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How to Highlight in PDF Documents Online

by Hung Nguyen

You can also read this article in German, Spanish, French, Indonesian, Italian and Portuguese.

Use our online PDF highlighter to highlight text in your PDF documents online for free. No registration is needed to access the online tool.

As we migrate our paperwork digital, there comes the need for the many traditional tools to manage these tasks in electronic format.

For those that need to review documents on a daily basis, whether for work or as a student, we have the easiest to use online PDF highlighter to help you revise content data. Jump straight to our PDF editor to get started, or read on for more information on its full functionalities.

How To Highlight Text in a PDF

  1. Open the file with the PDF Editor.

  2. Click on the highlighter icon.

  3. Choose ‘Freehand Highlighter’ or ‘Text Highlighter.’

  4. Pick the color and thickness of the highlight.

  5. Drag your cursor over the text you would like to highlight.

  6. Once you’re done, hit ‘Download’ to save your updated PDF.


Freely highlight text or content of your PDF using the Smallpdf PDF Highlighter.

The ‘Text Highlighter’ allows you to highlight the text you cover with your cursor. On the other hand, the freehand highlighter lets you freely highlight anywhere on the page—like a translucent coloring pen.

Our online editor also acts as a basic PDF viewer/reader. As such, you also have access to a handful of markup tools in case you need to fill forms, add text, or even insert various shapes and drawings onto the document. As you examine your content, feel free to switch around the different shading options from our PDF Highlighter.

To further emphasize on your work, you can drag your cursor over the highlighted properties, and we will darken the text with further highlights. For returning users, we will keep the last color picked as the default color for you. And if you’re feeling creative, feel free to mix and match different colors.

How To Remove Highlights From a PDF

  1. Open the PDF file with highlighted content.

  2. Click on the highlighted area of text and choose ‘Delete’.

  3. If you have another layer of highlight, click on it again and delete the rest of the highlight.

  4. Edit the file as needed, and then download your file back to your local drive.

How To Change the Highlight Color in a PDF


If your content has already been highlighted, you can click on the area of the highlighted text, and the tool will prompt you with the properties bar with three options: to delete, comment, or change the highlight color.

On the other hand, if you’re actively working on revising a piece of content, you can always click the text tools to access the color picker at the top right-hand side of the tool panel and change the color of the highlighter as you please.

As long as you use our online PDF Editor, the changes can always be adapted. However, if you have used another software such as Adobe Acrobat Reader DC or Preview to create PDF and markups, the highlights may be permanent. Thus, it’s best to keep the highlighting under one tool, even when you are conducting peer-to-peer work. The online tool is available for anyone to use on our website, for limited free use.

More Than a PDF Highlighter


As the most frequented PDF software on the internet, you have instantaneous access to many other PDF tools to help you convert, modify, and shrink this file format. If you have documents in different forms, feel free to convert them to PDF and commence the work on these files, as you require.

For those who actively deal with digital paperwork every day, do check if you and your team need to require a Pro account. A subscription will remove the usage limitation imposed on free users, allows for faster uploading - for those that need to examine large documents, and also grants access to the exclusive, offline desktop app. As a GDPR and ISO/IEC 27001 certified platform, our files are safe for our handling.

Hung Nguyen
Hung Nguyen
Senior Growth Marketing Manager