Preview Create New Document from PDF Highlights

Discussion in 'Mac Apps and Mac App Store' started by rocksplode, Sep 14, 2010.

  1. macrumors newbie

    Sep 14, 2010

    I'm a medical student and as such I have to read a lot of PDFs in Preview. I usually read the text and highlight as I go to mark the important stuff. I was wondering if there's a way to create a new document composed of only the stuff I highlighted. That way I would have a great study guide and I wouldn't have to re-type all the content. So to summarize:

    Copy highlighted sections ONLY and paste selections into a new document

  2. macrumors 68030


    Feb 20, 2004
    EDIT (Update): You know what? This (free and apparently awesome) program actually seems to do exactly what you want via its Export-function. That should be a much better solution for you.

    There's an "Extract PDF annotations" action available for OS X in the Automator application. It doesn't seem to be able to extract highlighted text though, just actual annotations. Now - what you could do to get this to work is, each time you highlight something, add a note to it and paste the highlighted text into that note.

    It might not be too cumbersome if you use keyboard shortcuts:

    * Select the part that you want to highlight
    * Press ⌘-C (copy)
    * Press ^⌘-H (highlight)​
    * Press ^⌘-N (enter note-creation mode) and click next to the highlighted portion
    * Press ⌘-V (paste)​
    * Press ^⌘-N (to exit out of the note-creation mode)

    This may seem overly complicated and it sure isn't exactly Mac-like, but you'll get pretty quick at this after a bit of practice. :p

    Attached Files:

  3. macrumors newbie

    Oct 26, 2013
    There is a really simple yet robust tool for extracting highlights and notes from your pdf-files available at: . Not only it supports various advanced features like selective extraction or predictive extraction, but it also allows you to save extracted highlights into TXT or DOC files. All desktop browsers and operating systems are supported. We are in cloud, so no installation is needed. And yes, it is for free. Try it out.
  4. macrumors 68020


    Nov 2, 2010
    Los Angeles but missing San Diego </3
    I tried to use this with one of my pdf files for Anthropology and it didn't work. None of my highlighted notes went into the program and the whole document was blank. Am I doing something wrong?
  5. macrumors regular

    Jun 6, 2011
    If you're looking to extract highlights & notes from your PDF, is your best bet. In fact, it has great AppleScript support too, so you could automate the extraction of annotations from all your PDFs in a folder, copy it automatically into one Word document or Evernote note.

    I wrote an app PDFoo, which not only extracts annotations (highlights & notes) from a PDF but also appends a URL to each annotation such that clicking on the URL opens up the PDF back to where the annotation appears in the PDF. It helps a lot with looking up context. I save these extracted annotations together with accompanying PDFoo URLs in Evernote.
  6. macrumors newbie

    Oct 26, 2013

    Could you please send me your PDF file so I can have a look ? We are constantly improving the extraction engine and since my last post we've added lot's of features like:

    Exporting to Evernote
    Export to Email
    Premium accounts with extra features

    We can be reached via email: or via our official facebook page:

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