I'm looking for a lightweight PDF viewer on PC, that can let me highlight texts and save the highlights.

Other than highlighting, I have no needs for other bloated features.


  • By "save the highlights" do you mean copy/extract the text to a text file or save the modified PDF file? If it would be the latter then you are not searching for a pure PDF reader.
    – Robert
    Commented May 22, 2022 at 17:42
  • 1
    What are your goals for having a "lightweight" PDF viewer-- are you trying to save on disk space, or on performance overhead? Depending on your needs, most modern web browsers (one of which you might already have on your machine) allow you to view PDF's directly. Of course, depending on your meaning when you say "save the highlights" this may be insufficient to your requirements. Commented May 23, 2022 at 13:25

3 Answers 3


In recent versions (v3.3+) of Sumatra PDF (a frequently praised lightweight PDF viewer on Windows), you can select texts, then press A to highlight it.

You can then save the highlights into the file. The highlights can also show up correctly if you open the file in other readers (browsers, Adobe Reader, etc).

  • 1
    I agree with the Sumatra PDF recommendation - even while doing CPU heavy tasks it always opens instantly and has a tiny memory footprint. It's so good that I actually started prefering PDF to other file formats. Commented May 23, 2022 at 8:13
  • +1 from me on Sumatra. I finally quit Adobe Acrobat after a simple thing like rotate pages now requires a subscription. Adobe is pushing money a bit too far.
    – MyICQ
    Commented Oct 4, 2022 at 7:41

Xodo PDF is popular. I have it on my Android phone but it is also available for Windows


If you have a pen as input device or a touchscreen display you could use Drawboard PDF. It allows you to highlight text, make notes and save them. A simple text highlight without a pen is also possible.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.