area, and delete the unwanted afterwards. Freaking annoying.

                                         

                                        ado.png

                                        • 17. Re: Copy Highlighted Text in Pdf file
                                          pwillener ACP/MVPs

                                          Are you also on a Mac?  On Windows I have no problems doing exactly that:

                                          Original paragraph

                                          chl1.png

                                          Select some text

                                          chl2.png

                                          Highlight it

                                          chl3.png

                                          Select the highlighted text

                                          chl4.png

                                          Copy it using Ctrl+C.

                                           

                                          I suggest that Mac users experiencing this problem report it at https://www.adobe.com/cfusion/mmform/index.cfm?name=wishform

                                          • 18. Re: Copy Highlighted Text in Pdf file
                                            cryptdecrypt Community Member

                                            im on windows7.. are you doing it with keyboard? i want to hightlight and select both using mouse.. it is fine with keyboard.. it's just doesn't seem to work with mouse..

                                             

                                            EDIT: i just found it!! you have to be on READ MODE to be able to highlight and select easily using mouse.

                                            • 19. Re: Copy Highlighted Text in Pdf file
                                              bucky3824 Community Member

                                              @cryptdecrypt, wow, thanks for that solution! Yes, when you switch to Read Mode (ctrl+H), it's much easier to select Highlighted text.

                                               

                                              Ugh, it is a total user experience fail to try to select text after it's already been highlighted by the Highlight Tool. I was previously using shift+click, but it was still difficult.

                                              • 20. Re: Copy Highlighted Text in Pdf file
                                                plughxyzzy Community Member

                                                Agree completely that this is a user experience FAIL on Adobe's part.  Adobe developers - please think about it from the casual user's point of view.  Imagine the poor user clicking on every possible option trying to get this to work until they happen to stumble onto the fact that they have to be in "Read Mode" for this to work (and WTF is "Read Mode" anyway?).  Users shouldn't have to search the forums to figure out how to make something as simple as copy and paste to work, just because they have highlighted some text.

                                                • 21. Re: Copy Highlighted Text in Pdf file
                                                  yelin2013 Community Member

                                                  This function is horrible. the problem is not just we can't copy and paste but have to click several times to get it. for every extra click we make, we lose our time. there should be a short key while our right hand on mouse and left hand on keyboard.

                                                   

                                                  Also can we have an option to copy all or print all highlighted text for all pages or a range of pages. This would save a great amount of time.

                                                  • 22. Re: Copy Highlighted Text in Pdf file
                                                    dishdesigner Community Member

                                                    +1 on the almost complete fail on the user experience with the Highlight function in Acrobat.

                                                     

                                                    When reviewing a document, why does someone go to the trouble to Highlight text in the first place?

                                                     

                                                    Usually, it's because you want to draw attention for yourself and others to key phrases. In a business context, that almost always involves repurposing the content in other software outside the PDF rather than only sharing the annotated PDF with others.

                                                     

                                                    Why can one not simply right-click any highlighted area and select copy from a context menu? THAT IS WHAT PEOPLE WANT TO DO.

                                                     

                                                    In fact, let's go one further:

                                                    The Comments List is useless. Once you've highlighted important text passages, the Comments List shows you each highlighting location with a timestamp as an entry in the list, but NOT THE HIGHLIGHTED TEXT! What is the point? For what percentage of Acrobat users is that the desired functionality?

                                                     

                                                    Why can I not spend the time while reading to highlight important passages and then EXPORT/COPY THE COMPLETE LIST OF HIGHLIGHTED PASSAGES? Again, this is what people want to do. And this threaded conversation is proof.

                                                    • 23. Re: Copy Highlighted Text in Pdf file
                                                      pideja Community Member

                                                      In Acrobat, I highlight a section of text using the selection tool;

                                                      I then go to edit/copy (or command-C);

                                                      In Word or Safari or Chrome or Firefox...I do edit/paste (or command-V);

                                                      I then get a lot of "funny little boxes" with "?" simbols within.

                                                       

                                                      Why? How to get back to standard copy/paste function?

                                                      • 24. Re: Copy Highlighted Text in Pdf file
                                                        Test Screen Name MVP

                                                        pideja, This sometimes happen when a PDF does not have useful text you can copy You can think of it as fault in the PDF. It isn't a fault in Reader.

                                                        • 25. Re: Copy Highlighted Text in Pdf file
                                                          tex23 Community Member

                                                          hold alt and shift 

                                                          click and drag to select

                                                          ctrl c - copy

                                                          ctrl v - paste

                                                           

                                                           

                                                          • 26. Re: Copy Highlighted Text in Pdf file
                                                            zhro Community Member

                                                            thank you SO SO SO much, you just made my life a  jazillion times easier!

                                                            • 27. Re: Copy Highlighted Text in Pdf file
                                                              colinob1 Community Member

                                                              I am on a mac. tex23's solution is good but not perfect. If you just hold shift while clicking, it highlights all of the highlighted text at once.