On Mac's preview as well as goodreader on ios have a pretty good summary of highlighted text:

Mac preview

ios goodReader

This essentially shows all the highlightings I have made, the page it's to be found on and - most importantly - the text that was highlighted. This allows me to quickly find relevant notes with just a single click.

Is there a viewer on windows offering similar functionality?

I have so far unsuccessfully tried a couple viewers. The usually have a "notes-view" but don't show the highlighted text (only metadata as user and date/time etc.).

So far unsuccessfully tried:

  • NitroPDF
  • Foxit PDF
  • Adobe Reader
  • iSkySoft Reader
  • I think Nitro PDF Pro version offers this feature. Not sure enough though I can't remember. Please check if this exists.
    – Lucky
    Commented Oct 9, 2015 at 21:12
  • @Lucky Nope unfortunately not, neither Nitro 9 PRO nor 10 PRO. It only shows the page and user and a subject that must be explicitely defined, but not the highlighted text. And it's not a compatibility issue as it doesn't work with it's own highlightings either.
    – Patrick
    Commented Oct 9, 2015 at 22:18
  • You may want to give PDF-XChange Viewer or Editor a try. Both are excellent, but I do not know if they do exactly what you want. Commented Oct 10, 2015 at 3:10
  • @RockPaperLizard I just tried it, not even the newest PDF-XChnage Editor includes this option. They may be able to export the highlighting (but not it's text). Their highlighting pane only shows page, subject, author and time but not the actual highlighted text (like every other viewer I tried so far).
    – Patrick
    Commented Oct 10, 2015 at 11:57
  • @Patrick Thanks for seeing if it would perform that task. Sorry it does not. They are excellent developers, so you may want to put in a feature request with them to see if they will add what you need. I'll keep my eyes out for other possibilities. Commented Oct 10, 2015 at 18:52

3 Answers 3


You can use Adobe Acrobat Pro (non-free, Windows), you just need to enable the following parameter (before you add the highlights):

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FYI: Retroactively copy highlighted text into comments in a PDF

  • 1
    Unfortunately the last two parameters in "Making Comments" are not available in Adobe Reader, only Adobe Acrobat Pro.
    – Patrick
    Commented Oct 10, 2015 at 21:03

STDU Viewer

STDU (Scientific and Technical Documentation Utility) Viewer is intended to combine a variety of document, text, and graphics format viewers into one. The program includes a modern tabbed interface, search, rotate, thumbnail view, etc. The program can also export pages to an image file, create bookmarks, and more.

Example for highlighted text

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Example for summary of highlighted text

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  • Can highlight text
  • Shows a summary for all highlighted items (including the text itself)
  • Offer an text export for all highlighted items
  • Portable version available (3 MB)
  • Freeware for private non-commercial use


  • Highlighting only via right click. Haven't found a shorter way
  • Does not fully support highlighted text from other applications like PDF-X Change Viewer. It does show them, but does not list them under the Highlight tab

If you just need to view the highlighted text, you can use PDF Highlight Extractor (free, Windows/Linux/OS X):

enter image description here

  • 1
    For the sake of completeness: There's also sumnotes, an online service that does that (that would work on linux and mac as well).
    – Patrick
    Commented Oct 10, 2015 at 21:04

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